Given that the deadline for this article was the day after the transfer deadline it was almost inevitable that this was going to end up being about it. After 11pm on deadline day (or midnight if you are a Scottish Football League club) any football previous to the closure of the deadline no longer exists. It never did. It has been wiped from memory. We are in a new reality.
So, lets all forget about the last week in football, which has been a fairly busy one even aside from the calamitous cacophony of transfer wheelings and dealings. Lets forget that Blackpool were criminally handed a £25,000 fine for fielding a weakened team against Aston Villa before Christmas, while Arsenal got away with doing the exact same thing. Lets forget that Celtic practically blew Hearts’ title credentials out of the water by handing them a thorough 4-0 whooping. Let’s forget that Euan forgot to mention these two things in his round-up of the week. Lets forget it all. It’s been said, this is a new reality, one where Andy Carroll, a giant Geordie maniac with hair like an uncouth Laurence Llewelyn Bowen, is worth £35million (that’s THIRTY-FIVE MILLION POUNDS vidiprinter fans).
It’s been a somewhat crazy day. Twitter has been madness. Try entering the search term ‘Fernando Torres + Helicopter’ to get a general gist of the chinese whispers going on. At least this was a window which for once provided a few big money moves, something that despite all the hype and rumour January rarely has. Clubs don’t buy players at this time. As Arsene Wenger will tell you, many managers don’t like to disrupt a settled squad (see an unusually quiet Eastlands for an example). Also, no one likes to pay over-inflated January prices for players. Or, usually no one does.
Alongside the aforementioned £35million for Andy Carroll was the £22.5million Liverpool also paid for the services of renowned cheat Luis Suarez. In the other direction there was the £50million transfer of Fernando Torres to Chelsea. He will be joined there by new team-mate David Luiz, a Brazilian defender from Benfica who cost 21m. It seems the English teams can still pack a wallop when it comes to splashing on big money, if not necessarily big name, players. These four signings, alongside those of Edin Dzeko (27m) and Darren Bent (18m) mean that £173.5million was spent on the six big signings of the transfer window, a huge amount of money for a league that is supposed to be feeling the bite of the recession.
Further down the food chain there were a few interesting and financially restrained signings, in the shape of loans and free transfers. It will be interesting to see what difference a player like Obafemi Martins will make to a struggling Birmingham side and how Blackpool’s season will be affected by their successful bid to hang on to Charlie Adam and their acquistion of four new players. Certainly they’ll need a bigger dressing room (and possibly a couple of hundred pre-match Burger Kings) if James Beattie, Andy Reid and Adam are all named in the same squad.
Closer to home there have been a few signings in Scotland. Rangers’ have picked up El-Hadji Diouf on loan, who alongside David Healy will bolster the attack after the exits of Kenny Miller and Beattie. Kyle Bartley, an Arsenal youth who captains the reserve side, comes into the defence. I can only think this is in case Davie Weir’s knees fall off. Players who have formerly played for Rangers have also been busy. Steven Smith, who was once a very promising left back (and still could be if he stays fit) has signed for Aberdeen, while Andrius Velicka has been released back to the Gers, where he will sit on the bench, possibly for eternity.
With Celtic remaining quiet for the duration of the day the only other transfers of real interest in Scotland were going on at Kilmarnock. They started the day by releasing long-serving Alan Combe and Danny Invincible. We’ll especially miss the latter and his hilarious name. Our editor will be shedding a tear as Conor Sammon packs his bags to go to Wigan. He’s been great at Killie this season, but is he an EPL standard player? Coming in the door rather than out are Scott Evans from Llanelli or Swansea (depending on who you listen to) and Kieran Agard, a young Everton striker. They join Benjamin Laurent (Le Harve) and Willie Aubameyang (AC Milan) who both impressed on trial. Hopefully they do so in competition as well, as Killie’s recent improvements have much been to the benefit of the league and it would be a shame to see them tail off now.
As for now, it’s back to the BBC Website. You never know what may get announced in the wee hours.