Wenger’s flawed transfer policy has long sailed past parody yet the Prof continues to eschew experience and proven quality and instead targets players of tomorrow. The situation has escalated to such farce that even rival supporters have become exasperated with his principled stance, a set of beliefs that are now reeking of stubbornness.
Once again the wizened Frenchman has declined the opportunity to strengthen key areas and has opted to purchase yet another young player of potential, this time teenage midfielder Thomas Eisfeld from Borussia Dortmund.
You honestly get the feeling that the only way Christopher Samba will ever secure a move down south (to offer just one example of many players who would immediately improve the side) would be if he puts on a schoolboy cap and makes the occasional howler.
18-year old Ryo Miyaichi has been farmed out to Bolton until the end of the season to gain some top flight nous.
McLeish warned it would be a quiet day around Villa Park and he was true to his word with not one single deal taking place. Pity the poor reporter standing freezing outside the ground all day knowing early doors it would all be for nothing.
Last January wild rumours began circulating that Ronaldinho and Kaka could be heading to the glamour of Ewood Park. Twelve months on and all the talk centred on whether Rovers could lure Bradley Orr from QPR. And indeed they could.
Though not a particularly exciting recruitment Orr will at least provide some experience in an area where Kean has been forced to rely on callow promise so far.
Marcus Olsson also joined on a free transfer from Swedish side Halmstads BK, joining his twin brother Martin.
Throughout the day four clubs were interested in taking Keith Andrews on a free. In the event it was West Brom who swooped meaning the talentless bruiser bafflingly remains in the top flight.
The Trotters looked to bolster their defensive options that’s been significantly weakened by Cahill’s exit by drafting in Rhys Williams from Middlebrough. Boro gaffer Tony Mowbray however employed the wily tactic of pretending to be ignorant to any interest until the clock ticked 11.01pm.
Owen Coyle was also frustrated in a doomed £7M bid for Crystal Palace’s young flyer Wilfrid Zaha which – for a neutral – is a great shame as it would be fascinating to see how the exhilarating prospect fared against the best defences around.
Thankfully for the struggling outfit they were successful in bringing in Arsenal kid Ryo Miyaichi who joins on loan until the end of season. The Cutter knew about this deal a few days ago but forgot to publish it #greatjournalism
If there was going to be one big-money headline grabber in this window it was expected to be the £20M-plus arrival of Brazilian playmaker Willian from Shakhtar Donesk. The player was keen on the move and his club had previously conceded they were willing to compromise on his £29M release clause. The problem that seems to have postponed this switch until the summer is that Willian’s wife is due to give birth any day now in Sao Paulo and even in this age negotiating such a huge deal is difficult across continents.
Even so rumours popped up intermittently throughout the day and unless Chelsea are eventually gazumped the exciting talent appears to be theirs. Just not yet.
All this slightly over-shadowed the securing of Kevin de Bruyne for just under seven million. The Belgian winger has been loaned back to Genk for the remainder of the campaign.
Andre Vilas-Boas is also looking to the future with the signing of Nottingham Forest’s 18-year old striker Patrick Bamford. There is an argument that January – for the big clubs at least – should be all about bringing in the stars of tomorrow and allowing them a chance to acclimatise with a full pre-season to follow. To that end – and especially considering Chelsea are a club in transition at present – this window has been a successful one for Villas-Boas and his steady evolution.
Philipp Prosenik, 18, has joined AC Milan after failing to make an impact in the capital.
Steven Pienaar returns to Goodison on loan but unfortunately the club failed to capture 20-year old Greek defender Kostas Manolas for £500,000 from Athens due to a breakdown over personal terms.
But the big story for a club entrenched in financial doom and gloom was the acquisition of Rangers hit-man Nikica Jelavic for £5.5m. The Croatian has been a long-time target for Moyes (he lost out to the Gers when the player moved from Rapid Vienna in 2010) but the completion of the deal still came as something of a surprise. Without wishing to deride the Toffees it was the equivalent of the family down the road with a clapped out banger on the drive coming home with a swanky speedboat.
Where did money come from? The Bilyaletdinov money yes but…..could there be a takeover in the pipeline to prompt such an uncharacteristic outlay?
We didn’t have long to wait for an answer as Louis Saha was sold to Spurs. Is Moyes allergic to possessing more than one top-class striker?
Even so yesterday represents an unusually busy and productive window for the blues. Ruining football since 2012.
For some time now it has been apparent that Martin Jol has wanted to freshen up his attacking options so perhaps it was not the biggest surprise to see Bobby Zamora head a couple of miles up the Thames to Loftus Road in a deal believed to top £4m. This alone is good business for Fulham for a player past thirty who has evidently lost his love for the club.
Jol is also believed to have favoured a swap deal to shift Zamora’s partner-in-crime Andy Johnson up to Wigan and bring in the highly-rated Rodallega. Alas this deal fell through and Johnson may now find himself pining on the bench reminiscing on recent days when his psychic understanding with Bobby Z lit up Craven Cottage.
