Friday, February 1, 2013

Transfer Window Heroes and Goats

Transfer windows typically slam shut; that's the cliche anyway. I've never heard a breathless Sky Sports anchor announce that a window has been gently and quietly closed or that, at the appointed hour, the transfer window has been carefully shuttered and the football world is off to bed after a warm glass of milk. Doesn't quite build the drama, does it? Fans of every club imagine that, right up until the final second of the final minute of the window, their manager and owner are wildly fielding phone calls and tending to faxes and firing emails out across the globe to get that one special piece of the puzzle that is going to take the club to unimagined heights by May. It's the floor of the New York Stock Exchange until the window slams shut and all deals have to be plated and presented for judgement.

Well, this year the window slid smoothly and soundlessly in its sill and is now latched. Good night.

You old charmer, you!
Other than Golden Balls moving to yet another of the World's Great Cities and immediately charming the culottes off of the French media by announcing his entire salary would be going to a children's charity, there weren't too many blockbuster deals to speak of. There were, however, Heroes and Goats:


Liverpool - The big question with Liverpool was where, other than Luis Suarez, the goals were going to come from. Last transfer window they spectacularly missed out on Clint Dempsey and then loaned Andy Carroll to West Ham leaving Luis Suarez as options A-Z to spearhead the Reds' attack. The addition of Daniel Sturridge gives Brendan Rodgers' side another vetted goal-scoring threat, and the signing of Philippe Coutinho injects a creative element in midfield that hasn't existed at Anfield this season. If I'm a Liverpool fan, in spite of the cost associated with bringing these two players in, I'm excited for the future. Coutinho is only 20 and Sturridge is only 23 and they're being added to a side that is already full of very young players.

Brek Shea - If it wasn't obvious from his grintastic car interview with Sky Sports, Brek Shea is really, really, really, really, really happy to be out of Dallas and away from Schellas Hyndman. The Texan will join Geoff Cameron at Stoke City and should be afforded every opportunity to make a position his own. He's fast, skilled, and has the ability to score some fabulous goals if not the ability to sport a decent hairstyle.

Arsenal - I know, I know Arsenal only brought in one player! How can they be heroes if they only brought in one player? Well, that one player is Nacho Monreal. No, Nacho Monreal is not a Tex-Mex restaurant in Quebec. Nacho Monreal is a Spain international who comes over from Malaga and will, in all likelihood, insure that Andre Santos never sees the pitch again. For that fact alone, this may be the most genius move of the transfer window.

Shane Long - Long has found consistent starts hard to come by this season, but with Peter Odemwingie's bizarre and futile attempt to force a transfer through to QPR, the Irishman may suddenly find a few more opportunities to play up top for West Brom. At the bare minimum, he's a Baggies striker not named Peter Odemwingie and that's a very good thing indeed.

Newcastle - The Magpies did a little anti-Villa and actually picked up three important players who should help see them up the table and clearly into safety. Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran, and Mathieu Debuchy are all classy players who can start and produce immediately. The biggest coup for the Northwesterners, however, may be that they were able to convince Fabricio Coloccini to stay until the end of the season.


Peter Odemwingie - There are so many things wrong with what Odemwingie did on deadline day that I'm note entirely sure where to start. He wasn't given permission to discuss terms with QPR, but he loaded his agent into the car and drove all the way to West London anyhow in the hopes that he could force West Brom's hand. QPR wouldn't see him, the window closed, and there's Odemwingie having to drive all the way home to face the fans, teammates, and employers he tried to run out on. And he did all of this to force a move to QPR?! Bottom of the table, past their sell by date, overpaid, sinking ship, Harry-Redknapp-called-yesterday-and-tried-to-sign-me QPR.

This is what winning Twitter looks like.

QPR - Harry Redknapp is running a Queen's(Park Rangers) Gambit and continues to make what are, for my money, suspect buys that have the potential to ruin the club financially if they aren't able to stay in the Premier League. I still think QPR will go down and if/when they do, Harry's reputation for driving clubs into administration has to rise to at least equal his reputation of keeping them up. Christopher Samba fills a need with the looming departure of Ryan Nelsen, but his wages are through the roof and only further destabilize an already shaky pay structure. Loic Remy was a decent signing, but the arrival of Jermaine Jenas from Tottenham has me scratching my head. Good luck, Rangers fans. You're going to need it. 

Pajtim Kasami -  Kasami is a Fulham youngster who can't get a game since arriving at the club back in 2011. The 20 year old was hopeful a move to Serie A side Psecara would materialize yesterday, but apparently a faulty internet connection at the hotel where his agent was staying scuppered the move. How Fulham. 

Fulham - Speaking of Fulham and completely Fulham things to happen, Fulham got totally Fulhamed on deadline day. Of the substantial moves the Cottagers made this window, 4 of the 5 are loan deals and, although each deal sees the addition of some quality young players, I'm not terribly confident that Martin Jol was able to address his most pressing team needs. I wrote earlier about what I believed was Fulham's need for an out-and-out striker, and that need went completely unaddressed. Additionally, the only big name signing Fulham was trying to make was for Maarten Stekelenburg of AS Roma. I like Stekelenburg and think he's a functional goalkeeper, but I'm not convinced that he would have been a solution to a problem that may not even exist. Regardless, he got Fulhamed when he boarded a plane in Rome, took off for London, and then was incommunicado somewhere over Europe when Roma decided to pull the plug on the deal as they couldn't line up a viable replacement. 

Aston Villa - Villa are in free fall down the league table and had the opportunity to buy a parachute or a balloon or some wings or even a huge bed sheet with some handles sown onto it and instead they chose to do nothing, which, in their current situation, is a little like buying an anvil. They didn't even offload Darren Bent. Boo, Villa.    

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