News and Views from the Football League - Deadline passes with some big name departures
So another chaotic month draws to a close and with it, the transfer window. All deals are either done or off now and so it seems an apt time to assess the business that was completed with the clock ticking on the final day. In truth, although there were no sensational last minute deals, it was still an exciting day, and there was no shortage of activity in the Football League, perhaps inevitably with the Championship seeing the brunt of the action.
All eyes had been focused on Crystal Palace sensation Victor Moses. The Nigerian-born forward appeared to have set his sights on pastures new and with his present employers in administration, the club simply could not afford to turn away the money. The only question which remained was which club would win the battle for his signature. Despite rumours of interest from Tottenham, Liverpool and even the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona, it was unglamorous Wigan Athletic who tempted Moses. At a cut-price deal, believed to be in the region of £2.5m, this seems to be good business for both parties. The Latics have got an emerging talent who will only get better, whereas Moses himself has arrived at a club where first team football is a realistic possibility. Would this have been the case straight away at Spurs for example? Wigan will offer him the perfect introduction to the Premier League, as they have already done with players like Pascal Chimbonda and Antonio Valencia.
Another of the Championship’s bright young hopes has also made the step up to the Premier League. Middlesbrough’s home-grown star winger Adam Johnson has joined Manchester City for an undisclosed fee - believed to be around £7m. Johnson’s deal was one of the final transfers to be confirmed, as he signed a contract that ties him to the Eastlands club until the summer of 2014. Despite appearances, this is a move which should really excite the City fans. Signing a young English talent from the division below may not create the same buzz which surrounded the club when the signings of Carlos Tevez or Robinho were announced, but Johnson is a player with bags of potential. He arrives from the Riverside with Premier League experience and has shone for Gordon Strachan’s men this term in the Championship. The signing of a young English talent should not be shunned either as this is a player who could really step up in the next few seasons. He has a future at international level if he wants it.
So what of the players coming into the Football League? Well for the biggest news, we stay with Middlesbrough, who confirmed the signing of prolific hit-man Scott McDonald from Celtic. Gordan Strachan has raided his former club again to boost Boro’s strike-force, as McDonald will link up with former team-mates Barry Robson, Chris Killen, Stephen McManus and Willo Flood at the Riverside. Celtic manager Tony Mowbray was unable to guarantee McDonald the regular football that he wanted in order to book his place in the Australia squad for the upcoming World Cup, especially with the likes of Diomansy Kamara and Robbie Keane arriving at Parkhead, and so a move south of the border was undoubtedly the best option for the former Motherwell striker. Strachan may well partner him up front with fellow new signing Lee Miller, who has arrived from Aberdeen. With a wealth of talent at his disposal, many of whom he has worked with before, Strachan will look to see Boro fire up the table in their quest for an immediate return to the Premier League. The loss of Johnson is a blow and there can be no denying this. However, fans at the Riverside should be excited by the squad that their manager is putting together, and there is every reason to look forward to the rest of the season with much anticipation.
With all of the transfer activity that has taken place, it is perhaps worth taking stock of one of the deals that never was. At the start of the window, Jermaine Beckford made it clear that he was seeking a move away from Elland Road and with a growing list of admirers, it seemed that someone would surely meet Leeds’s valuation. As quick as he handed in his transfer request, Beckford stated his desire to see out the season in Yorkshire, ending any chance of a deal many would think. Of course, nothing is ever certain in football, and with Leeds capturing Gary McSheffery on loan, it looked as if perhaps Simon Grayson was preparing for an immediate future without Beckford. As it turned out, no deal materialised. What does seem certain however, is that Beckford will be playing in a higher division next season. All that remains to be seen is whether that will be with Leeds United, and if not with Leeds, then in which division and for which club?
A final word has to go to Peterborough who’s campaign in the Championship appears to be going from disaster to catastrophe. Anchored to the bottom of the table, Posh have now parted company with manager Mark Cooper after just 13 games in charge. With only one victory to his name in his brief tenure, it can’t really be argued that he’d far form been a success but surely a dose of realism is necessary here? Seemingly destined for the drop, to part company with the manager appears a strange decision on transfer deadline day. That said, the London Road club have acted swiftly to appoint Jim Gannon as the new gaffer. Gannon comes highly-rated after his spell in charge of Stockport and although he didn’t enjoy similar success at Motherwell, he is sure to get Posh playing good football again. However, it will be an almighty ask to keep his new side in the Championship, and he will have to act swiftly and shrewdly in the loan market should he feel the need to freshen things up. It may well be that Peterborough will come to regret some of the decisions made this season, but if they ultimately do face the drop, Gannon will have them well equipped for an immediate return next season.