Louis Saha is a Premier League icon, making 289 appearances while playing for Newcastle, Fulham, Manchester United, Everton, Spurs, and even Sunderland. The French striker is retired now, but The Games Cabin caught up with the man himself to get his thoughts on his FIFA ratings, playing against teammates, and transfer deadline day.
We have a list of your recorded FIFA ratings over the years. Are they a fair reflection for how you were playing at the time?
Ratings: FIFA 08 (82), FIFA 09 (80), FIFA 10 (80), FIFA 11 (80), FIFA 12 (79), FIFA 13 (76)
I don’t know how they do the ratings but I believe mine are alright. I don’t believe I should have been higher because I wasn’t performing as well as I should have. When I was playing, I was never looking at those stats. It was more about the goals for me.
Which of your teammates at Manchester United used to be the best at FIFA?
At the time I’d say that I was one of the best ones and maybe Patrice Evra. Wayne Rooney used to play and I remember him throwing a lot of controllers in frustration but he wasn’t necessarily the best.
Christian Eriksen suffered a suspected ankle-injury in Manchester United’s 3-1 victory over Reading on Saturday. If it’s a serious injury, then do you believe Manchester United need to go into the transfer market on Deadline Day? How much of a miss will Eriksen be for United and could a serious injury heavily impact Manchester United’s cup and title ambitions for the rest of the season?
Eriksen is a really important player for Manchester United and the club has found the right balance in the midfield with him and Casemiro. They’re both playing really well. If Casemiro isn’t playing then Eriksen struggles, so I think there’s a nice balance. It would be difficult news if we hear that his injury is a serious one. I really hope it isn’t, but whether it is or isn’t, there’s nothing at the moment about this team that makes me panic.
They have players on the bench who’re capable of coming into the side and doing well, such as Fred. The quality of Eriksen will be missed but it will be compensated for. That’s the aim of the team, so there’s no panic button that needs to be pressed. Erik ten Hag will trust the players he’s got and going urgently into the transfer market is not a good thing, unless it’s a player that provides a lot of ammunition for the team.
Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans is being tipped as a potential replacement for the injured Christian Eriksen. He could be available for a reasonable fee considering his contract expires in the summer. Do you believe he’d be a good signing for your former club in the January window?
No doubt he’s a great player for Leicester City and he could be a great player for Manchester United but it’s not an option that greatly excites me. I’ve heard his name mentioned quite a lot over the past two years.
I’m not quite sure what role he would have as I don’t believe he would be capable of providing the same level of recoveries as Casemiro achieves or the same number of assists that Christain Eriksen gets. He’s a great player but would he be a decisive addition? I’m not sure. Manchester United shouldn’t panic as it’s not the way they need to act.
Sky Sports Germany claimed last week that Liverpool are the favourites for Borussia Dortmund and England midfielder Jude Bellingham. Where do you honestly believe is the best destination for Jude, considering the possibility that Liverpool may not qualify for the Champions League next season?
For a player that’s very young, he has the luxury of having interest from many, many big clubs. His heart should always go for the team he really loves, where he believes he can achieve a lot of things and where he believes he could improve. That’s up to him.
As a fan of Manchester United, I would obviously say that Manchester United is the ideal destination for Jude. A lot of the time, player’s don’t necessarily go to the clubs they love and respect the most. A lot of it is to do with the salary and what their agents are thinking, so a lot of it will depend on that.
The kid is so talented and he deserves to make his own choice. This season, Manchester United are so exciting and for a player like Jude, who’s got intelligence, great energy, composure and all the skills you need, then he can go anywhere he wants.”
Harry Maguire was linked with a loan move away from the club in the January transfer window. West Ham were said to be interested in the Manchester United captain. Do you believe Maguire should have looked for a move? And regardless of whether you believe he should have left in January or not, do you think he should still be the club’s captain?
It’s a difficult one, especially after he had a good World Cup. It’s right that he’s not in the starting line-up because Raphaël Varane and Lisandro Martínez have shown a good understanding with one another. You have to expect this competition at big clubs and Harry just needs to be patient.
A loan move may have been a good option for him to show that he’s worth another try because he’s still a key player and he’s Manchester United’s captain. Even if Erik ten Hag isn’t playing him often, I expect that Ten Hag still respects the player and wants to see him improve. It’s still possible for him to contribute.
Alejandro Garnacho, Manchester United’s breakout star this season, has a contract with the club that expires in 18 months. United are reportedly taking a risk in negotiations by offering Garnacho £20,000-a-week, but the player’s representatives believe that offer isn’t a fair reflection on his current status in United’s first-team. Do you agree with that? Do you think United are taking an unnecessary risk considering that Garnacho is reportedly of interest to Real Madrid and Juventus?
Agents put a lot of pressure on players by moving too quickly. Garnacho is getting shown respect by the club as they’re trying to get him to sign a new contract. He’s a magnificent prospect, and obviously from an agent’s perspective, it’s their intention to get the best contract for their client, but you’re also putting a lot of pressure on the player and I don’t believe that’s right.
Garnacho is a great player and has had some very bright moments, but he doesn’t start consistently for the club. I’m baffled by the attitude of agents that try to take control of how a club is run and use their client as leverage to get what they want. The player is young and in a few years time, he can get the contract he deserves when he’s starting on a more consistent basis.
Hugo Lloris’ performances have come under scrutiny in recent weeks after making his fourth error leading to a goal this season against Arsenal. Do you believe his time at Tottenham is coming to an end and do you believe the club needs to invest in a new goalkeeper?
Hugo isn’t 25, so of course his time at Tottenham will come to an end. It’s always hard for a goalkeeper because they get punished straight away and Hugo’s made some high profile mistakes. However, Hugo’s proved by being at Tottenham for such a long time that he is capable of bouncing back and providing great performances again.
Finding a new goalkeeper is the case for every club, because you always need to think of bringing in players who can challenge your key players, regardless of whether they’re captain or not.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the board are looking for an alternative but there’s not many out there of Hugo’s quality. I read that Jordan Pickford is a potential target and that would make sense, but it depends on how quickly the club is prepared to put Hugo on the bench because he’s the captain of the club. It’s a difficult one.
According to The Athletic, Spurs had a £12 million bid rejected for Leandro Trossard before he joined Arsenal for £27 million. Do you believe Tottenham will rue missing out on the former Brighton man?
Yes I do believe they’ll regret not signing him. There are things we don’t understand behind why a transfer has or hasn’t happened, but Trossard is a great player who would have really helped Tottenham in so many ways.
Sunderland’s Amad Diallo, who’s on loan from Manchester United, has been in exhilarating form for the Black Cats recently and scored in his club’s derby victory against Middlesbrough in their last Championship outing. From what he’s shown at Sunderland this season, do you believe he has a future at Manchester United and if you believe so, do you think he will be involved in their squad next season?
For him, I hope so. He’s got a better chance of improving and developing at Manchester United now than he would have before. The development of Rashford can reassure young players out on loan that the dynamic of the club is different under Erik ten Hag.
The attacking players now play a style of football that suits them because previously under other coaches, the style was a bit too defensive-minded. The form Diallo has been in can allow him to come back to Manchester United with a goal to succeed like Alejandro Garnacho has. If Garnacho can do it, then why can’t Diallo?