Wednesday, September 04, 2013

TSB's Deadline Day Winners and Losers

Monday was transfer deadline day. The day Sky TV's innate love of all things gaudy runs riot. Even flashier graphics, more screaming reporters and Jim White at his giddiest. All to tell us that Hull have taken a player on loan. Like watching Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke [nominative determinism, anyone?] at an awards show, but for the whole day.

Over the past few years EPL clubs have bought players the way my wife buys clothes: buying the same thing over and over again, with the emphasis on quantity rather than quality. She stockpiles mid-priced 'small tops' in the way Chelsea stockpiles attacking midfielders. But thankfully this window has seen a slight shift towards more intelligent spending. So, who did well and who didn't?

Man City seem to have learnt from the past. Last year Mancini begged for Javi Martinez but got the much cheaper and much craper Javi Garcia [maybe they thought the name would fool everyone]. This year however they've brought in some real quality with Navas and Fernandinho. That said, they still shied away from getting the absolute best. Negredo and Jovetic are good, but I'd have spent the cash on Falcao.

Liverpool have gone under the radar, but done ok. Suarez was kept, a good new keeper was brought in and Moses offers something different to their collection of midfield munchkins. However, there were some missed targets. And £18m for a defender, good though Sakho might turn out to be, in the last year of his contract, doesn't seem very moneyball.

Only time will tell if Spurs have done well. But surely the odd fan must be thinking, great, we got a fortune for Bale, but that meant Real ended up selling Özil to Arsenal. On the one hand AVB and Baldini seem to have been running around like lottery-winning Scousers, on the other, they have done some good business, especially only paying £17m for Paulinho. But where's the class? Lamela needs to live up to expectations.

Abramovich could have replaced Benitez with a chimp at Chelsea and still had a good season. All he had to do was buy either Falcao or Cavani and change nothing. Instead they've spent millions on attacking mids. They're all pretty good but are they needed? No doubt Mou will mould them into an effective team good enough to bore their way to the title. And in fairness they did bring in one world class striker in Eto'o. Unfortunately he doesn't come with a time machine.

Amateurish seems to be the word most used to describe ManU's dealings. That'll happen when imposter lawyers are involved and you pay £27.5m for a player available at £23m. Ed Woodward, their new chief exec, is hardly the new Equalizer. In a way this has only served to hide the real problem: that debts keep on crippling the club. They claim to be the world's biggest but they couldn't afford Ozil, who, according to Graham Hunter wanted to go to Manchester and would have been a perfect match.

Somehow the German is just what Arsenal needed and the one thing they didn't. The club have made a statement and they've done so with a fantastic player, perfect for their style of play. But attacking midfield is the only area that didn't really need strengthening. As at the end of last season, they're still short a top quality striker and a defender. At least a lot of dead wood has been removed [except Bendtner].

Other teams: Everton have done well, keeping Baines while bringing in Lukaku, McCarthy and Deulofeu. And they got someone to pay £6m for Anichebe. Norwich only paid £2.5m for Nathan Redmond, which is a steal. Likewise, Sessegnong seems good value at £6m for WBA [though they were the ones paying Everton for Anichebe]. Villa's dealings are irrelevant as they managed to keep Benteke. Joe Kinnear claimed he 'has the ear of every manager in the world" but they obviously decided not to listen to him. While Mark Hughes, realising that his own playing style is pretty drab and therefore fulfilling his promise to brighten things at Stoke would be difficult, has brought in the mad Marko Arnautovic.

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