Azonto Epistle 20: The winners and loosers of the Transfer Market
And as I peeped through the transfer window that just gone by, I nearly felt it wasnt really happening but September 2nd passed by and I realized everything was true. But even as I now sit in my state of “reality”, the thought that Gareth Bale is the most expensive player ever sold in football history to the tune of €100M, Ozil FC just bought Arsenal or sorry to say Arsenal and Arsene Wenger have bought Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid and not on a free transfer or on loan but actually for a hooping sum of €50M, still make me feel I may be in a state of coma. Not only that, but actually Tottenham Hotspurs went on a transfer gaga and nearly bought every player except Willian by spending £107M. If there was a transfer window you never thought Manchester United will be just chasing players in the media and end up with only Fellaini for £27.5M, then they say it just happened and not forgetting the funniest side where a team of “transfer experts” sensing the frustration that was going on among Red Devils in the market, voluntarily decided to give a helping hand to the David Moyes and Woodward by negotiating Ander Herrera deal with Bilbao and ended up collapsing it. Can you imagine? Hey, not forgetting the look warm activity of Chelsea, I’m still yet to get proper explanations for that last minute signing of Willian right from the medical room of Spurs and let me whisper it with slight shyness that Samuel Eto’o will be playing for Chelsea, yes the former player of Barcelona who made so much noise after we kicked them out of the Champions League on a 4-3 aggregate officiated by Anders Fresk but since it is a transfer market which was not short of surprises, this does not really make any news.
So who won or lost or won and lost at the same time?
Tottenham Hotspurs could do little stopping Real Madrid who were desperate to sign Gareth Bale. The approach and stance by Levy can only be commended. Levy has been able to maximize every penny from the sale of Bale and for a player like Bale who has had only one outstanding season to be sold for that amount speaks volume of how good a negotiator Levy is. Unless Real Madrid were not just raising a storm in a tea cup by just choosing to make that deal the new record which can highly be sustained as an argument. After that jackpot, Spurs have really strengthened their team with a host of new players, Lamela, Eriksen, Soldado, Chiriches, Paulinho, Chdli and Capuoe who are all good players. I sense it will take them sometime to be able to bond as a team. You will imagine they made this business out of the Bale account and with the intention of occupying a Top 4 spot. However, just as you thought their strengthening alone can make them stake a bold claim for the fourth spot, other contenders have strengthened and it includes Arsenal. The irony of the Bale transfer to Real Madrid is that, Spurs have been selling their quality players to Real Madrid and not an EPL title contender, with the notion that they won’t sell to strengthen a rival club, however, it just happened. If Daniel Levy had envisaged the consequence of selling Bale to Real Madrid was the selling of Ozil to Arsenal, they would have given it a second thought. If Ozil goes on to help clinch a top 4 spot for Arsenal at the expense of Spurs, it would have been a very huge white elephant money earned from Real Madrid. However, I hope it ends like that for them to learn some good lessons out of it, just as Mourinho said, it doesn’t bode well for the EPL if clubs choose to sell their quality players abroad in the name of rivalry; so I hope Spurs selling of Bale to Madrid and their partnership with them come back to hurt them real hard.
Arsenal signed, Ozil, Ozil, Ozil, Ozil and Ozil
The fans celebrated for once in a long time after the signing of Ozil as if it was a direct signing of a trophy but you can’t begrudge them. Arsene Wenger has rested on his laurels for far too long in the EPL and it is as if its a direct consequence of his inactivity in the transfer market. Mesut Ozil will give Arsenal a real top 4 boost, as whether it can directly make them a serious title contender Like Manchester City, United and Chelsea we are yet to know. It’s just like they are so not used to the idea of such signings and are so much ecstatic about it that, the fans have forgotten Ozil is only single player like Fabregas or Van Persie who cannot do it alone. I expected that Arsenal after attempting to sign Higuain and Suarez, will end up with a striker and a defender or after trying to sign Cabaye, will also sign a central midfielder but well, it’s all about Ozil the Goalkeeper, Ozil the Central Midfielder, Ozil the striker and Ozil the magician. So Arsenal is all about Ozil but I hope they nick the Top 4 spot ahead of Spurs with Ozil.
