Posts tagged January Transfer Window
Posts tagged January Transfer Window
I am well aware that money and football seem to be two entities that when together combust ferociously, exploding to magnitudes constantly higher than the one before it and capable of sparking even bigger and bigger with gentle encouragement from the other; however, every time I see an article linking Porto’s Hulk to another top European football team, I always run a double take on the figure he is quoted at costing for any potential suitor. He’s valued at £83.5m, a ludicrous amount for what is, when you strip down the image, the shirt sales and the potential fan base he brings, just a man in a kit who tribally kisses a badge his heart has no real allegiance to, whilst producing animalistic fist pumps in the sky.
In 1893, 119-years ago, a man from Leith in Scotland, aged 24, became the first player in Britain to cost a three-figure sum. Plying his trade as a striker for West Bromwich Albion, having enjoyed spells in his homeland with Hibernian and Celtic, Willie Groves was said to have been poached illegally by Aston Villa. The Villains were fined £25 by The F.A and were forced to pay £100 as the transfer fee for the Scotland international, who had made his professional debut at 16.
Fast forward 100 years, and the British transfer record had multiplied by 55,000: in 1991, and again in 1992 when Paul Gascoigne was bought by Lazio, a fee of £5.5m was paid and broke the previous record of £4.25m – a fee which took Spur’s Chris Waddle across the channel to Marseille. The £5.5m British transfer record was for the services of Aston Villa’s David Platt, now Manchester City’s first team coach, and saw him become the second Englishman to make a record breaking move from England to Italy.
That was in 1993 and back then £5.5m got you arguably England’s greatest player at the time: a 25-year old Paul Gascoigne. Nowadays, that same figure would get you half of a £10m Peter Crouch (potentially still taller than Gazza), the left leg of a £22m Jordan Henderson (potentially more capable of walking in a straight line than Gazza), or the whole of David N’Gog (potentially the lovechild of Gazza and Ali Dia).
Of course, it is all relative; however, it only takes one to look at the monumental fluctuations in price for similarly aged, talented and desired players to see that the correlations between time and price paid has its own peaks and troughs, affected similarly by its own externalities such as the economy, the ownership of the involved parties and the reputation of the player. In an article I wrote in August, I discussed how Wenger quite cleverly, yet almost certainly unknowingly, bought an XI for less than £50m and only had to sell three of them to make his money back and more.
?What went fairly unnoticed with The Invincibles, is how much investment it took to put together such a perfect eleven that struck a fine balance between creativity, fluidity and responsibility. In their 49-game unbeaten run, the most used XI was: Lehmann, Lauren, Campbell, Toure, Cole, Pires, Gilberto, Ljungberg, Vieira, Henry and Bergkamp. The Invincibles were the second only team to go an entire season unbeaten in the English top flight and it cost a mere £44.1m to bring them together. Yet, last January, the same amount of money wouldn’t have been able to buy you 5-goal Fernando and would’ve only allowed you to sign Jean Makoun with the change from Andy Carroll. From the Invincibles, the transfers out of Kolo Toure, Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry, returned £52.85m: £11.7m more than it cost to assemble the XI in the first place.
Undoubtedly, the image, the experience and the maturity that the team of Invincibles accumulated when they were at Arsenal, was reflected in the price that they then left them for. However, with this example, probably unique in its characteristics, it is hard to justify why managers would ever spend so much on instant success, when it only takes a few years of patience and some astute signings to build something beautiful.
But football is becoming a game void of patience, void of its virtues and void of its morals. The Beautiful Game, set up to give, “Success to football, irrespective of class or creed” reeks of a game that is more suited to the ethos, “Success to football, regardless of expense and means.” Moments like Thierry Henry’s goal and subsequent celebration, on his homecoming against Leeds, summed up what is The Beautiful Game. What isn’t as beautiful is the urgency that some fans display for success and the money made out of it.
Supposedly, Chelsea are pursuing 25-year-old hit man Hulk, as are PSG and Russian cash-splashers Anzhi Makhachkala. However, an £83.5m buy-out clause is likely to stall any negotiations. To me, that fee is truly outrageous, wholly unnecessary and frankly disgusting. Yet, the Brazilian’s agent insists that, “Hulk is not motivated by money, but by sporting ambition, love and affection.” I’m sure Hulk’s agent is equally motivated by Shetland Ponies, fields of Daisies and world peace.
Nevertheless, the £80m transfer of Ronaldo to Real Madrid, currently the World transfer record, proves that fees like these certainly aren’t beyond the realms of possibility and are almost certain to feature in newspaper headlines across the world in the future.
