So after all the hype, specifically from Sky who made the event seem like the second coming of Jesus, Tuesday’s transfer deadline day was a bit of a let down, a damp squib if you will. The whole concept of deadline day is a strange one, why wait until the last day of the window when clubs can sign players from July onwards? Desperation, probably.
Not surprisingly it was Harry Redknapp who was linked with the most players but despite rumours of David James, Martin Petrov, Matthew Upson and Anton Ferdinand – Nico Kranjcar was the only new addition to White Hart Lane. Redknapp obviously loves wheeling and dealing with transfers, in fact it would not be a shock to find out he prefers it to actual matches. Spurs have a really strong squad now with cover in all positions, they may even be better placed to make a run for 4th than Manchester City. Liverpool and Arsenal will surely be looking over their shoulders.
Harry’s former club Portsmouth completed their aim on deadline day, if their aim was to replace a decent Premier League squad with a mediocre Championship one. If they had let David James go then surely relegation would be a foregone conclusion, as it is they will need a better manager than Paul Hart to get the best out of their deadline day recruits. Meanwhile, Everton’s purchase of Dutch international Johnny Heitinga looks like an astute one, he will fit in well at right-back. When Everton actually look back at their business in this transfer window they will be quite pleased. Selling Joleon Lescott may have been a blow at the time but with the cash they made from his sale, they have been able to bring in Heitinga, exciting Russian winger Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (difficult to spell, never mind pronounce) and Sylvain Distin. Indeed, in Distin they have signed a player who is arguably just as good as Lescott and for quarter the price.
Aston Villa’s signings of Richard Dunne and James Collins were solid if not spectacular and they have still not really replaced Gareth Barry. Stoke made some good buys, Tuncay Sanli in particular and may be worth a sly bet on finishing in the top half of the table. Special mention to Burnley’s loan signing of David Nugent. He had a nightmare at Portsmouth but those who watched him at Preston know there is something about him. Let’s hope for his sake that Owen Coyle can get the best out of him.
One signing made a couple of days before the transfer deadline showed how much the Lescott deal and Man City in general have driven up prices in England. Michael Turner signing for Sunderland from Hull for fee that will possibly rise to £12m. Nothing against Turner who is a solid Premier League centre-back, but anyone who watched Hull last season will be astonished that anyone is willing to pay that much money for one of their players. Especially one of their defenders. It should come as no surprise that the top four did not partake in deadline day, they rarely do. However the lack of movement in the entire window from these clubs was startling. Manchester United were never going to be able to replace Cristiano Ronaldo, yet they did not even attempt it. What a difference a Franck Ribery or a David Villa would have made to Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad. Perhaps rumours of a lack of finance at the club are not so far from the mark. The same could be said of Liverpool who bought in an overpriced Glen Johnson, yet lost Xavi Alonso for £30m. As for Arsenal, they appear to have less money than Kerry Katona. After Arsene Wenger’s antics at Old Trafford last weekend, any Arsenal accountants should be on the lookout for flying cups of tea.
Thank heavens then for Manchester City who despite being quiet on deadline day, have spent millions assembling a impressive Premier League squad. It does appear however that Mark Hughes scouting system consists of little more than watching Match Of The Day. Carlo Tevez, Barry, Lescott, Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor are all good signings but where is the world class star or even some hot unknown talent? Last year they gazumped Chelsea by signing Robinho from under their noses, was it too much to ask for something similar this year?
A let down it may have been but deadline day is here to stay. It has fitted into the football calendar alongside FA Cup 3rd round day, Boxing day fixtures and the opening round of games as one of the events of the year. Next time however how about a few more glamour signings and a few less workmanlike pros.
A Different Week
Michael Owen’s move reminiscent of The Boss – July 10
The City Circus – July 17
Beckham – End of an American dream? – July 24
Trouble at the Toon – July 31
Chester’s plight reflective of modern ways – August 7
What will happen – August 14
Joleon Lescott and the ugly side of a modern professional player – August 21
Defoe is Jermain man – August 28
Deadline day disappoints – September 4