Manchester City had an early activity, closed it early and have suffered defeat early. But hey, that can hardly be used as a weakness. With all the signings and transfer activities made by City, I can only heave a great sigh of relief with the exit of Carlos the Tormentor of Cech Tevez. I can also hardly see Jovetic or Negerdo even above Balotelli, however it’s good for their dressing room peace although the real problem in that dressing room was not any player but Mancini who just failed to manage the egos of his players vis-a-vis his own ego. People have sung the name of Navas as a potential game changer for City but I doubt he can ever adapt to the rigors of the EPL as I’ve seen him mostly carved lonely on the wings of City whiles the real action takes place in the middle, no wonder anytime Nasri comes into the game his impact in the game within a short while is greater than Navas who has been starting. So yes, City have strengthened their team but they have also let slip of Tevez the hard worker and Balotelli. Lets not also forget that Kompany is the real deal for them at the back and when he is away, they dearly miss him and if Martin Demichelis can plug the hole or Nastasic to improve, it won’t be bad although I sense a loophole at the back, including their Goalkeeper.
Manchester United Began with a Fabregas and ended with a Fellaini
If you want to assess the effect of Manchester United without Alex Feguson, it started from the transfer window. They made noise in the market as wanting to sign Fabregas and confirmed every single bid they made for the player, how desperate? They missed out on him, including, Alcantara, Ander Herrera, Baines, Coentrao, and as confirmed by InterMilan recently, Freddy Guarin. It’s great business for them being able to keep Rooney away from joining Chelsea although if they really wanted to keep him all along, it wouldn’t have been any news. Rooney was not angling for a move because he didn’t want to stay at Manchester United but the utterances of Moyes and Ferguson’s last day treatment of the player created all these much ado about nothing stuff. So, you could see that United spent much time trying to convince themselves that Rooney will not join Chelsea and their public display of transfer targets was just the evidence that they wanted to shift attention from the Rooney mess they created and show to the fans they are concentrating on strengthening the team and not losing their good players. You can just imagine it showed clearly in the way they handled Chelsea’s first bid for Rooney, that we added Mata and Luiz to it just to square it up. Although I knew that if there was a player David Moyes could buy without a challenge from any other team, it would be Fellaini, I never imagined they will buy him for £27.5M. So yes, United have managed to keep Wayne Rooney but you can hardly give them a “D” when grading them in the market in terms of what they need, what they were after and what they apparently got.
Chelsea on the quiet
Jose Mourinho showed real belief in the current Chelsea squad by keeping the core of the team and not going on a transfer shopping spree. Mata will leave, David Luiz is joining Barcelona and all the negative buzz have been put to rest. On the other hand, the signing of Schwarzer on a free as a backup keeper a decent deal. We won’t see Turnbull giving easy balls to Liverpool for them to score 4 against us and its something I’m happy about. Samuel Eto’o has been described by Emenalo as an experience signing though I thought Torres and Demba Ba had such experience in the EPL but certainly what Eto’o brings to the table is huge especially in Europe. The signing of Willian did not only frustrate Spurs but also a real addition of quality in our attacking third. For a team which plays 3 attacking midfielders, it’s is only proper that we have about 6 top players in that position. Van Ginkel will surely get playing time and will show his quality however, the signing that will make the biggest impact in terms of the amount involved £17M and the quality he brings on board will be that of Andre Schurrle. The versatile forward is becoming a real deal for Jose and his work rate is commendable. He does the simple things perfectly and does the important things with efficiency just as a typical German. I believe with his versatility, he will bring tactical fluidity and dynamism in the team and I look forward to watching him more.
So thank God, the window has been shut and I could peep no more to see more shocking and crazy stuff, however the real winners and losers of the transfer window will be known after the 38th game has been played.