Now that deadline day’s out the way, it’s time to take a look at who’s feeling smugly self-satisfied about the whole affair and who spent the small hours of last night crying into their pillow at the injustice of it all. Here, in no particular order, are the four biggest winners and losers to emerge from yesterday’s dealings.
After spending the majority of last season rotting on Liverpool’s bench and, well, not exactly impressing in his appearances coming off it, Cole nonetheless must have impressed someone from French club Lille, as they’ve signed him on a season long loan. Not only will this assumedly give Cole more chances of first team football, but will also lead to him appearing in the Champions League for Lille – a competition he probably wouldn’t have envisaged playing it at the start of the season. For a player who’s had more attempts to resurrect his career than Manchester City have midfielders, some playing time at Lille might actually give Cole an opportunity to wrestle his way back into contention for England selection. Or, you know, he could still end up being utter toilet.
If you were told a club would spend £20 million on deadline day, not many people would have picked out Stoke City as that club. Yet manager Tony Pulis has been embarking on a supermarket sweep of out of favour footballers, grabbing them off the shelves like there’s no tomorrow. From Spurs, Peter Crouch and Wilson Palacios joined recent team mate Jonathan Woodgate amongst the shiny new acquisitions at the Britannia Stadium, with Birmingham’s Cameron Jerome hot on their heels, and Stoke now have a team that looks like it could realistically challenge for the Europa League spots this season, or at the very least have a decent run in the cup competitions.
For a long part of this summer, QPR’s season looked doomed before it had even begun. Boardroom wrangles cast a large shadow over the club, with next to no money made available for transfers, and prospects of survival seemed bleak after an opening day humbling at the hands of Bolton. However, with the completion of Tony Fernandes’ takeover of the club, suddenly Neil Warnock has had more money than he knows what to do with – after all, only a state of confusion can explain away the purchase of Shaun Wright-Phillips. The subsequent signings of Armand Traore from Arsenal, Joey Barton from Newcastle, Anton Ferdinand from Sunderland and Luke Young from Aston Villa should give a defensive backbone the side has lacked in it’s opening matches, whilst the combination of Adel Taarabt and Barton in midfield could well be a productive, if volatile, one. The only concern for Warnock might be who gets the goals, but giving the limited time he had to do business, he’s by no means done badly.
Wenger was left downtrodden and humiliated after the 8-2 annihilation at the hands of Manchester United, and the tweeting masses of Arsenal fans, it seemed, would stop at nothing less than his head on a rusty pike. A few days and five signings later, though, and all is once again coming up roses for the Frenchman, with the same Arsenal fans lauding his sudden willingness to relent and buy experienced players over 15 years old. Whether Arsenal can still convincingly challenge for a top four position without the exceptional talents of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri remains to be seen, but for now it’s been a cannily played get out of jail free card from Wenger that will grant him a stay of execution at least until the season’s end.
Honorary mentions go to Raul Meireles, who despite handing in a transfer request with only a short amount of the window remaining still managed to complete a move to Chelsea; Craig Bellamy, who’s somehow managed to sign with Liverpool off the back of a lacklustre season in the Championship with Cardiff; and Owen Hargreaves, who succeeded in getting to Manchester City, having a medical, and getting back home again without injuring himself once.
The joke being bandied about the most on deadline day was that Everton are so strapped for cash, they couldn’t even afford a transfer rumour. As it turns out, eventually they could, but then it only resulted in the departures of Mikel Arteta to Arsenal and Jermaine Beckford to Leicester. The loss of Arteta will be a huge blow to the Merseysider’s ambitions this season – the Spaniard himself told journalists earlier in the window that “If we cannot sign new players we must keep the ones we have.” Apparently, he’s had a change of heart. At least the loss of Jermaine Beckford will be less keenly felt, the former Leeds striker never really adapting to the step up to the Premier League. Coming the other way, relative unknowns Denis Stracqualursi and Royston Drenthe will attempt to fill the void left by Arteta’s sale. The money received for Arteta and Beckford, disappointingly for Everton fans, will be heading straight to the bank, and so won’t be available for new signings in January either. Further to this, you have to wonder how many more seasons David Moyes will tolerate having no money to spend, ever, before he tires and moves on to another club.
Deadline day has come and gone, and poor old Carlos is still stuck in gloomy Manchester. A move to Corinthians earlier in the window fell through after the Brazilian club failed to meet Manchester City’s £40 million valuation, a price tag that also put off Italy’s Inter Milan, and interest from other clubs was thin on the ground thereafter. At least he now has compatriot Sergio Aguero to keep him company at Eastlands; though his impressive start, coupled with Edin Dzeko’s four goal haul against Spurs, might leave Tevez waiting on a first team chance. Still, the £200,000-odd a week wages might provide some consolation amidst all the sulking.
Perhaps more consolation for Tevez will come in the form of knowing he isn’t the only one to have the hatches firmly battened down on a move away from his current club. Subject to a bid worth £40 million from Chelsea on Tuesday, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has nonetheless stood firm in his resolve to hold onto the diminutive Croatian, despite all the moping behind the scenes. With Chelsea signing Raul Meireles from Liverpool as a late-in-the-day alternative, Luka is perhaps now regretting the folly of signing a five year deal a few months before deciding to leave the club. Or even, regretting not writing into contract the “gentleman’s agreement” he supposedly had with Levy to be allowed to move on if someone agreed to stuff more cash into his greedy palms. Who says footballers are mercenaries…?
Remember Alan Pardew’s words upon the transfer of Andy Carroll to Liverpool back in January? They went something along the lines of “the money must be reinvested in the team. All of it.” So, how much of that hefty £35 million slice has Mike Ashley directed back towards player sales, and more specifically buying a much needed striker? Er, well. About £12 million, but that actually just about equals out with the money they’ve gained this window from player sales. So technically, none of it has been reinvested. Nor have they secured the services of another striker, with Bryan Ruiz of FC Twente choosing Fulham over the Magpies. Sometimes you have to wonder if Mike Ashley actually enjoys Newcastle making Newcastle look borderline comedic? At the very least, he surely enjoys the £35 million lining his pockets at any rate.
Honorary mentions go to Gary Cahill, who’s stuck at Bolton, and Harry Redknapp, who dealt his wheeling and dealing reputation a blow by going home two hours before the transfer window closed. Disappointing.
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