Fulham moved quickly to bring in striker Pavel Pogrebnyak as Zamora’s replacement and the Russian has an impressive pedigree at the highest level. There is however concerns over a persistent knee problem though it is hoped that is now consigned to the past. There was also a stalled attempt to recruit Lucas Barrios from Borussia Dortmund, a deal that may be resurrected in the summer.
18-year old winger Ryan Williams arrives from Portsmouth as Jol continues his laudable strategy to bring the average age down on an established – and arguably slightly stale – squad of players.
The deadline day was a huge let-down after this week’s fantastical claims concerning a straight swap deal between Carroll and Tevez. In the event Dalglish simply travelled to Molineux with all his attention on gaining a crucial three points with the recruitment of a young back-up keeper his only piece of business. Wrexham novice Danny Ward follows the same path Mike Hooper once trod in joining Anfield with a clean pair of gloves while young Danish stopped Martin Hansen was allowed to return back to Scandinavia.
While those in the know were aware that nothing was occurring us fans got ourselves into quite a state with a persistent Jermain Defoe whisper. Rather gloriously someone swore blind that they witnessed the diminutive poacher tucking into curry and chips a couple of miles from Anfield and if we’d known that Defoe would be omitted from even the bench for last night’s fixture to Wigan Twitter would have internally combusted. Merely putting two and two together it is feasible that the story had legs (probably longer than the players own) and perhaps personal terms were not reached?
There were fireworks over Chinatown, high-fives on the streets of Didsbury, a special showing of My Left Foot at the Printworks, while in Fallowfield students lit up enormous doobies. Wayne Bridge had finally been off-loaded, with Sunderland the unfortunate recipients of the extremely limited waste of a football boot. Sure it is only a loan but for the next few months City’s squad actually lookers stronger for his absence.
Elsewhere City were blindsided by United who swooped in one of their promising youngsters. Swiss teen defender Veseli immediately celebrated by taking to Twitter and posting digs at his former club and praising the red half of Manchester as if brainwashed by a cult. Which is only one letter out from the truth.
Most of the media’s attention was naturally on the possible exit of Tevez and with the Italian finestrino closing earlier than in England a deal was hoped to be sorted by mid-afternoon our time. It wasn’t as City refused to budge on their £25m valuation and now we all face another tiresome few rounds of headlines concerning the sulking Argie’s attempts to retrieve the lost wages he isn’t entitled to.
Chilean midfielder David Pizarro was the only arrival, joining on an initial loan deal with the option of a £2.5m switch in the summer. The 32-year old Roma man will bring some experience and depth to the centre and has worked with Mancini before at Inter.
From the moment Sneijder sulkily resumed with his Inter career the experts and laymen alike have been speculating over who Ferguson would bring in mid-season to improve a midfield in seemingly dire need of graft and craft. An injury to the vastly over-rated Cleverley compounded their necessity, or at least it did in everyone’s eyes but the Dark Lord himself. With typical obstinate contrariness Ferguson not only let the January window close without bringing anyone in, he also released the youngster tipped to become the future magician of Old Trafford.
There were extenuating circumstances of course; Morrison was playing hard-ball over a contract and trying to secure cheques his feet had not even begun to cash. Furthermore there was Morrison’s unsavoury off the field reputation to consider.
The £1m fee may in hindsight eventually be considered a steal by Hammers fans but the headaches he’ll undoubtedly give Allardyce will ensure at least Big Sam will never view it as such no matter what the player ultimately blossoms into.
The only other piece of business was a surprising smash and grab on their city rivals for rookie Frederic Veseli. The Swiss centre-back was ninth choice at City and will presumably slot into that lowly role down the road too.
At least one new addition was anticipated to reignite a squad that has put themselves within reach of a fantastic season. Perhaps the out-of-favour Elia from Juventus or Zaha from Palace? Someone who could provide some fresh impetus and intent to Alan Pardew’s side who, despite their impressive start, are now beginning to look a little frazzled on occasion.
Surprisingly however Pardew spent the day fighting off Wigan for the services of an unproven centre-back from Watford. Even now it is not known for sure if the Mariappa bid was completed in time though it looks unlikely.
In the outgoing column four clubs were scrambling for the loan securement of promising James Tavernier with Brighton going close but MK Dons eventually winning out.
Paul Lambert warned the good folk of Norfolk to expect a quiet end to the month and that was indeed the case with the only addition in the shape of England Under-21 defender Ryan Bennett signing from Peterborough before immediately being loaned back until May. For the Canaries most of the day was spent worrying that Rangers may swoop for cult idol Grant Holt as a replacement for the Everton-bound Jelavic. The rumour steadily gathered pace and virtual fingernails were chewed on Twitter but ultimately it came to nothing.
Hughes also wasted no time in adding some top class steel to the heart of the Hoops
With cash burning a hole in the owner’s pocket and a new man at the helm in Mark Hughes Loftus Road was always going to be thriving with activity. And so it proved with Bobby Zamora and Djibril Cisse being drafted in to form a new front-line for a team struggling to convert the few chances they create. Most of the goalscoring onus will fall upon the ex-Liverpool striker Cisse who arrives from Lazio whilst Zamora will be hoping to recreate the chemistry he previously enjoyed with Johnson at Fulham. Making way on the forwards rota is Tommy Smith who has been loaned to a former club Watford.
