Looking Forward, Looking Back

Soccer does some things very right. Transfer windows are one of them. Apart from the fact deadline day is after the season has commenced, another matter altogether, there is a lot to love about the way soccer handles transfers. The drama, innuendo and sightings that are associated with deadline day make it one of the most entertaining days of the season. Inevitably fans are left with excitement and anticipation for the season ahead or on the flipside feeling sick in the stomach at the thought of their heroes of a mere 12 hours ago running out in a different kit next week. A View from the Top goes through the ins and outs of the top 6 Premiership teams and Liverpool offering thoughts on how each side has done.

Manchester City -£35,112,000

Arrivals

Richard Wright - Free

Jack Rodwell - £13,200,00

Maicon - £6,864,000

Scott Sinclair - £5,280,000

Javi Garcia - £17,776,000

Nastastic - £13,376,000

 

Departures

Nigel De Jong - £3,080,000

Adebayor - £5,632,000

Adam Johnson - £11,088,000

Stefan Savic - Free

Roberto Mancini went into the transfer window with almost the right plan. He just didn’t execute it properly. The Citizens have spent large over the last few years and have a squad that only a certain type of player can improve. World class players. In Daniel De Rossi and Javi Martinez, Mancini had identified the right players. The areas of weakness in the City squad are quality depth at centre back and defensive midfield. Compared to the top squads in England City are very thin for quality options in these positions, fully fit Manchester United have Vidic, Ferdinand, Jones, Smalling and Evans who can play in the centre of defense of comparable quality City have Kompany, Lescott and Kolo Toure with the Premier League proving to big a jump in quality for Stefan Savic.

In the 2 of City’s 4-2-3-1 City’s options include Nigel De Jong who had refused a contract renewal in trying to hold the club ransom with 12 months left on his deal, the uninspiring Gareth Barry, dependable James Milner and truly world class Yaya Toure. De Rossi and Martinez provided a truly world class partner for Yaya while providing cover at centre back should Kompany or Lescott go down injured. Neither could be signed and rather than bide their time City splashed out on Javi Garcia who I am unsure provides enough of a boost in quality on City’s options last year to justify the outlay. Maicon is a completely unnecessary purchase considering Micah Richards and Pablo Zabaleta are on the books, could Micah be moving into the centre of defense ala Sergio Ramos? Maicon has been on a slow decline for the past few years and signing an ageing player renowned for his speed is never a good thing. Gareth Bale for one will be excited by this signing. While Garcia was bought, the signing of Jack Rodwell screams De Rossi/Martinez Lite.

Rodwell is young and while he has frustrated at times for Everton his ability to play in those weaker areas for City, defensive midfield and centre back alongside being British is tremendous upshot for City. I consider Rodwell an astute signing. Richard Wright is a non-issue signed as third keeper who satisfies the homegrown player rule, collecting his pay cheque will be his biggest effort at City. Sinclair is not ready for a move to City and will make very little impact this season, not good enough and as a direct replacement for Adam Johnson will mirror his experience. Limited to cameos. Will retain on sell value though so not a complete waste of a signing but unnecessary nonetheless.

Nastastic will get opportunities but perhaps City should look at the fee they paid for Kompany and scout a little harder. Fiorentina got a good price, unless of course the ‘New Vidic’ comparisons ring true. In which case a steal! City were able to offload Adebayor and made a profit on Adam Johnson, while De Jong holding out for more money didn’t work. Overall not as lavish as we have come to expect from City but still requiring a more controlled approach. Like a FIFA Career Manager with excess cash deadline day got the better of City and they were pressured into purchases I have a feeling they might regret down the track. Will be disappointed to have missed out on Hazard, RVP, De Rossi and Martinez but probably should only have ever been after the last two.

 

Manchester United - £47,163,000

Arrivals

Kagawa - £14, 080,000

Powell - £6,600,000

Robin Van Persie - £27,016,000

Alex Buttner - £4,400,000

Hernandez - £4,840,000

 

Departures

Ji-Sung Park - £2,728,000

Dimitar Berbatov - £4,400,000

 

Powell, Buttner and Hernandez are solid squad purchases from Manchester United. Shinji Kagawa always looked the buy of the window before a ball was kicked and I fail to see how he was allowed to leave BVB for so little. Premier League clubs clamouring for Asian exposure were presented with the Golden Goose in Kagawa. Unlike Ji-Sung Park Kagawa is a truly glamorous footballer of the highest order. Silky on the ball Kagawa has served up assist after assist over the last two seasons and led BVB to back to back League titles and sustained dominance over Bayern Munich. He can play. And he will sell a billion jerseys in Asia. A real no brainer and great deal for United. Has already made an impact on the pitch this season and seems to be handling the Premier League’s physical nature for now.

