A little under 32 hours remain until the transfer window finally opens once again in World Football and the merry go round of mad money begins once again. I’ve seen several people claim that due to the economic climate, it’s probably going to be a quiet window with little money changing hands, but don’t bet on it. Back at the beginning of the Premiership, the world had seen a similar economic downturn and yet over the course of the first four seasons, the British transfer record was increased from the £3. 2 million that Blackburn Rovers paid Southampton in July 1992 to prise a young lad named Alan Shearer to Ewood Park to the whopping £15 million Kevin Keegan paid to take the same player back to his North East roots from Rovers in July 1996. I’m not stating that the British transfer record will be broken again but I doubt it will be overly quieter than usual. During the same period, the average players price moved upward, (£4.5 million for Chris Armstrong anyone??) , with Blackburn especially throwing money about like confetti which enabled other teams to spend and that leads us to the key two words of the transfer window, Manchester City.
There is no doubt that City will be looking to spend, spend and spend to get the players they need in and I read earlier today that since September 1st, in the British press alone, they’ve been linked with 103 different players but I don’t expect anything more than 5 or 6 big money arrivals coming to Eastlands. The advantage they have is that with the exception of the Big Four, Villa and Spurs, most clubs will be happy to listen to offers for most of their players, despite what they may say in press. The boards of football clubs will always come out, as Everton’s have today regarding Joleon Lescott and Mikael Arteta, saying players are not for sale, but we all know that virtually every player at every club has a price. If City came in on Thursday and offered Everton £40 million for those two, do we think Everton wouldn’t sell them? A board making a statement of intent not to sell usually is simply wanting to up the price of the player and courting the press in this manner simply keeps the fans sweet whilst allowing them to then save face by saying they were offered silly money, the players now want to leave and it’s in the clubs best interests to accept it.
Ironically, it’s probably going to be Blackburn who find themselves involved with the first big money move of the window, with the open secret that Roque Santa Cruz seems to be moving down the M66 to arrive at Eastlands. Whilst Blackburn would definitely like to keep him, they’re not in a position to fight off a major bid from City. Allardyce will want some funds in and moving on a player who simply hasn’t delivered so far this season for a large sum will enable Big Sam to bring in a few new faces to mix it up and try and pull Rovers up the table.
Portsmouth are another club who, despite the crazy amount they’ve received for Diarra, still need to balance the books and know that Defoe, Crouch and Johnson are all coveted by other clubs, once again pushing up the sale price. Harry Redknapp will certainly be casting his eyes over his former charges and it wouldn’t surprise me to see a couple rejoin him at White Hart Lane with Spurs needing at least 4 or 5 new faces to strengthen the side whilst trying to move on players like Boateng, Rocha, Gilberto and Ghaly. Adams will hope he can hang on to as many of his first choice side but with only 2 wins in their last 13 league games, Pompey are sliding fast and maybe he needs to ship out two or three to enable him to get some fresh impetus into the team before they find themselves sucked into the bottom three.
West Ham are also under pressure to sell, with a £30 million pound compensation deal hanging over them, several players on high wages and an owner desperate to sell, they may be the one to suffer the most in January. Bellamy, Ashton, Neill, Green, Upson, Bowyer and Boa Morte have all been touted around the rumour mill recently and it could be a perilous month for the Hammers. I really feel for the fans at West Ham, they’ve been through the mill in the last two seasons and now have to hope that the transfer speculation surrounding the majority of the first team squad is simply that, the fans deserve better than they way the club has been run over the last couple of seasons.
So my ten players who I’ll be amazed don’t move in January are below:
- Roque Santa Cruz (Blackburn)
- Craig Bellamy (West Ham)
- Emile Heskey but depends how bad his hamstring injury is (Wigan)
- Jermaine Pennant (Liverpool)
- Matthew Upson (West Ham)
- Jermaine Defoe (Portsmouth)
- Gilberto (Tottenham)
- Peter Crouch (Portsmouth)
- Elano (Manchester City)
- Michael Owen (Newcastle)
So who do you think will be on the move and more importantly, who do you want your club to sign??