However, who will be the first £100m transfer? Would you pay that amount for Hulk? And, do any players in the world command such a fee?
Leave your views in the comments section below.
Written by Jordan Florit for www.maycauseoffence.com/
For more articles visit my website or my Twitter @JordanFlorit
Last night, in his post-match interview as seen on Match of the Day, Mick McCarthy confirmed that Emmanuel Frimpong was joining Wolverhampton Wanderers on loan until the end of the season, in a deal that the Wolves boss described as, “fantastic” adding that he was, “delighted because he’s a terrific young player.” For Emmanuel Frimpong it will provide the much-needed Premier League experience that has so far been limited to 3 starts, most recently in the 2-1 away victory over Aston Villa, and two sub appearances.
Sent off on his full home debut, in a 2-0 loss to Liverpool, Emmanuel Frimpong immediately grabbed the attention of the viewing public with a “spirited and tenacious” performance, as Arsene Wenger’s interviewer put it, with the Frenchman choosing to put his sending off for a wild challenge on Liverpool midfielder Lucas, down to “a lack of experience” and a “big heart.” His performance up until the sending off was “impressive” according to Phil McNulty, but his sending off marked a change in momentum, with Liverpool breaking down a resilient Arsenal midfield, now a man short, and scoring twice to record a 2-0 win at The Emirates.
However, the combative midfielder is only 19-years old and much like Alex Chamberlain and Francis Coquelin, Frimpong’s contemporaries, the Ghanaian England youth international was chucked in at the deep end, blooded in the harshest of ways against the best the Premier League has to offer. It did the youngster no harm, however, and since his red-blooded debut, he has gone on to start in two games that led to victory against Swansea and Aston Villa. An abundance of midfield players, a luxury that couldn’t have been further from the truth when the midfielder made his debut, has seen Arsene Wenger use 11 midfielders so far in the Premier League this season, and with Jack Wilshere and Abou Diaby close to returning, the Frenchman has chosen to send out Frimpong in a team where weekly “spirited and tenacious” performances will be needed.
Much like previous loans of Arsenal’s, such as Wilshere’s to Bolton and Alex Song’s to Charlton, The Professor has sent a central midfielder to a club that will be battling week-in-week-out for points, and it’ll be here where Frimpong’s style, “he is a fighter and he is a winner” (Arsene Wenger told Arsenal.com) will be honed and channeled into the performances regularly churned out by Arsenal’s current #1 holding midfielder, Alex Song.
Song is held in high regard by Arsenal fans and coaches at the club alike, “He is one of the players who surprised everybody. You wouldn’t expect what he delivers at the moment,” said Wenger, “He had periods when he had doubts in his mind, when people would say he was a bad buy or things like that. When you are a young boy that is difficult to take, but he’s got over that. He went through some difficult periods.” Arsenal fans are no longer criticising the purchase of Alex Song, who having broken through at the age of 21 making 48 appearances in Arsenal’s midfield, is now attracting interest from some of Europe’s finest with a £15m fee circulating around his bleach blond head.
Emmanuel Frimpong is hoping to emulate the successes of the Cameroonian international, “that’s what I want to be doing in a few years,” said Frimpong in 2009, before he endured a dogged 18-months of successive injuries culminating in a 9-month lay off due to a damaged anterior cruciate ligament, “ in the last couple of years Alex has showed everyone what he can do. He went on loan to Charlton and came back stronger. Everyone wondered if he would be a good player for Arsenal, whether he would establish himself in the first team, and I think he has proved that. He is playing really well at the moment.” Now, it is Frimpong that hopes to go out on loan and come back stronger.
Wolves fans can expect to reap the rewards that the last team to feature Frimpong regularly did: Arsenal’s u-18s during their 2009 FA Youth Cup run, which ended in triumph over Liverpool with a heavy 6-2 scoreline, in which Frimpong featured throughout the tournament but went off injured 20 minutes in during the first leg of the final. Steve Bould, who took the u-18’s on their march to FA Cup success, was “delighted” with Frimpong’s offering during the competition and the main focus was to harness the undoubted talent of the Ghanaian.
The midfielder, who is nine days younger than England international Jack Wilshere, regularly produced displays of superb shifts, acting as the engine in the team alongside Coquelin, who featured in the Arsenal team that beat Aston Villa on December 21st next to his midfield partner through the age ranks. The 19-year old can be expected to churn out tireless performances in the Orange shirt of Wolves, doused with “ferocious long-range efforts” and match-winning defensive displays, which Frimpong highlights as his main strength, “I enjoy making tackles more than anything because it helps the team to regain the ball and of course that is when [Arsenal] are dangerous,” and hopefully Steven Fletcher can be the danger that Van Persie is when Frimpong wins the ball, “Obviously when [a team] go behind it is always hard to come back but we know that we are always capable of doing so, [it] shows character.”