Robin Van Persie. 27 years old. 12 months left on his contract. £27 million. An injury record that reads like Shane Warne’s phone bill. I can’t help but feel this is a disastrous bit of business for Manchester United. Don’t get me wrong he is one hell of a footballer; his performance in Arsenals 5-3 victory at Stamford Bridge will haunt me for a while yet. But - 27 years old with an injury record! Last season was the first time in memory that RVP had put together an injury free season, in 2010-11 he missed four months of Arsenal’s campaign. There’s also his disastrous EURO2012 campaign which one would hope has driven his price down and the fact United need midfielders not strikers. How will RVP influence a game when United can’t get a hold of the ball in games like the 6-1 drubbing last season or if they come up against Barcelona in the Champions League. Will probably go on to score 30 goals now but all biases aside if I were SAF I would’ve been looking at spending that money elsewhere. Huge bonus is getting one over City in the transfer market though.

 

Arsenal + £13,024,000

Arrivals

Giroud - £10,560,000

Lukas Podolski - £10,560,000

Santi Cazorla - £16,720,000

 

Departures

Alex Song - £16,720,000

Robin Van Persie - £27,016,000

 

Lost ANOTHER two world class players this window. Although they extracted a huge fee for RVP they sold him to a direct rival. Alex Song is a huge loss as 2011-12 had appeared to be his breakthrough year. Abou Diaby and Jack Wilshere are capable of forming one of the Premierships highest quality midfield partnerships but they need to get on the pitch. I’m not sure if Arsenal are cursed or their staff are inadequate but they seem to suffer a lot of injuries. Good fees were extracted for both players but most Arsenal fans would give the cash back to keep them in the kit. Olivier Giroud may not have shown it yet but I believe Arsenal have got a truly world class player for an absolute steal.

In the games I have seen him play for the French national team he has looked a cut above, the problem is Arsenal need goals yesterday and Giroud will take time to build partnerships and settle into the Premiership. Podolski comes to the club with a distinguished international career but chequered club past. An outright failure at Munich a career revival at hometown club Koln sees him get another chance on the big stage. At £10 million I don’t think you can go wrong and should bang in 12-14 goals in his debut year. While Giroud is probably 12-18 months from being the player need at the Emirates Santi Cazorla is 12 months too late. The players Arsenal tried to sign to replace countrymen Cesc Fabregas ended his frustration at Malaga to link up with the Gunners. Typical Spanish skill and guile he has already shown, Cazorla is a top class addition to the Premier League.  Essentially Wegner is hoping that Cazorla-Podolski-Giroud replace the goals lost in the RVP sale and AVFTT believes it is a gamble worth taking as there is very little quality available in the top shelf striker stakes in the current market. A player such as Damiao or Llorente would probably have taken he RVP cash and neither are anywhere near the player the Dutchman is.

 

Tottenham + £1,742,000

Arrivals

Siggurdsson - £8,800,000

Jan Vertonghen - £11,000,000

Adebayor - £5,632,000

Moussa Dembele - £16,720,000

Hugo Lloris - £8,800,000

Clint Dempsey - £8,600,000

 

Departures

Corluka - £6,160,000

Niko Kranjcar - £6,160,000

Steven Pienaar - £5,060,000

Luka Modric - £26,400,000

Sebastian Bassong - £2,640,000

Rafael Van De Vaart - £11,440,000

 

 

Sacking Harry Redknapp still puzzles AVFTT while the signing of AVB after his abject failure at Stamford Bridge failed to excite the footballing public outside the true White Hart Lane die hards. Luka Modric was always going to leave and while Daniel Levy probably regrets resisting Chelsea’s advances 12 months ago the feeling is not mutual. Chelsea were pushed and offered Tottenham far beyond Modric’s worth and eventually Tottenham had to settle for what Madrid was willing to pay.

An injury interrupted 2011-12 saw Rafa Van De Vaart out the door making a tidy profit on the Dutchman. Bit part players Steven Pienaar, Niko Kranjcar and Sebastian Bassong were shown the exit door along with Corluka. Tottenham continue to be hard bargainers when offloading talent and have again regained suitable fees for all the players leaving, around £50 million in total. Adebayor on a permanent deal is good for both club and player while Clint Dempsey could prove to be a really handy addition for the club. Dembele attracted the biggest fee and will be seen as Modric’s replacement in light of the failure to capture Joao Moutinho. Vertonghen and Siggurdsson are quality players in their own right and will add something to Spurs at either end of the pitch. The signing of the lot is Hugo Lloris though. One of the strongest keepers in the world I expect it won’t take long for Brad Friedel to be usurped between the sticks by the French captain. At only 25 makes some of the fees paid for goalkeepers in recent years look pretty stupid. Spurs will be a completely new side in 2012-13 and it remains to be seen if AVB is able to integrate the new players into a system that never looked like working at Stamford Bridge.

 

Newcastle -£3,489,200

Arrivals

Anita - £7,480,000

 

Departures

Leon Best - £3,344,000

 

Quite simply a transfer window in which they hold onto their big name stars is a success for Newcastle. Probably good they missed out on Andy Carroll as he would have been third choice anyway. As always the concern for Newcastle is a lack of squad depth and they could do without any more injury concerns for Check Tiote and Demba Ba. Foray into the Europa League may negatively impact their ability to match last season’s Premiership finish.

