Transfer Window lock-down - a review
I'm not sure what I enjoyed most about transfer deadline day. Sky Sports News ridiculous coverage which greeted every piece of non-event news item with delirium, including Andy Burton checking his vibrating mobile phone for inside information 'live on air' whilst the other presenters did their very best not to spontaneously combust.
Or the various Tottenham message board 'ITK's who failed miserably to guess the days transfers, desperately attempted to predict what would unfold in the final hours left till the window closed.
Ironically, not a lot was actually happening in the real world. The last day of the transfer window always feels like an anti-climax if nothing overwhelmingly spectacular doesn't occur. Even though we've had the entirety of the summer months to sign a player, we all assume that a last minute deal is likely, when in fact the odds are stacked against it.
We knew Niko Kranjčar would happen and it did. Quite possibly the deal of this window and any window, as Levy somehow managed to get Portsmouth to fork out £1.5M + the Croatian midfielder for the signature of Kevin Prince Boateng. Amazing.
He'll cover Modric over on the left hand side and might stay there with Moddle playing centre when he returns. Gives us options. Gives us a little more depth. Still no true left-winger at the Lane, but we don't appear to need one. Niko may have gone stale at Pompey and has not got anywhere near the type of quality he can produce and produce consistently, but you just know Harry will get the best out of him. And much like we've seen many times before, a move can rejuvenate a player. It's a good solid signing, one without the overexuberant price tag and hype that we usually make the mistake of making.
Elsewhere, strong rumours linking Bentley with a move to City and Petrov with a move to Spurs. This morphed between transfers to loan deals as the day progressed, suggesting we would swap wingers until seasons end. Neither deal happened. Harry saying that David leaving wasn't going to happen. Petrov's agent saying that the player wanted to sign for Spurs and was in London but Mark Hughes pulled the plug.
As the clocked ticked and we got closer to 5pm, Sky Sports News presenters began to melt on screen like the scene from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.
"Don't look at it. Shut your eyes. Don't look at it, no matter what happens!"
And yet we couldn't look away. And in reply we were entertained as we listened to stories about how Alan Hutton and Anton Ferdinand were going to swap teams in a loan deal that would have left us with one first team right-back (having had 103 at the start of the season). Had we signed Ferdinand I would have spent the rest of the year doing porridge. He's absolute pony and I would have happily broken into Levy's home and explained this to him as he awoke in bed next to Mrs Levy.
David James to Spurs was tabloid fantasy. We did however inquire about Matthew Upson but it 'never really got close'. And that was it. The only missing piece from the jigsaw was a central midfielder. One that could either:
- Cover Wilson Palacios
- Compliment Wilson Palacios
- Play a little too
Not asking for much then.
It's been the one constant through-out the summer, our search for another robust enforcer. If Wilson picked up a Modricesque injury, who would slot into his position to aid us in his absence? Should have known nothing would happen on the final day. If nothing has happened all summer, then what chances of a deal being struck in the final 24 hours unless talks have been ongoing for a week or so?
At the start of the summer we bid for Gareth Barry but stood no chance of offering him the riches that City could. Not sure what the Vieira story was all about, as he's not even half the player he was 5 years ago. Slow, no bite and quite simply a shadow of his former self - he would have been an unmitigated disaster in Lilywhite. Not even his former club looked his way with a serious inclination to sign him (it was more a case of PR so that his Arsenal ties were not damaged with talk about joining Spurs). I still think Redknapp used this as some form of mis-direction, but if he did, nothing was forthcoming in the way of a CM signing.
Sissoko, we bid for. Apparently a while back. And found ourselves walking away slowly thanks to the price tag. Appiah was on trial for us months ago, and the ITK's (desperate towards the end of yesterday) suggested he was about to be signed ( the transfer deadline wouldn't even be relevant here anyway). Muntari was also a favourite of many but again this appeared to be nothing more than paper talk, much like Jenas to Inter was.
Sandro, the Internacional midfielder was heavily linked with a move to Spurs, until it was revealed that the real reason Levy was in Brazil was to complete a partnership deal with his club which will allow for their players to join us loan. The alleged £16M bid for him was probably nothing more than ye olde mis-direction. However, I wouldn't discount this completely, and he may yet sign for us (on loan or otherwise) in the next window. Just a hunch. And considering the deal we have with Internacional, it won't come as a surprise.
So with the window closed, we have a decent squad of players + 1. Would have preferred O'Hara to have remained with us, but if he plays for Pompey between now and Jan, then he'll come back a better player. We hope.
Disappointed that there is no brand spanking new CM? Was it realistic to expect a player of similar ilk to Palacios to sign, and if a player of such quality did he'd have to play alongside him rather than on the bench. Signing someone as cover when we have O'Hara (be it out on loan for the moment) was obviously not a priority.
Do we know enough about the likes of Sandro and Sissoko to expect them with any assured certainty to be able to play side-by-side Wilson? What would happen to Jenas and Huddlestone, the latter developing and improving with each game? A massive £15M midfield signing would actual cause a problem or two with squad harmony. Nice problem to have, but almost certain to bring the end of either JJ or Hudd come the new year.
I've not changed my tune on this. Still reckon we need another CM. But finding one for the right price and one that can spend time on the bench and still be good enough to play alongside Palacios…that's not as easy as I wish it could be.
If Levy does have something lined up with Internacional, then signing another midfielder now would not be an option even if we are crying out for one from the message boards. In fact, maybe Harry doesn't think we need one. No last minute activity yesterday would suggest so, as I can't find a single quote from him to suggest we were looking in desperation to plug this particular hole.
So that's that. Four months to go before the window re-opens. Who we sign then will depend on how well we are doing. If we are in a 5th spot within touching distance of 4th, then perhaps the money saved yesterday will be spent to lift us up tomorrow.
Fact is, we continue to sign players who improve the team balance/structure. No textbook superfluous signings. Times have officially changed at the Lane. And now the real work begins.
Hold onto your bagels.