The old stories of managers frantically running through the streets of London to get the paperwork for a new signing to the FA in time to meet the deadline are long gone. Thanks Internet! But the era of the munificent Arab/Russian zillionaire and the American corporate sporting franchise now lend detective novel style suspense to August 31st! And apologies for the slur against the Internet, watching it all unfold in real-time is pant wettingly exciting. But who were the big winners and losers over the last couple of days?
Spurs. Daniel Levy is without doubt somehow an agent of the occult. I still don’t know how he pulled off that “under the radar” Van Der Vaart deal at a fraction of his real value. This time Levy/Redknapp’s objective must have been to replace quantity with quality. They have brought in almost $25 million for Crouch and Keane which is not at all shabby and instead captured Adebayor on loan. They might be sorry to see Palacios ($10m) go, but pretty average performers like O’Hara ($9m), Jenas and Bentley have been replaced by eleventh hour signing Scott Parker, who should be England’s first name on the team sheet at the moment. They’ve lacked a quality goalkeeper for eons, but now have Brad Friedel in net. Oh and they’ve held onto Modric. He might sulk for a while, but he’s not going to jeopardize a future move by playing half-heartedly for the rest of the season!
QPR. Shaun Wright-Phillips is not world class, but he’s certainly a skillful, quick winger and a great signing for QPR. Joey Barton was fantastic for Newcastle and if (big if!!!!!!!!!) Warnock can get along with him for a whole season, he’ll add some real quality to the midfield. As well as having boundless energy and aggression Barton’s technique is pretty exceptional as well for an English midfielder. He actually has a very good touch as well as being combative.
Wenger. Not Arsenal so much. Wenger still needed to get a couple more defenders through the door for my money, but in Arteta and Benayoun he’s finally brought in experienced players. Mertesacker is the kind of player he should have signed four or five years ago, but better late than never heh! I still don’t see them capturing a Champions League place, but Wenger pulled off a couple of eye-catching deals in overtime to ensure some more patience from the Gooner faithfull!
Everton. While Vaughan and Beckford simply weren’t up to the grade, Moyes would surely have wanted to see more enter stage right than he has seen exeunt (theater reference in honor of Bill Kenwright). It seems like the Argentine Stracqualursi is not goal shy but I suspect he will take time to bed in. Drenthe has not been blessed with playing time at Madrid. Time will tell, but the two signings on deadline day were the only ones of the summer, and that feels a little underdone given their patchy form (see previous post).
Swansea. Made some signings but none that brings enough quality to make a substantial difference. Swansea will be hoping to survive on team spirit… Wayne Routledge has never been a hugely positive influence on that!
Wigan. Just on Shaun Maloney alone. They paid about $1.5 million for him, which might seem a drop in the ocean, but his form for Celtic recently has been dire. Perhaps he needs a new challenge to refresh himself but I don’t think he’s going to make the difference for Wigan.
Scottish Football. The ealth divide was made painfully clear north of the border, where there were so few signs of life it could have been the Sahara!