F365`s Top Ten January Moves...
Posted 01/02/11 16:38
Plenty of deals in the transfer window, but which were the best? A good loan or a waste of time? A shrewd investment or a rip-off. Here are our ten (well, OK, eleven) top deals of January...
NB: Not all of these deals are from a single perspective - i.e. some might be good from the player's point of view, some from the club's, and one from the perspective of every right-thinking fan in England...
10 - Kyle Walker (loan from Spurs to Aston Villa)
The England right-back slot is up for grabs. Whenever we at F365 are writing the ratings for England games, we could just cut and paste the same paragraph for Glen Johnson - 'Good going forward, a liability defending', or variants thereof, and surely this cannot be tolerated for too long. Initial signs suggest Walker may have similar issues, but he has impressed in a problem position for Villa thus far, so this could be his chance.
9 - Paul Konchesky (loan from Liverpool to Nottingham Forest)
In short, Konchesky simply had to get out of there. Never mind not getting a game - he was seen by many fans as a symbol of the Roy Hodgson regime, a relic of a hated time and appropriately scorned. As he had already played for both Liverpool and Fulham this season, his options were limited - if the Cottagers didn't want him back, an 'emergency' loan was the only route open. With that not really a possibility in the Premier League, a Championship club in decent nick where Konchesky can settle himself and just play - without 40,000 Scousers screaming at him - looks about right.
8 - Jamie O'Hara (loan from Spurs to Wolves
Speak to a lot of Spurs fans, and they would much rather have O'Hara in their team than Jermaine Jenas. Technically rather limited, sure, but a far less frustrating player than his more talented colleague. After his lengthy injury lay-off, O'Hara has been kicking his heels at Spurs, with a plethora of central midfielders (Jenas, Huddlestone, Sandro, Palacios) in front of him. O'Hara did well on loan at a struggling club last season, so one suspects he has the chops for a similar effort his time around.
7 - Steve Sidwell (undisc from Aston Villa to Fulham)
Languishing in the reserves at Aston Villa, Sidwell's career could charitably have been described as 'stalled'. He clearly needed to get out, but his move to Fulham turned out to be excellent not just because it got him out of the Villa stiffs, but because he didn't end up signing for West Ham. Indeed, in pulling out of the deal because the Hammers apparently had too many midfielders (Mediawatch has dealt with their pursuit of other men in that position), Karren Brady did Sidwell a favour. Would you prefer a stable club whose form seems to be turning around, or a basket case at the bottom of the league? Tough call.
6 - Tuncay (undisc from Stoke to Wolfsburg)
Set aside what you may think of Stoke (and we think plenty), and instead pay attention to Tuncay saying he "could not sleep at night because of the excitement" of joining Wolfsburg. Also Tony Pulis, not exactly a sentimental wallflower you'd imagine, said: "Tunny asked me if the club would help him to achieve his dream. He's always wanted to play in Germany and has missed out in the past." The Turk is too talented a player for the bench, so hopefully he'll have better luck in Germany.
5 - David Bentley (loan from Spurs to Birmingham)
So many of these deals seem to be talented players at a biggish club, who for whatever reason can't get a game. And Bentley must be the alpha male of that particular group, spending most of the season shuffling around, not doing much at Spurs Lodge, other than kicking footballs into skips. A spell at Birmingham, where he will most likely get regular football and a chance to strut his silky stuff, could be just the thing he needs.
4 - Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez (£57.8million from Newcastle and Ajax to Liverpool)
Oh boy, is this a gamble. A whacking great gamble. Liverpool fans might (and plenty have) comfort themselves by thinking of this as effectively being financially square, having sold Torres and Ryan Babel for roughly the same money. Or that Carroll is not worth £35million, but is simply about two-thirds of a Torres. Both valid views, but to blow that amount of money on one (injured) player with half a decent season in the Premier League and another only proven in the crapshoot that is the Eredivisie, is risky. We'll not even go into how their respective ropey temperaments might cause problems.
Still, let's look on the positive side. In theory, this could be an ideal partnership - the big battering ram and the lithe and nippy finisher, dovetailing perfectly to put away the chances provided by Gerrard, Meireles et al. Also, between them they have scored 18 goals in 34 league games this season. And they're young too - 22 and 24 respectively. If this works, they could be Liverpool's strike partnership for a generation.
3 - El-Hadji Diouf (loan from Blackburn to Rangers)
Come on, aren't you glad to see the back of him? Incidentally, if you didn't know, Diouf's first game will probably be Sunday's Old Firm derby. Best of luck.
2 - Darren Bent (£18m, rising to £24m, from Sunderland to Aston Villa)
Twice this window, the F365 team has rubbed our eyes, uttered increasingly vile expletives and wondered exactly what is wrong with the world as a striker from the north-east attracts a ludicrous transfer fee. However, after the events of deadline day, £24million for a striker with five-and-a-half seasons of (reasonably) consistent Premier League goalscoring behind him doesn't seem quite so silly. Villa were missing a regular goalscorer, and while Bent doesn't offer a great deal other than goals, they have plenty of others to do the fancy stuff. A front four of Albrighton, Young, Agbonlahor and Bent does look pretty tasty...
1 - Fernando Torres (£50m from Liverpool to Chelsea)
Setting aside the Liverpool fans who took the 'YNWA' armband as a blood oath, one could convincingly argue that everyone wins from this deal. Chelsea have a world-class player to give their season the kick in the pants it needs, Torres is at a club with a better chance of winning things, and Liverpool have £50million for a man who has looked listless, unfit and petulant for much of the season.
In the short term, one might question Chelsea's wisdom in buying Torres. Incorporating both he and Didier Drogba will almost certainly mean a change in formation, and as Pete Gill pointed out on Tuesday, it didn't go so well last time they tried to accommodate an expensive forward. However, this is a long-term investment. Chelsea have been told by anyone who would listen that theirs is an ageing team, so purchasing a 27-year-old to eventually replace Drogba (33) and Nic Anelka (31) is a sage move. In theory, this should work. In theory, Torres should score plenty for Chelsea. In theory, Torres could be their number nine for years to come. We will see if this theory comes true.