Thursday, 3 February 2011

Relocation, Relocation

So closure comes, after much speculation and some huge moves, the transfer window has closed with an unbelievable final day.
Just two weeks ago Darren Bent moved from Sunderland to Aston Villa, a move at the time which many were questioning. He cost £18m plus and many thought this was a huge sum for someone who wasn’t even an England regular. What Bent has though is tons of goals, spread over 5 years. His record at Sunderland was great and therefore this transfer shouldn’t have raised so many doubts. Although he’s not an all-round forward by any sense he scores loads of goals and Villa have needed someone like to do that for years.
With Young/Albrighton one side and Downing the other Bent should have a field day. His goal against City being a prime example of his positional play and being ready to take any chance that may come his way. The deal also seemed great for Sunderland, they had sold a want away player for a much around double the fee they paid 18 months previously and Steve Bruce, a manager who has a history of bringing some great players in wherever he goes, could reinvest. He has since used the money to bring in Stephane Sessegnon (£6m) from PSG.
However a lot can happen in two weeks, Andy Carroll’s move from Newcastle to Liverpool didn’t seem to be the most likely of transfers back in mid-January, let alone for a record fee for an Englishman. On deadline day he cost Liverpool the small sum of £35m. An unbelievable amount for a player who has played only six months in the Premier League. Ok so the lad has promise and he is English which adds a bit to the cost, but seriously £35 million?
To quote Guardian writer Sean Ingle‘s tweet, ’Beware half-season wonders: Amr Zaki scored 11 goals in 19 games in the 2008/09 season. Andy Carroll has 11 goals in 20 games in 2010/11 season’. Why is it that the English players cost so much? Well Darren Bent seems cheap in comparison now, but is it just that they are home-grown and therefore count towards each teams quota of eight English players? The merchandising aspect of having an English star too make sense or perhaps even that he won’t get far for England in World Cups and European Championships, if the last few tournaments are anything to go on, for years to come and be in tip-top shape ready for a new season? Almost certainly the first reason.
When you look at Liverpool’s other big signing, Luis Suarez (£22m), you realise quite how astronomical the Carroll transfer is. Suarez unlike Carroll has played at a World Cup already finishing fourth and in 09/10 he scored 35 in 33 games in the Eredivisie for Ajax. You could make an argument that it’s a weak league and look at Alfonso Alves. Suarez didn’t look out of depth at the World Cup at all and finished fourth with Uruguay. What’s evident in the big final day moves is that loyalty is rare in football thses days. Andy Carroll signed a new 5-year deal with Newcastle in October and said ’All I have ever wanted to do is play for Newcastle United’. Which makes this move even odder.
However a day after his move Carroll claimed he had been asked to leave, a claim which was denied by Alan Pardew but does seem to be more than likely the case. To sell a player who is a boyhood fan shows how disloyal Mike Ashley is to his club. Pardew has said he can use the money in the summer, that’s if he is still there and if Newcastle drop down to the Championship the fans will have yet another reason to dislike Ashley further, will he regret the decision? They have lost their key forward and are now left with Leon Best, Shola Ameobi and the youngster Nile Ranger as recognised strikers. Only last summer, fresh from winning the World Cup, Fernando Torres said he was committed to Liverpool and that his loyalty to the club was the same as when he had signed. At the time it didn’t seem too convincing and now this. So Liverpool have had an up-and-down six months since but finally they seem to be on the up and he clears off. Money, impatience and his urge to win something in domestic football would be the presumable motive.
Another thing that strikes me about the Carroll, Suarez and Torres deals are that no doubt Liverpool needed more creativity and a player like Suarez who can play anywhere up-front fits perfectly, most likely the left for Liverpool but why did they sign Carroll for such a crazy fee when their season’s finale doesn’t appear to be looking too successful. They at best could finish in the top four, so why didn’t they wait until the summer to reinvest the Torres money? With that money in the bank they could have bought in a few players at much more sensible rates. As for Fernando Torres, where will he fit in at Chelsea? They play with Drogba up-front and Malouda and Anelka either side under Ancelotti. So what will he change to accommodate Torres too. This could be one of the most interesting problems to unfold. With the signing of David Luiz too Chelsea should now be stronger and have options at both ends of the pitch. Luiz, 23, cost 21m and plays primarily in central defence although has been known to play at left and right-back for former club Benfica. It’s unlikely that he’ll play much this season and so it’ll be hard to judge him early on. More likely is that Chelsea will find out just how good he is next season.
Out of the Torres and Carroll deals only time will tell who has got the better deal. But at this point I would think Torres without a doubt, even at 50 million could prove the most decisive in his new clubs season. What is certain is that when Chelsea play Liverpool this weekend it will have that extra factor of intrigue.
My top 5 January transfers:
Luis Suarez (Ajax-Liverpool)
A record number of goals scored albeit in the Eredivisie but proved how good he is in the World Cup.
Carlos Vela (Arsenal-WBA, loan)
An excellent acquisition for Roberto Di Matteo, although he has struggled at Arsenal, he has a great left-foot and needs to gain some confidence and consistency which a first-team position at WBA should give him.
David Bentley (Tottenham-Birmingham, loan)
A perfect player you’d think for Nikola Zigic. A great delivery which could prove to be a great asset in keeping Birmingham up. Could he come back to haunt Arsenal in the League Cup final?
Darren Bent (Sunderland-Aston Villa)
As said before, a proven goalscorer who could be as influential as Milner was last season for Villa.
Edin Dzeko (Wolfsburg-Manchester City)
A languid footballer who already looks to have started a great partnership with Tevez and he should take the reliance of goals off the Argentinean too.

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