look serif;”>The ironic thing about the club soccer summer hiatus is that it can draw in the more passive fans as the transfer madness replaces it, patient engrossing millions while perhaps continuing to earn the disapproval of the more cynical. Here we will take a brief look at the outcome of the Premier League’s more eye-catching off-season movements, the hefty fee payers, the value and non-value in the market and the culmination of hype made so unnecessarily but entertainingly tense by Sky Sports News’ Jim White on transfer deadline day.
Neither UEFA’s parental device of Financial Fair Play nor the worldwide recession have truly hampered the flow of the market. Hardcore spending by Qatari-backed Paris Saint-Germain and the Russian Anzhi Makhachkala and Zenit St. Petersburg has not necessarily initiated direct reverberations within England, there is certainly a growing mentality of financial competitiveness among teams in European competition.
Premier League clubs did not quite emulate the 2008 record of €630m but the €12.5m they were found shy of this gargantuan total points towards widespread activity. Chelsea, still extravagantly backed by oil baron Roman Abramovich, have sought to build on Champions League success and the loss of the explosive Didier Drogba by spending just over €100m largely on an exciting new attacking line including the much lauded Belgian maestro Eden Hazard for €40m, the Brazilian Olympian attacker Oscar (€32m), German winger Marko Marin and Wigan’s Nigerian forward Victor Moses.
Nor were Manchester United strangers to the cheque book, which is somewhat unusual given that Sir Alex Ferguson has historically tended to not spend big despite seasons of little on-field a success. United have bought German league and cup champion Shinji Kagawa (€21.5m) as well as Premier League Player of the Year Robin van Persie (€30m). The latter signing, agreed over a persuasive call from Ferguson to Arsene Wenger, is seen as a major boost to title credentials at Old Trafford and a blow to champions Manchester City who were uncharacteristically reserved in their spending. City completed most of their business on deadline day with the capture of Javi Garcia (€20.2m) replacing the AC Milan bound Nigel de Jong. Serbian defender Matija Nastasic, veteran right back Maicon and England Under 21 internationals Scott Sinclair and Jack Rodwell were also signed.
Antrim man Brendan Rodgers was faced with the unenviable task of rebuilding a Liverpool squad already crippled by overspending and low confidence but the Anfield faithful have had little to celebrate in the off-season. The lunacy of allowing €44m Geordie Andy Carroll to join West Ham on loan without signing Fulham’s Clint Dempsey or any other replacement forward for that matter boggles the mind. The Reds bizarrely waited all summer to move Carroll out but could not wait an extra forty-eight hours to confirm his replacement and must now rely on the often goal-shy Luis Suarez and the unproven Italian Fabio Borini up front until January at least.
Meanwhile, in north London, Luka Modric’s €41.5m move to Real Madrid allowed new Tottenham boss André Vilas Boas to snap up Moussa Dembelé (€19m) and Clint Dempsey from Fulham, Dutch defender Jan Vertonghen, Icelandic attacking midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, France national goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and the permanent transfer of controversial former Gunner Emmanuel Adebayor from Manchester City. Arsenal, having also lost Alex Song to Barcelona, prepared well for the loss of RVP with the early import of two strikers, international (though perhaps not yet club) star Lukas Podolski and Frenchman Olivier Giroud as well as Malaga’s winger Santi Cazorla, a player who Real Madrid tried to sign two years ago and is already earning himself devoted fans.
– Thomas Hobbs