Mark Hughes makes his 26th new signing for a 25 man squad.

by Kieran Davies

So we’ve finally arrived at Sky Sports News’ holy grail……….transfer deadline day. Whether your team are expecting to push for the title or aiming to hit that 40 point marker to ensure Premier League football, transfer deadline day will propel you through a rollercoaster of emotions. Not many clubs even in today’s game are in a position to refuse all offers on their star players. I’m sure as we speak David Moyes is cutting the phonelines to Marouane Fellaini’s house isolating him from the outside world for a few days and Brendan Rodgers is phoning around local slaughterhouses enquiring about Stewart Downing’s value to them. Whether you’re hoping a player slides through that closing transfer window a la Indiana Jones to join your club or you’re frantically wondering what can be done to close this window sooner so you hold on to your prize possessions, the transfer window is the marmite of the football world………you either love it or your hate it.

As to why it runs so far into the new season just acting as a shop window for players who didn’t manage to manufacture moves for themselves in the summer, is just one of football’s mysteries.  You have to feel for the smaller teams who plan for the new season, see players start the campaign in fine form, only for the more affluent clubs to snap them up.  Whilst the transfer fees involved may act as an immediate windfall for fans of the club concerned, you have to look at the bigger picture. Club finances may not allow all if any of that money to be made available for transfers or even if that is not an issue so close to the end of the transfer window, you will be expected to pay ‘Liverpool prices’. ‘Liverpool prices’ is similar to a foreign shop owner raising all his prices on seeing the lilywhite tourists with suitcases in hand heading straight towards his outlet. It’s where you prey on their lack of knowledge of the currency and their complete ineptness to rationale value for money in this foreign land. As to why clubs do this or more importantly as to why Liverpool allow this to happen, may be things for Kenny Dalglish and Damien Comolli to mull over with a cup of tea as they watch The Jeremy Kyle show this season. One thing is for sure if this country is get out of the grip of the current economic crisis, surely a special mention of thanks has to go to Liverpool for single handedly ploughing so much money into the economy with their purchase of average English footballers.

So who this season will win ‘The Dick Turpin Award’ for holding some poor desperate football club to ransom? There are already a lot of potential transfers which have dragged on longer than an Eastenders script plot. In some cases players at the thick of these transfer sagas have almost been frozen out by their current clubs for fear of injury and devaluation. This makes for a bitter situation if the suggested moves don’t transpire. Who wants to pay money to watch a player line up for your team who has no desire to be there. Football contracts seem to be the flimsiest piece of paperwork in the world of business. Imagine you go to work tomorrow and tell your employer you’re not happy there you think you’re better than current job/employer and want to move to a bigger company. The reply would resemble the lines of Father Jack for the entire first season of Father Ted but the bottom line would be you’re contractually obliged to fulfil your job description for the agreed financial remuneration until either party severs this contract satisfactorily to both parties. Or to translate this into wording your average footballer understands……you no play, we no pay!

Alex Ferguson summed it up for me with a piece of wisdom in between rants about referees when he said “The most important person at any football club is the manager. I am the most important man at Manchester United. It has to be that way.” Yet so many clubs would gladly replace a manager instead of a player. Then you have the alleged scenario at Chelsea where the lunatics have taken over the asylum and senior players have instigated the demise of more than one manager with the owner. Let’s be honest Abramovic’s face on giving Di Matteo his full time contract as manager must have been like seeing a man forced to sign over his life savings under duress. I can just picture the scene where Roberto is about to put pen to paper and Abramovic stalls him to triple check that Pepe Guardiola hadn’t rang. In a perfect world the balance would be restored to the world of football where footballers realise they work for the football club and not vice versa but this is as likely to happen as Andy Carroll becoming a cult hero at Liverpool.

The other question thrown up at the moment is, do QPR know you can only register 25 players for a season and not 125? The amount of players they are signing it will take until next season until Hughes knows what his best side is. If he is there anywhere near that long. The outlay being made by Fernandez will no doubt demand immediate results and not 5-0 drubbings at home. Today must be a personal low point for Villa fans. Fulham accept an offer for Dempsey but the player told them he would prefer to wait for Liverpool to sort a Wonga loan out by the end of the day to buy him from them instead. Cutting. Not all doom and gloom for Villa fans as they’ve signed a Chesterfield striker, he may do okay in Championship next season. The hive of activity this season at the closing of the window is the most we have seen for some years with nearly every club being involved in last minute transfer dealings.  There will be many twists and turns in the remainder of today with no doubt sightings of Lionel Messi outside Loftus Road and the elusive game of ‘Where’s Berba?’ will drag on until the midnight hours. Love it or hate it today is a day of frantic activity which by 1am tomorrow will leave you thinking, did that really happen?