Steven S looks back on seven days of odd signings, tragedy and farce.
Tranquillity and peace returned to the shores of the Premier League this weekend as the bane of every manager’s life finally closed down, allowing clubs, fans and pundits to breathe a sigh of relief. Sky tried their best to sex up the final day, with Jim White even going as far as insulting Zamora as he arrived at QPR but the inescapable fact is that very little money exchanged hands, in comparison to previous windows. When Xavi and co are not in every other column claiming a players DNA, then you know there has to be some problems.
A combination of the current financial climate and the pending UEFA financial fair play rules kept the wallets in the pockets of board members across not only the UK but Europe, leaving the little magician Kia Joorabchian more than a tad bewildered. QPR were the busiest team pulling in an additional five players to add to the earlier loan signing of Macheda from United. Djibril Cisse and Bobby Zamora were the big boys of Tuesday heading to the West London club for a total of £10.5 million, Djibril taking only 11 minutes to open his account in his first game that night. The defensive signings will no doubt be put through their paces in the coming weeks attempting to seal up a defence that helped drop a two goal lead and just as many points.
Chelsea briefly welcomed winger Kevin de Bruyne before allowing him back to Genk for the remainer of the season, the deal confirmed at £6.7 million. The Blues struggled away to a Swansea side looking for their second major scalp of the season after outplaying Arsenal a few weeks back and fortunately were gifted a last minute deflected own goal. Malouda was the focus for a lot of the Chelsea fan’s ire and De Bruyne is most likely to be his replacement once he departs in the summer. The Frenchman had a couple of very hot seasons under Ancelotti but has faded back to the inconsistent frustrating player he was before and the wide areas are positions that Chelsea really need to expand their increasingly compact game.
Any modicum of intelligence Samba may possess seems to have deserted him with the current standoff.
A talented 19 year old dynamo from Dortmund signed on the dotted line for the Gunners, as fans everywhere rushed to read about the news on one of the hottest talents in Europe. For the u-19 teams that is. Thomas Eisfeld joins the crèche at the Emirates citing Rosicky as a childhood hero back in Germany, bringing the nauseous sweats back to the Arsenal medical team. Neighbours Tottenham bizarrely signed 33 year old Louis Saha on an 18 month deal allowing the forlorn Cameron Diaz to head back home into the loving arms of Lokomotiv Moscow for only £3 million. Saha is a signing that left everyone scratching their heads, given his age, recent scoring record (1 in 18) and of course the injury record that has blighted his career and dulled his talent. We’re all sure he’s a ‘triffic lad with a great attitude but with Defoe having an eye on the Euro’s, Ade as the main man and an inability to play in a front three, it is a strange one for sure. Could he be the first signing to prevent a team from winning the Premiership?
Perhaps even more bizarrely Ryan Nelsen also joined up with the Spurs squad, a player that HR has had his eyes on for some time apparently. Nelsen’s ex team mate Samba continues to sit it out on the sidelines, after being told he is going nowhere meaning his absence will continue to be noticeable as Blackburn stay rooted three points off the bottom. Any modicum of intelligence Samba may possess seems to have deserted him with the current standoff; all he has to do is take a look at the Tevez situation for an insight as to where it all may end for him.
All eyes were on ‘Arry during the week as his tax case rumbled on, especially those of detective David Manley who was accused of ‘trying to cause a problem’ for our national treasure. It’s all looking a bit twitchy under the Her Royal Majesties spotlight. Pleading complete ignorance to events seems to be his line of defence – ‘deny all accountability’ he was apparently told by his solicitor. Completely forgetting that it was his accountant that brought him there in the first place.
Surely AVB must regret his comments that they will ‘defend Terry no matter what the outcome’ as one by one people start to drift away…
For the second time in his career The Big Man John Terry was stripped of his captaincy by an FA scrambling around to save face and protect their image. Any hope the English fans had of the team performing well during the tournament are fast disappearing by the day as the ever sensitive and popular Terry continues to develop the Sidam Touch. Impressive stuff. The Ferdinand family reunion continues this weekend as United travel dahn sahf to take on a wobbly Chelsea at the Bridge. It’s hard to see a standoff by the Manchester team forcing the FA to call off the handshakes and it would be hilarious to see JT snubbed yet again on camera and so soon after this news. Surely AVB must regret his comments that they will ‘defend Terry no matter what the outcome’ as one by one people start to drift away…
Suarez returns on the weekend after 8 games which will of course be a massive boost for the Reds as Tottenham head into town on Monday night, with the home side no doubt ready to burst out of the blocks. Liverpool are a strange animal this season, no doubt an improvement on last season’s calamity and playing some very good football yet the lack of goals has hurt their season. Much like Chelsea and Arsenal, they have only been kept in contention for fourth due to the lack of consistency shown by the teams around them, dropping some silly points at home to teams they would expect to beat. I think fourth place will be beyond them come May but they will remain a serious threat to win both cups this season.
Away from the Premiership the atrocious events in Port Said more than deserve a footnote this week, given the tragic loss of so many lives. Security guard incompetence was apparently the main cause as Al-Masry fans stormed the pitch to head toward Cairo’s Al-Ahly section with the exits closed, causing multiple deaths in the crush. Whilst it happened on a football pitch you would be hard pressed to pin the blame on a wider hooligan issue within their football system. Obviously the vast change to their political landscape over the past year has left tensions simmering across the region and it is events like this that make you realise no matter how distant or incompetent our politicians may appear, we live in a very privileged part of the world.