All Hail The Transfer Kings: Sunderland, Birmingham, Stoke City and Wigan

June 26, 2010 - Rustenburg, South Africa - epa02224853 Ghana's Asamoah Gyan (L) celebrates after scoring the 2-1 lead in front of USA's Jay DeMerit (C) and goalkeeper Tim Howard during the FIFA World Cup 2010 Round of 16 match between USA and Ghana at Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa, 26 June 2010.

The summer transfer window in the Premier League has ended, and surprisingly The Other 16 clubs in the Premier League showed their muscle Tuesday by capturing most of the transfer headlines. Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal were deathly quiet. Instead, it was the turn of clubs such as Sunderland, Stoke City, Birmingham City and Wigan Athletic who got most of the attention. And of course there was Tottenham Hotspur who predictably joined in in the action by possibly securing a last minute signing of Rafael van der Vaart, the Dutch attacking midfielder.

It’s encouraging to see Premier League clubs outside the Big Four being able to capture key signings. For starters, it’ll hopefully narrow the gap in talent between the Big Four and the also rans. But it also shows that it doesn’t always have to be the big clubs in the Premier League who can bring in the big names. Of course, money talks. But still, there are factors outside of money that often make a difference, so it’s wonderful news to see some talented players from around the world move to English cities that aren’t considered destination spots (Stoke-On-Trent, Sunderland, Birmingham, Wigan and others).

Out of all of the signings made on the final day of the transfer window, the one I’m most excited about is Asamoah Gyan, who for me was the iconic image that I’ll always associate with the 2010 World Cup. This was the man who lit up the World Cup for Ghana. He will be remembered for three key moments. The first was his thunderous shot in extra time against the United States that earned Ghana a spot in the quarter-final against Uruguay. Then in that match against Uruguay, he stepped up to take a last minute penalty after Luis Suarez handled the ball on the line. He struck it well but it hit the crossbar and bounced away, which then forced the game to go to penalty kicks. And last, but not least, he was the man who picked up the ball a few minutes later and – despite all of the doubts that must have been running through his head – took his penalty for Ghana and amazingly scored. As it turned out, Ghana ended up losing on penalties. But the memory of Gyan’s contribution during the World Cup will never be forgotten.

And now he has signed for Sunderland. This is one player I’m really looking forward to seeing how he adapts to the Premier League. Talk about an unpredictable and emotional man. I can’t wait.

Other than Gyan, here are some of the other key signings that were tied up on the last day of the transfer window:

Stoke City:

  • Eidur Gudjohnsen (Monaco),
  • Jermaine Pennant (Real Zaragoza),
  • Marc Wilson (Portsmouth),
  • Salif Diao.

Birmingham City:

  • Jean Beausejour (Club America),
  • Alexander Hleb (Barcelona),
  • Martin Jiranek (Spartak Moscow),

Wigan Athletic:

  • Franco Di Santo (Chelsea),
  • Tom Cleverley (Manchester United),

In the case of all three clubs listed above, these players will bring much needed quality to each side. This should make each of the above sides more competitive.

Of course, there were plenty of other transfers in the past week including Liverpool bringing in Konchesky and Meireles. But rather than dwell on the clubs at the top of the table, it’s time to give the other clubs the praise for signing several very exciting players.


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