Posts tagged Transfers
Posts tagged Transfers
The first half of the Championship is well and truly over: the January transfer window is entering what Southampton boss Nigel Adkins calls the, “critical stage,” meaning the last two weeks, and a team that were 14/1 for the title at the beginning of the season are at the top, whilst the two favourites, relegated West Ham and Birmingham, sit in 2nd place and 7th place respectively. Meanwhile, free-spending Leicester, who paid a total of £13m during the summer transfer period on the likes of Jermaine Beckford, Matthew Mills and Kasper Schmeichel, amongst others, sit in 15th; closer to the relegation zone than the automatic spots they were expected to challenge for. However, with 20 games remaining for the majority of the Championship’s teams and 9 of them within 7 points of the play-offs, a bit of mid-season investment is an idea flirting provocatively with many Championship managers.
Southampton F.C had the best 2011 out of every team in the seventy-two of the football league: despite missing out on the n-Power League One title to fellow south coast side Brighton, The Saints came up in 2nd place and made a barnstorming start to their first season back in the Championship, following relegation and administration in the 2008/09 camp gain. Over their 50 league games in 2011, the club, which was saved by the late Swiss billionaire Markus Liebherr in 2009, achieved a points per game average of 2.16 with a win ratio of 66%.
Undoubtedly, their remarkable home form, which only failed to produce an entire calendar year of unbeaten league games at St. Mary’s Stadium at the last hurdle against Bristol City, aided their healthy return. Now, their enthusiastic but level-headed manager wishes to capitalise on a first half of the season that delivered, by his own accord, over the odds: “we wanted to be in the top ten come the turn of the year to give ourselves the chance to go on and win the race.” Sitting pretty, with their football, at the top of the league, but not safely – West Ham are level on points with them – Nigel Adkins has stated his intentions to strengthen during the window to ensure he gets, “this great football club back where it belongs.”
The south coast club, who strengthened astutely from the team that secured them promotion from League One, by signing Burnley’s Danny Fox, Chelsea’s Jack Cork, Belgian winger Steve de Ridder and Celtic’s Jos Hooiveld, have already moved quickly this January to make sure the necessary signings are made by the time the deadline door slams shut. Jos Hooiveld, initially on loan, joined the club permanently in December and since the January window opened, Saints have signed Japanese international Tadanari Lee and secured a loan deal for Tottenham’s Iago Falque, which sees Spurs’ new signing join on loan until the end of the season. However, Saints fans can expect more action this window: “Our endeavour is to bring another striker into the football club,” Radio Solent was told by the Southampton manager, and with interest clearly being shown in Celtic’s Gary Hooper, two bids have already been turned down, Southampton’s intentions to return to the Premier League in back-to-back promotions are clear.
If “endeavour” is the current buzz word at St. Mary’s, with the manager having used it multiple times in recent weeks: “our endeavour is to keep winning games of football,”; “our endeavour is to give ourselves that opportunity from where we stand now,”; “our endeavour is always to try and break the opposition down,”; “our endeavour is to get him back and up to speed as quickly as possible,”; “our endeavour is to ensure we give the young lads the opportunity to come through the system,”; and, “our endeavour will be to enhance the squad we have got,” then Sam Allardyce’s buzz word is “buy.”
Since coming down from the Premier League, not only have The Hammers been able to hold on to England internationals Robert Green and Carlton Cole, who have 18 England caps between them, but they’ve been able to bring in a whole host of Premier League players on free transfers, loans and buys. Among the odd ludicrous rumour (Carlos Tevez and Frank Lampard in the Championship, really?), West Ham have assembled an impressive side under the no-nonsense leadership of Sam Allardyce. Matty Taylor and David Bentley were brought in to bolster the wings, however the latter has since departed; Kevin Nolan, Henri Lansbury and Papa Bouba Diop were signed to add to the already impressive midfield engine of Mark Noble and Jack Collison; John Carew added the necessary height upfront for any Sam Allardyce side and Guy Demel and George McCartney further strengthened a defence that has the blossoming James Tomkins at the heart of it.
With a plateau in performances preventing West Ham from capitalising on Southampton’s below-par December, Sam Allardyce feels that their worst run is behind them and he’s assured he can keep pace with the league leaders: “I’m very confident because Matt Taylor and Guy Demel are close to getting back.” George John has already signed on loan for The Hammers and Allardyce has confirmed their January business isn’t over yet, “we’re still looking for at least one player in the transfer window,” said the former Bolton, Newcastle and Blackburn boss. However, one player they won’t be signing is Huddersfield’s Jordan Rhodes, “That’s something we have tried to do but it’s not a situation where it looks like Huddersfield want to lose their player - we have given up on that.”
Between now and midnight on January 31st, Nigel Adkins and Big Sam will have their clubs continuously linked with a stream of available, suitable and sometimes outrageous players. Allardyce has already had to rubbish rumours that he is interested in Kevin Davies, whilst Southampton continue to, “try and do [their] talking in quiet.” But with the two sides neck and neck with 20 games left and Cardiff and Middlesbrough not too far behind, will one take the gamble and spend big on a player between now and the deadline to ensure Premier league status next season?