Hughes also wasted no time in adding some top class steel to the heart of the Hoops, signing Samba Diakite from Nancy.
Overall it was a productive and shrewd day of business for Rangers who can now prepare for the relegation battle ahead with renewed optimism.
The Potters are notorious for having quiet mid-season transfer windows and this proved to be no exception with only three outgoing personnel to justify the hours spent sprawled in front of SSN by their fans. Winger Ben Marshall went to Leicester for £1M while defenders Danny Higginbotham and Scott Wootton both moved temporarily to Nottingham Forest. The former is a surprise sacrifice by Pulis even if he has recently struggled with injury.
To the amusement of Liverpool supporters and the eternal gratitude of Man City fans the two new arrivals at the Stadium of Light came in the form of Greek centre-back Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Wayne ‘Mr Frankie from The Saturdays’ Bridge, both on loan.
The expected £1m move for Bolton’s battering ram Kevin Davies failed to materialise though not for the want of trying and it was with some genuine relief from Mackems that Martin O’Neill didn’t look to his trusted carthorse Heskey to add some brute force to a rejuvenated striking roster.
There was only one bit of business for the Swans and it’s a player who perfectly fits Brendon Rodgers’ mandate for creating an attractive free-spirited football side capable of challenging at the highest level. Curtis Obeng, a young right-back from Wrexham, is pacy, adventurous and comfortable on the ball and will, in time, provide decent competition to the criminally under-rated Angel Rangel down the Jacks’ right flank.
Even an ongoing court case and a crucial home game to Wigan wasn’t enough to detract ‘Arry from his favourite day of the year. You can easily imagine him having an extra spring in his step as he walks Rosie along Sandbanks beach at dawn, his mobile already heated from over-use.
His primary aims were to shift some deadwood from the back and re-model his front-line and to this end he did so in his usual swift, no-nonsense wheeler-dealy manner.
An ‘ermormous proposal’ for Marseiles Luic Remy (believed to be in the region of £18m) was rebuffed so Redknapp smoothly readjusted his sights on his secondary target, Louis Saha from Everton. With a one-in-three strike rate for the blues Saha has a decent pedigree though his arrival has been met with muted ambivalence from most Spurs’ fans.
The Frenchman’s place on the bench has been vacated by home-bound Roman Pavlyuchenko who ‘Arry just never fancied while Steven Pienaar has also returned to familiar surroundings.
Corluka joined Bayer Leverkusen until the end of this campaign with his days at the Lane looking numbered and Bassong was farmed out to Wolves.
Other out-going loans include youngsters Adam Smith to Leeds and the stalled promise of John Bostock who joins Sheffield Wednesday.
So only one new arrival – and that a contentious one among supporters. But let’s not forget a rumoured attempt to sign Adebayor on a permanent deal.
It is assumed that Harry had fun with all the activity and who can blame him; next summer his deals may involve ounces of snuff and phone cards.
Far more intriguing however was the possible swap deal being put in place with Fulham for Andy Johnson.
Roy Hodgson released full-backs Gonzalo Jara Reyes and Joe Mattock on loan to Brighton then set about adding some steel to the spine of his team. Liam Ridgewell arrived from neighbours Brum while Keith Andrews was attained on a free from Blackburn.
Most of the talk surrounding the Hawthorns throughout the day was whether they could retain their talismanic Odemwingie. Doing so represents a good close to proceedings for the Baggies.
Roberto Martinez wrapped up the signing of Birmingham City’s Chile international winger Jean Beausejour though the deal was all-but done before the day began.
He then concentrated his attentions on Watford centre-back Adrian Mariappa who I must confess I’d never previously heard of. Things turned a little strange when it transpired that Wigan were in direct competition with Newcastle for Mariappa’s signature and – at the time of going to print – it seems the north-east has won out.
Far more intriguing however was the possible swap deal being put in place with Fulham for Andy Johnson. The in-demand Hugo Rodallega – who was supposedly interesting Spurs at the day’s dawn – was the burly pawn to lure Johnson north but alas the bald hit-man swiftly turned the offer down.
In a disappointing window for the Latics they also missed out on Bristol City’s Nicky Maynard who opted instead for West Ham. This might prove to be a shrewd decision by the player come May as both clubs swap divisions.
Nottingham Forest have signed Wolves midfielder Adlene Guedioura on loan until the end of the season while defender Matt Doherty is another departing loanee as he moves north of the border to Hibs. For most of the day it appeared as if there would only be more free car park spaces at the training ground with Andy Keogh being sold to Millwall but late on Sebastien Bassong joined on loan from Spurs. Bassong is a fine addition (and potentially could strike up a decent partnership with a revitalised Roger Johnson) but once again Mick McCarthy gives the transfer window the slightest of taps.
(See our other feature below)