Now it is time for Frimpong to inject some much needed “character” into a Wolves team, that are without Jamie O’Hara and, yet again, have a relegation battle on their hands for the second half of the season. For Wolves, this may just be their most important signing in their quest for another season in the Premier League.
At a grand total of £0.00p, £35m less than 4-goal Andy Carroll, Craig Bellamy is already level with his team mate when it comes to the goals tally, but in 11 fewer games and furthermore, Carroll’s goal to minutes ratio, during this PL campaign, of 1:435 is dwarfed by Bellamy’s contribution of 1:127 - a goals to minutes ratio that isn’t bettered by any other Liverpool player, making Craig Bellamy, arguably, Liverpool’s most potent player this season.
With Suarez present, goals are almost guaranteed: having featured in every Premier League fixture for Liverpool so far this season, the Uruguayan had found the back of the net 5 times, made 3 direct assists and his tireless displays as part of the front line were pivotal in instigating attacks in the final third. However, Bellamy has the ability to provide the same in the absence of the suspended Luis Suarez and did so on Friday evening, with Carroll failing to, scoring a brace over his former employees. With one goal and one assist fewer than Luis Suarez, the Welshman’s directly measurable contribution in terms of goals and key passes is almost like for like. Their direct involvement in goals, during the same time period involving all games prior to the Suarez ban (through the scoring or final pass leading to the goal) are once every 182 minutes for Luis Suarez, therefore averaging direct involvement in a goal once every two games, and once every 127 minutes for Craig Bellamy - that was until Friday night.
Friday night saw Liverpool field 3 ex-Toon players and in their fairly fluid and flexible 4-4-2 formation, it was a pairing of two former Newcastle strikers that were burdened with the task of firing Liverpool to glory and up to 5th place. One lasted 90 minutes, but was criticised with the endorsement that he, “simply does not have it in him to deliver” and “lacks top class skills” from a comment on “If this man doesn’t deliver are Liverpool in trouble?” whilst the BBC’s football pundit, Dan Walker tweeted, “Andy Carroll will score 5 in a game soon.” Their were contrasting differences on Carroll, but Bellamy’s performance was unanimously described, “It’s not the first time we’ve praised him and it certainly won’t be the last,” said Dalglish, ”we are delighted for him.”
Craig Bellamy didn’t cost Liverpool a penny outside of his signing on fee and weekly wages, whilst Carroll’s signing overshadows Bellamy in all three figures, but not on the pitch and in the 8 remaining games without Luis Suarez, it won’t be Carroll to step up to the plate, it won’t be Dirk Kuyt and it won’t be a January signing: Craig Bellamy will be the pacey versatile forward that will successfully prove to be the stopgap replacement for the Uruguayan. His pace, his work rate and his goals are a sure measure of his talent, but Liverpool fans will be hoping that Bellamy isn’t following Suarez up the stairs and into the box to watch on from the stands with Suarez through injury or suspension.
Friday night, like most games for Bellamy, was characteristically eventful: as well as scoring, the player who once referenced a disagreement involving a golf club in a goal celebration during his last Liverpool stint, got an elbow to the eye in which four stitches had to be later placed and was seen to verbally abuse Newcastle’s goalkeeper Tim Krul. As the Welshman walked across the box, holding his head where it has been cut open with the force of an Argentine’s elbow, although Bellamy later insisted it was accidental, Tim Krul seems to have antogonised the Welshman with a comment, which sparked the reply of, “f….. you Dutch….nt”. Videos have already appeared on Youtube and @SkySports have received a considerable amount of tweets asking for the video to be passed to the F.A, just two months after Craig Bellamy was on the receiving end of racial abuse to the tune of getting cosy with sheep and a week after Bellamy announced his stance with Suarez on the topic of his ban.
Continual idiocy, double standards and the hypocrisy of footballers aside, on the pitch Bellamy offers what no one else at Liverpool is: goals, assists, pace upfront and a work ethic on par with the injured Lucas and the ironically Dutch Dirk Kuyt. Over January, Liverpool won’t make a more important signing than the one they did back in the summer for £0.00, whilst a new striker may well be needed, it won’t be at the expense of the Welshman and it would have to be a rather large coup to overshadow the diminutive forward.
Craig Bellamy was Liverpool’s most important signing and his weight in gold will be proved, if not already, in Suarez’s absence.