It’s been a while since I wrote an update, largely because there has only been a few new moves to bring you up to speed on. Largely deals have been getting bogged down with work permit issues, medicals and arguments over terms and fees. The action has started to pick up in the last few days so let’s have at it.
Let’s start with Marlon King, who was to have joined Fulham at least a week ago but his move fell through after he had “failed a medical” though the player denies that happened. King was quoted by the BBC as saying: “I think the two clubs were trying to renegotiate the fee, it had nothing to do with me, but when I picked up the papers I see I had failed a medical! I know my body is 110%. I didn’t fail a medical. I’ve been playing for a season and a half now and scoring goals – nothing has changed. As far as I’m concerned and Wigan are concerned, I didn’t fail a medical. I had a medical at Wigan and everything went smoothly, so I decided to make the switch.”
In any event, King is a good signing for Wigan who are lacking in the striker department and he should bring them a few goals as the look to climb up out of the relegation fight. Wigan have also signed former Tottenham left-back Erik Edman from French club Rennes and done a loan deal for defender Maynor Figueroa from Honduran club Deportivo Olimpia.
One player leaving the JJB is Denny Landzaat who was sold to Feyenoord for £1m. The transfer ends an 18-month stay in Wigan for the Holland international, for whom Wigan paid AZ Alkmaar £2.3m in July 2006. It’s a bit of a surprising move as Landzaat had made 54 appearances for the Latics, including 48 starts in the Premier League. He scored five goals, three of which came this season.
Tottenham are making some moves to bolster their defence though one could wonder how good the moves will be. Middlesbrough centre-back Jonathan Woodgate is in talks with Tottenham Hotspur over a move according the BBC website. The 28-year-old has been linked with Newcastle in recent days but Spurs are now believed to be closing in on his signature. Sky Sports News is also running a story that Tottenham want to sign Barcelona defender Carlos Puyol. Personally, I find that one a little more far-fetched than the Woodgate story.
Spurs are also chasing Rangers left-back Alan Hutton though it is suggested that it may be to arrange a pre-contract agreement for a summer move to White Hart Lane rather than an immediate move.
In the on-again, off-again department, Derby County’s attempts to sign Northern Ireland international keeper Roy Carroll from Rangers have hit a snag as Rangers have not yet released the 30-year-old from his contract. Rangers want to be sure they have another backup in place before allowing Carroll to leave.
Derby also ran into problems when they tried to sign Australian midfielder Mile Sterjovski. They were forced to attend a Home Office hearing to plead their case after the 28-year-old fell short of the criteria to gain an automatic permit. The permit was ultimately granted and Sterjovski, who can play either as a right winger or as a striker, has signed an 18-month deal with the Rams.
As has been written about on this site in more detail, Rolando Bianchi has joined Lazio on loan from Manchester City until the end of the season with a view to a permanent move. Georgios Samaras is also been rumoured to be moving to Birmingham so City are going to be woefully short of options up front but there has been talk of them bringing Bayern Munich striker Lukas Podolski in on a short-term loan deal. Podolski has fallen down the pecking order at Bayern but is still seen as having a long-term future with the club.
Bolton have signed Portsmouth midfielder Matt Taylor on a three-and-a-half year deal for an undisclosed fee. Taylor, who is 26 years old and can play either left-midfield or at left-back, only started four league games this season as he fell behind Nico Kranjcar as first choice on the left side of midfield. I think he’ll prove to be a good signing for Bolton as he can whip in some good crosses as well as score a goal or two himself. Taylor was Bolton’s third January arrival after the signings of midfielder Tamir Cohen from Maccabi Netanya and right-back Gretar Steinsson from AZ Alkmaar.
Birmingham’s persistance resulted in them landing two new players — striker James McFadden from Everton (for a reported £4.75m with another £1m based on add-ons) and left-back David Murphy whom they coaxed away from Scottish club Hibernian for a £1.5m fee. It took multiple bids to get both players but Alex McLeish was determined to get those players and now has them. McFadden performed heroically for Scotland when McLeish was in charge and he’ll need to repeat some of those heroics to get Birmingham out of the drop zone. They are currently only out of the bottom three on goal difference and do not have any room for error down the stretch.
Fulham have had most of the complicated transfers this January. First, the Marlon King deal went south for whatever reason, then their transfer of Daniel Cousin was put on hold as Fifa regulations do not allow a player to turn out for three clubs in a season and the striker featured for Lens before his summer move to Rangers. Cousin appeared once for Lens for just 20 minutes and Rangers hope Fifa will be sympathetic and allow the move to go through.
Finally, the Cottager’s move for Eddie Johnson was held up over work permit issues but those have been resolved and Johnson now becomes the fifth U.S. player on Fulham’s roster. As is its policy, MLS did not disclose the amout, but it is reported that the transfer fee for Johnson is the largest MLS has ever received for a player. There are rumours that the fee was between $4 and 6 million US. It will be interesting to see if Johnson can hit one of his hot streaks that carried Kansas City for large parts of last season. Fulham are sitting 19th and in desperate need of some hope.
That’s it for this edition. I’ll do a complete recap once the transfer window closes on the 31st.