Saturday, 31 August 2013

Things We Learnt From This Week's Transfer News

Ba and Cisse can apparently now play together
With Newcastle apparently trying to sign their old striker on loan Pardew must be pretty confident that he can solve a conundrum that he never quite got round to previously, namely how to fit Ba and Cisse in the same team.  Also they tended to score in spurts, Ba at the start of the season then Cisse at the end.  Prolific but only one at a time, nice enough to take turns.  Before Ba left for Chelsea seven months ago the feeling on Tyneside was that they were too similar to work well as a pair.  The Senegalese rarely play in the same team at international level for precisely that reason.  Also with Newcastle set up in a 4-4-2 with them at the top they can’t half come across as whatever the word for not fluid is.  And 4-3-3 with either of them wide negated their influence spectacularly.  Pardew has either a master plan up his sleeve like playing the one that’s in form with Remy or Joe Kinnear is getting that desperate to make signings that he’ll take anyone with a hint of quality.  In other words it might not be the right signing but at least it would be one.

Spurs are considering fining Gareth Bale
For not turning up to training two days in a row.  You’d think there wasn’t a lot to consider here, if he’s not turned up to training twice just fine him.  What’s he going to do, demand a move?  Spurs have erred on the side of supporting their (quite obviously now) want-away player all summer.  Surely now there’s only so many statements from behind the scenes and conveniently timed injuries they can take?  Just fine him.  No one can blame Bale for wanting to leave but if he’s breached the terms of his contract he should be punished without having to debate it.  If the rumours about his new wages are true he can afford it.

Chelsea’s attacking midfield equation doesn’t make sense
Oscar, Hazard, De Bruyne, Mata, Marin, Schurrle, Moses, Ramirez.  And that was before they signed Willian.  Given that they were obviously overstocked there in a squad arguably needing investment in other areas the rumours immediately started flowing about them signing him just to stop Spurs having him (that Mourinho keeps talking about Tottenham being a threat this season not only for the top four but the title would seem to add credence to this claim).  Now that they’ve signed him for £32 million they must surely be intending on using him.  Makes you wonder who will make room for him in the team.  Mourinho’s talked about his desire once the dust has settled to get his squad down to the apparently perfect number of twenty four professionals.  That must surely mean players going out on loan somewhere.  Hazard will be safe.  Jose has talked about De Bryne becoming an influential player already.  Moses must be on borrowed time.  And Mata, as incredible as it sounds for a player who contributed goals and assists last season might follow him out the door.  Remember when Jose promised to deliver more flair and less bland efficiency this time around?  Don’t believe a word of it.

Rooney’s deadline came and went
Anyone notice?  We finished with this now?  Good.  Now that it appears no one wants to be the bad guy we all should prepare ourselves for a season of hand wringing over how much playing time he’s getting.  Or given that Man Utd haven’t signed that creative midfielder they wanted a season of him flourishing in the hole behind Van Persie.  It doesn’t look like Moyles is going to give Kagawa a run there.

Directors of football help business get done early
Tottenham, Man City and Sunderland.  All three have been on a rebuilding exercise this summer and all three got their major spending out the way before August began.  At City Txiki Begiristain made signings in a manner suggesting the lessons of a previous summer procrastinating before signing inferior targets had been learned.  Tottenham are spending in two stages, early for their major targets and then again when it became obvious Bale was going and needed replaced.  Sunderland may have had a more scattergun approach but have still brought in eleven players.  All three have demonstrated how having a strong director of football can make signings a lot smoother.  At Arsenal and Man Utd they’re doing the opposite.  The traditional English system of leaving a manager in sole charge of identifying targets for a chief executive to then sign doesn’t half look old fashioned.  Around Europe with three days of the window to go it looks a lot less frantic.  The main action seems to be English clubs putting in last minute bids for players they could have gone in for months ago.  Mind you the director of football system isn’t perfect.  Cough, Joe Kinnear, cough.

Sunderland need a ball playing midfielder
With all the business Sunderland and Paulo Di Canio have managed to do it’s astonishing that they haven’t managed to address the most glaring absence in their squad, of a midfielder with enough quality to control midfield.  The high tempo game that Di Canio wants to play relies on keeping the ball well while being able to launch counterattacks early.  No one at the club currently fits the bill.  Larson has the range but struggles with tempo.  Cattermole is apparently far enough down the list to be just above Bardsley on the ‘don’t consider for selection’ (and hasn’t demonstrated that he could be that type of player successfully anyway, although when motivated he’s got more quality than he’s often given credit for).  Cabral is learning a new league and may flourish alongside someone more experienced.  It’s a shame a move for Tom Huddlestone broke down.  He could have fit the bill nicely.  Michael Bradley of Roma and Zravko Kuzmanovic from Inter are reported targets.  Without signing one of them a season of struggle could be ahead.

Crystal Palace can’t sign anyone
No one sums up the frustrations of the transfer window quite like Palace.  When your most exciting signing has been Marouane Chamakh you know you’ve got problems.  They were linked with arrogance’s Nicholas Bendter this week (Which goes to show how far his stock has fallen, has anyone moved from Juventus to Palace before?  Lombardo did.  Balls.  Apart from Lombardo then?) a move that would probably make sense for both club and player but would in all probability stop short of breathing new life into either.  Simply put it’s tough to attract good players when everyone assumes you’ll only have a year stop off in the Premier League.  As the days tick over it’s a feeling that gets harder and harder to shift.  Just goes to show how well Hull did to get Livermore and Huddlestone.  No wonder Holloway’s already going nuts.

That Sky Advert’s Awful

I can’t think of a possible version for an advert promoting transfer deadline day on Sky Sports News that I’d like but Jesus they’ve pulled out all the stops to make us irate with this one.  Hyping a day’s TV that even at its most thrilling features men doing nothing standing in front of empty training grounds while thirteen year olds flick the Vs behind them is always a recipe for disaster.  Doing it in a style that Liberace might describe as a bit much is just asking for trouble when the biggest news on the day could be Bendter not signing for Palace.  And if there’s another financial crash around the corner I don’t think anyone would be surprised if Jim White turned out to be responsible somehow.  The warning signs were always there.

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