Q from Boris
One of the biggest stories on most soccer sites over the summer has been the discussion of interest shown in Luka Modric. It has been reported that Chelsea have had a couple of bids rejected and it led to the player stating he would like to leave the club to one that is more ambitious.
The Spurs are refusing to let him go because they claim they are an ambitious club but to me this sounds a bit hypocritical as they cannot possibly compete against the top clubs if they continue to have a conservative wage structure.
Do you feel that if the team (Spurs) is to compete at the highest level, not only that they need to offer a more competitive wage to Modric but they also need to change their wage structure so they can attract better players?
Also, how would you rate Modric as a player? Do you think he belongs to the top?
Clearly, the best clubs are in awe of his talent, but I truly believe that the only reason he may not be considered among the elite just yet is due to the fact that he has never had the luxury of playing with superstar players like a Messi or Ronaldo.
While I do not wish him to leave the Spurs, I think the only way he can progress to the highest echelon would be by joining that is loaded with superstars such as him that can take the game the next level themselves or at least the ones than score more than 4 goals a season.
Spurs have been caught in a dilemma. They made the Champions League last season and did very well. But as you point out they are not one of the highest paying teams.
The most recent figures I saw had them well behind not only United, City and Chelsea but also Arsenal and Liverpool.
They will not have Champions League revenue for this season so that is not a viable source to fund higher wage levels.
The capacity of White Hart Lane of around 40,000 also places Spurs significantly behind Arsenal and United in terms of match-day revenues
In order to level the playing field they need a bigger stadium. That is going to cost a lot of money and it has to happen at some stage. Whether it is a redeveloped White Hart Lane (a problem) or a new stadium either way it is going to be an extremely expensive proposition.
It is easy to suggest changing the wage structure (really it is not about changing but increasing) but it has to be paid for. Paying more just takes away from the present Spurs priority of expanding their revenue base.
It is easy to point to Champions League and suggest that if Spurs attracted better players then Champions League revenue would fund it but a Business Model that speculates on continued Champions League participation is a Business Model already tried by Leeds United.
Modric is a very good player but there are a lot of very good players in Europe. The attraction that he holds for Chelsea is that after playing well in England for a few years he is a known quantity and Chelsea must see a role that he can fill.
There are a lot of players who would see their game rise to another level if they played with Messi or Ronaldo each week so I don’t think that is a peculiarity to Modric.
Q from Richard N
Why is it so hard for players to hit an 8 yard wide goal from 20 yards away (or less)?
After watching the WWC games, and in particular the final, it seems to me that there is a trend in soccer games for players to miss the goal a lot, sometimes by as much as 5 yards! I see this in tournaments and certain leagues (like MLS) especially.
I am curious if anyone keeps statistics on such things as: (1) shots taken, (2) % shots on goal, (3) % shots resulting in goals. A view of a league from year to year, or a few teams from year to year, or even what specific tournaments look like should be quite revealing.
To answer your last question first – yes these statistics are kept although I can’t point you a specific website.
However, I can guarantee that the spread of statistics throughout leagues would be significant.
No surprise the better the league the better conversion rate. Simply put the better the league the fewer the chances and the greater the premium on hitting the target.
Why is so hard for players to hit the target from 20 yards?
The first thing I would suggest is to try it with a dead ball and no wall – just the keeper to beat. Then add a couple of players closing you down – a common practice drill – and suddenly any flaws in technique begin to show up.
Finally add the ball coming at different angles, at different heights and to either foot. It is not simple.
I also think that you need to consider the difference in the ball from 40 or 50 years ago to today.
Back in the days when the ball was laced up, and picked up moisture you had to put your foot through it in order to get any power and or height.
As the ball has become more technically advanced with different materials being used you no longer need to put your foot through it to get pace, power and swerve.
The emphasis is on hitting the ball cleanly with good technique.
Any error and the ball will not compensate.
It is very like golf balls. If you hit the ball with good technique it will travel further. With poor technique it will still travel further…..but it will take you deeper into trouble.
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