Written by Jordan Florit for www.maycauseoffence.com/
For more articles visit my website or my Twitter @JordanFlorit
On the pitch, Carlos Tevez is a talent that epitomises all that is good among his generation of Argentines: he is determined, he is skilful and he is a match-winner. However, the only winning he has been doing of late involves rounds of golf in his homeland. It is well documented how Carlos Tevez went from Manchester City’s hero, who added even more credibility to his cult status by sharing the fans’ detest for United, to a player equally disliked across the country, irrelevant of club or creed. It seems that the only fans that would welcome Carlitos back are the Hammers’: that probably remains the case, only for his goal that saved them from relegation from the Premier League.
Whilst Roberto Mancini waves cards - I’ll refrain from calling it a red card as my ability to mind read exactly what colour the Italian was waving is null – Carlos Tevez’s agent/advisor/drain on resources attempts to further benefit from the Argentine’s footballing talent by securing him a move to another top European football club. Yet the temperamental striker may well have shot himself in the foot during his career to date to an extent which will hinder City’s ability to shift the want-away striker.
“Every time he opens his mouth, it’s a different reason for him wanting to leave Man. City. He is a disgrace to football. He epitomises what the man in the street thinks is wrong with modern footballers.” It’s not a resounding advertisement for the striker’s footballing ability nor his personality; however, it is the truth and Graeme Souness’ account of the Carlos Tevez saga is one that is as damning as other antics committed by Carlitos.
If there are comparisons to be made between David Bentley and Carlos Tevez, they lie in respect to their attitudes: citing a “60-game season” and wishing to avoid hitting a “brick wall” something Bentley has never done and couldn’t do – he doesn’t play enough – the former England international pulled out of representing Stuart Pearce’s England U-21s in the European Championships 2007 to avoid a mid-season burnout in the 2007/08 Premier League campaign. Similarly, 4 years earlier and aged 19, Carlitos refused to represent his country at the 2003 FIFA World Championships: in the same way Bentley didn’t want playing for his country to come at the cost of playing for his club the following season, Tevez didn’t want to participate in the Youth Championships at the cost of playing for Boca Juniors as they continued their league campaign.
With Tevez, no matter who he is playing for, his family and Boca Juniors come first: “I want to play for Boca again one day. Boca is different from everywhere else because of how I feel about the club.” As for his family, they are the defining factor in Tevez’s absence from Manchester City, “I live for my daughters; everything I do, I do for them. It is great being [in Argentina] but it is going to be even more difficult to go back now,” and speaking in July, it seemed his Manchester City future was already destined to end prematurely, “It’s great now, enjoying spending time with my family but it will be tough to go back. Being back [in Argentina] means I can cuddle my daughters. It’s a difficult situation when I’m not here.” As much as you can criticise that he is not honouring a signed contract that sees him earn £198,000 a week, Tevez is putting his family ahead of his career and any future employee will have to accept this. At this rate, Carlos Tevez will be realising his dream of one day returning to Boca Juniors, much sooner than he would’ve envisaged.
Yet, refusing to represent his country in the FIFA Youth Championships is not the only occasion concerning Tevez not wishing to participate for a team he is obliged to do so: if Manchester City fully assessed Carlos’ history, they would’ve seen that he has treated 90 minutes like a necessity to life and without it he cannot function at a club for much longer; however, the key player status that comes with playing 90 minutes week-in-week-out, brings with it a considerable amount of pressure and attention and that is something else that Tevez cannot handle, as well as playing the supporting role.
“The press are making my life unbearable, I can’t breathe; it’s impossible for me to play; I’ve got to go,” said a Boca Juniors Tevez, before his move to Corinthians that ended due to him not getting enough attention, despite making the Team of the Year and the Player of the Year Award to boot. From Corinthians he played for West Ham United, whilst under third party ownership, and having promised to keep The Hammers in the Premier League, one vow he has stuck to in life, he then left for Manchester United where 51 starts in 63 appearances was not enough to keep the fast-becoming journeyman in the Red half of Manchester United. His most recent history needs no explanation and like I stated in the introduction, the one club that reserves any love for Carlitos is West Ham: the one place he’s delivered on a promise.
For any club that signs Carlos Tevez, two things must be borne into mind: firstly, his family will forever hold the noose on any contract he signs and as his family grows this will only strengthen; secondly, since third party ownership is so sincerely frowned upon, any purchasing club must own Carlos Tevez wholly and to best benefit from this, a short term contract is likely to be the safest option for any club willing to invest in this human time bomb.
As a five-year contract – 30 months remaining – whittles down, Manchester City will become more eager to offload what is a fairly sought after, yet elastically valued, player: the question is, how will City sell this player without letting him go cheaply and who will buy him?
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.