|A transfer window of nuclear proportions.|
However, naturally it was a much slower start.
Edin Dzeko’s move from Wolfsburg to Manchester City had long been expected and went through only a week after the window opened. Having signed for Wolfsburg for a fee of only €4 million 2 years ago, the turnaround relates to something like a 700% profit for the German club after City handed over £27 Million for the striker. The second highest fee paid by the new City regime, behind Robinho, and the Citizens will certainly be hoping the Bosnian has more influence than the Brazilian.
And then, it all went quiet. A lot of murmuring, and I think Steve Sidwell went somewhere (Fulham, Undisclosed Fee). Steven Pienaar picked Spurs over Chelsea, and David Bentley and Wayne Bridge found new homes if only temporarily (Bentley to Birmingham and Bridge to West Ham), but not too much to be said.
Then, as if by magic it all came to life, and Darren Bent, not for the first time, provided us all with a shock .Reportedly unhappy at his new role in the Sunderland set up, Bent however appeared to be returning to something of his best form for a club on the up. But a bid from the languishing Villa was too much too resist. Rejected by numerous England managers, Harry Redknapp and at times this season, Steve Bruce, Bent perhaps saw the recognition he feels he deserves through the £24 Million Houiller was willing to part with. A price baulked at by fans and pundits alike at the time, but having scored 82 Premier League goals since 2005, a record now only surpassed by Didier Drogba and Wayne Rooney, Bent could be the steal of the decade. If not, certainly of this transfer window.
Meanwhile, activity was beginning to pick up elsewhere. Liverpool, as well as Villa, were reportedly interested in Blackpool’s Charlie Adam. Only for any advances to be rejected as “derisory” by Tangerines boss Holloway. Liverpool and Spurs would both return late in the day, only to fail once again, even if Adam himself thought “I’m sorted” at 11.50pm on deadline day. Two centre forwards meanwhile had managed to find a way out of their clubs and found loan deals elsewhere (Adebayor to Real Madrid, and Roque Santa Cruz back to Blackburn). Demba Ba arrived at the Boleyn ground, via a failed medical at Stoke, and deals were appearing to be done.
But no one could have expected what was about to happen next. If the lack of spending prior to Christmas was due to the British snowfall then what was about to happen was the result of a footballing Cold-war; America v Russia, Liverpool v Chelsea. With a North Eastern hit man thrown in for good measure.
Torres to Chelsea, Carroll to Liverpool. Two British record transfer fees paid in the space of one day, a total of £85 Million spent in one evening. And the best of it? With 72 hours left of the window, no one had any idea.
Both transfers are seen as a gamble. Everyone knows Torres scores when he plays, but how often can Abramovich expect to see him pull on a Chelsea shirt? Since 2007, Dider Drogba has only made two more appearances for Chelsea than Torres has for Liverpool, so the Russian will be hoping his new signing can make the same sort of impact, starting next Sunday at the Bridge against his former club.
At £35 Million, Andy Carroll has become the most expensive player in British history. All this after only six months top flight football, one England cap, and 17 Championship goals last season. Peter Whittingham, Nicky Maynard, Gary Hooper, Charlie Adam and Michael Chopra all scored more. So why have Liverpool paid so much? Back in November, rumours surfaced that Arsenal were interested in the Geordie for around £15 Million, then a few weeks later, naturally, Harry Redknapp got involved quoting around £10 Million more than the ever-prudent Wenger. But with less than 24 hours before the close of business, in an already inflated market, John W. Henry wrote a cheque much larger than anticipated by anyone. However, at 22, Carroll is widely considered the brightest young English talent out there. A potential saviour for Capello’s England and now a potential saviour, alongside teammate Luis Suarez, for Dalglish’s Liverpool. But with more court appearances than England appearances, there is no doubt the Merseyside club has taken a gamble on a white man who once braided his hair.
All in all, a very busy January, at least towards the end.
As well as Torres, Chelsea finally landed Brazilian defender David Luiz at the second attempt, taking their deadline day spending past the £70 Million mark. In the same breath Liverpool loaned outcast Paul Konchesky to Championship side Forest, ending a very unhappy season for the full back. Steve McClaren replaced Edin Dzeko with Stoke’s Sanli Tuncay for around £5 Million, and Blackburn failed with attempts to sign David Beckham and Ronaldinho, unsurprisingly. But they did manage to bring in Ruben Rochina from Barce’, and Mauro Formica from Argentina’s Newell’s Old Boys, to play alongside loan signing Jermaine Jones (from Schalke). Perhaps there’s more to Steve Kean than first met the eye, after all he has shipped out El Hadji Diouf. Elsewhere, the Bent deal encouraged Steve Bruce to complete the signings of PSG midfielder Stephane Sessegnon and Suli Muntari on loan from Rubin Kazan, while Houiller brought in Jean Makoun and Michael Bradley from the continent.
At close of play, over £225 Million was spent in the British transfer window. So much for another winter of discontent.