 

Chelsea - £90,948,000

Arrivals

Marko Marin - £7,840,00

Oscar - £28,160,000

Thorgan Hazard - £880,000

Eden Hazard - £35,220,000

Azpilicueta - £7,744,000

Victor Moses - £10,120,000

Departures

Didier Drogba - Free

Saloman Kalou - Free

Michael Essien - Loan

 

Absolutely ludicrous spending from the European Champions. A View From the Top will not get tired of writing that by the way. Champions League winners if you like, Chelsea would need to hope they have conducted their significant transfer dealing for the next few years to justify the money spent. Oscar and Eden Hazard are worth the outlay no question. But with a £50 million striker and £30 million centre back already in the squad Chelsea need to focus their future efforts on controlled spending. In Coutois they have a long term successor to Cech while Cahill and Luiz will be the first choice center back pairing inside 18 months. Bertrand is Ashley Cole’s natural successor for club and country and Azpilicueta is the long term right back. Quality could be added to the 2 of Chelsea’s 4-2-3-1 but as City have found quality in this area is scarce at the moment. In Ramires and Josh Mceachran the European Champions have two long term prospects in this position.

Chelsea have gone from having Juan Mata capable of playing as a 10 to a plethora of options enabling them to play two no. 10s as part of their front 4. Marko Marin, Oscar, Hazard, Moses and Daniel Sturridge can all play effectively off the shoulder of Fernando Torres and eventually Lukaku. Didier Drogba is perhaps a missed penalty for the Ivory Coast away from making a serious run at the Ballon D’Or last season with his domination of Chelsea’s European Cup run simply breathtaking. Winning the Africa Cup of Nations off his own boot alongside that achievement would definitely have brang him to the forefront of judge’s minds. Nonetheless the Ivorian has been on the wane for a number of seasons now and his departure has triggered the need for the mini revolution as such for the Blues. Trimming the fat from the squad could have seen a better result financially for Chelsea however in the midst of Financial Fair Play Chelsea will probably only get away with such out of control spending this once, with the windfall from the Champions League victory helping to try and balance the books. Falcao is a fantastic player but Chelsea have gone for Torres and need to see that investment through without splurging another £50 million on a striker. Get taken for a ride by clubs too often and need to learn to pay what players are worth not whatever it will take. High hopes for Brazilian teen Lucas Piazon this season. The kid was a gem on FIFA 12 hopefully that’s how it plays this season.

 

Liverpool - £28,292,000

Arrivals

Fabio Borini - £11,704,000

Joe Allen - £16,720,000

Assaidi - £3,520,000

Nuri Sahin - £4,440,000 Loan

 

 

Departures

Maxi Rodrigues - Free

Dirk Kuyt - £880,000

Alberto Aquilani - £1,760,000

Charlie Adam - £5,456,000

Andy Carroll - £1,100,000 Loan

Craig Bellamy - Free

Hardly relevant in the top echelons of English football these days is Liverpool FC. AVFTT wrote earlier this year how Kenny Dalglish had condemned Liverpool to years of mediocrity through his woeful transfer dealings. Liverpool fans mounted passionate defences but where are we now. For Liverpool we’re in a place in which £6 million couldn’t be raised to purchase Clint Dempsey. You can thank your King and his merry men including Downing, Carroll, Henderson and the like for that mess. For a side that finished eighth last season you feel that they will do well to achieve that this year. They have lost 33 goals and acquired Fabio Borini and Joe Allen. Not players capable of leading a charge up the table. Nuri Sahin is pure quality but it demonstrates how far the once mighty have fallen in that they were falling over themselves to sign a loanee.

And they paid £4 million for the season long loan apparently, but £6 million couldn’t be found for a player that hit 17 league goals last campaign. While fans will be quick to argue the breakdown in negotiations between Liverpool and Fulham this could have been avoided by simply meeting the modest evaluation. FSG are apparently not interested in signing 27 year olds with minimal sell on value though. They are however interested in paying huge loan fees and trying to sign a 37 year old on his way to the A-League. Allen is definitely a prospect but so was Jordan Henderson, again Liverpool have paid too much for British talent although at every manager should be allowed to bring along at least one disciple with him. Borini is merely a poor man’s Luis Suarez another second striker for a squad without a striker, bizarre! Liverpool are a side that never ceases to amuse me and I could write on and on about their deficiencies but it is enough to say simply they’re not good enough. They won’t be good enough to break into the top four this year or most likely at any stage in the next three years and that is a reality fans need to face. In Brendan Rodgers they have a capable tactician with a clear and well developed philosophy on the way football should be played. Allow him the patience to build something at the club because although there were funds for a quick fix they were plundered on mediocre talent by your last manager.

Agree. Disagree. It doesn’t matter A View from the Top is always right. 

 

Note: Transfer figures taken from hereTake your issues concerning fees up with them. It’s the same site for all clubs so about as fair as it can get.