Annual Craziest Day of The Year Returns


It’s that time of year again folks, when billionaire owners impulse buy out of panic, warning shots are sent around leagues and statements of intent are made. The January transfer window always offers pundits plenty to talk about and predictors a new set of regulations to work off. Are Liverpool going to finish higher or lower than previously expected? Are Chelsea going to reassert any dominance in any competition? Are Real Madrid going to scare Barcelona silly with Adebayor? Eh…

Fernando Torres, (now) Chelsea's Number 9

If you haven’t yet heard, Fernando Torres is now a Chelsea player. He moved officially in the last few minutes of the transfer window for a reported £50 million. I think this deal is great business all round, as Chelsea need a new face of high profile in their squad, and Liverpool made a huge profit from a player who hasn’t been near his best this season. Liverpool also signed Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll for themselves and in my opinion the combination of these two will prove a lot more effective than just ‘El Niño’.

Liverpool fans are now furious about the Spaniards desire for the switch. Although it’s understandable to be upset at losing your best player, the intensity of their bitterness is astounding. Shirts are being burned while his name is cursed, never will he be welcome back into the city of Liverpool again. Although the fact is, Chelsea are a more successful club in recent years and Torres wants in on the silverware. However, it is stupid what he’s done this winter. Claiming he wouldn’t play for another English club in his career and moving only a matter of weeks later. There would have been a wealth of Spanish, Italian or German clubs fighting for his signature if he expressed his interest.

Torres should add some stability to the consistently inconsistent Chelsea, as well as new defensive signing David Luiz from Benfica. I never discounted them from the title race but they did have a lot of work to do. These signings will certainly throw their name right back into the hat and I think everybody should beware that it’s game on.

I think we can all agree that money no longer means anything. In the footballing world that is. Because I’m sure that everybody not blinded by the trepidation of missing out on their signature targets would think that Andy Carroll isn’t worth £35 million, Torres isn’t worth £50 million and Darren Bent isn’t worth £24 million. But, football eh? Funny ol’ game.

Keane will get more game time at Upton Park

Ireland fans will be delighted to have heard that Robbie Keane has moved to West Ham on loan. I felt either the Hammers or the Cottagers would have been the best move for Keane as he wants to stay in London (and of course, isn’t good enough anymore for the likes of Spurs, Chelsea or Arsenal). Keane will get more playing time and hopefully start performing on the national stage again. Unlike his Ireland captain, Shay Given is staying where he is on Manchester City’s bench. No strong links have been made with him all January, despite him really really needing to move. He definitely has the quality to play in the upper echelons of the Premier League, and deserves to have a starting position at one of the clubs. Alas, it won’t be any time soon that he’ll get his chance.Forgotten man Andy Reid also secured a good move for himself for £1 million to Blackpool. The controversial Steven Ireland was also packing his bags and headed north to Newcastle on loan, while former Derry City player Connor Sammon signed for Wigan for £600,000.

Steven Pienaar got the move he’s been looking for for a long time, after switching to Tottenham, while Edin Dzecko was Manchester City’s big money transfer. Manchester United on the other hand only signed one player this January, a new goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard.

Arsenal have been very very quiet this transfer opportunity, signing nobody of note. Wenger believes his squad has what it takes to win their first (perhaps second, and/or dare I say third?) trophy since 2005. If they fall short, surely the Frenchman will have a lot to answer for on that decision.

Real Madrid‘s new Galactico is, brace yourself… Emmanuel Adebayor. The man with 8 games and 1 goal under his belt all season long is what Los Blancos have equipped themselves with in attempt to break The Catalan’s stranglehold on not only La Liga, but world football altogether. He should most definitely be given the chance to prove himself, so I shouldn’t judge him on his one cameo appearance so far, coming on from the bench in Madrid’s 1-0 loss to Osasuna. All I will so though, is he looked quite out of his depth already, but maybe he was just rusty. Either way, I’m not at all convinced by him as a decent signing.

Barcelona on the other hand bought Ibrahim Afellay, the Dutch midfielder/winger. If anything, Barcelona needed re-enforcements at the back, but that’s a big if. I can’t see beyond anybody but Barcelona hauling in the La Liga title and the Champions League.

AC Milan have spent peanuts this January transfer window, but in doing so managed to make some very good signings. Cassano, Emanuelson, van Bommel, Vilá and Legrottaglie have joined the club while only the bit part players Ronaldinho and Onyewu have left. Combined with Merkel and Strasser coming in through the youth ranks and breaking into the first team, it has been a very productive and active January for the Rossoneri. Allegri will have a wealth of talent to select from once the huge injured list decreases. Across the city, however, Pazzini and Ranocchia would probably be the most high profile arrivals, while Muntari (to Sunderland) would be the only significant departure. Inter are most definitely awake again, as new coach Leonardo has gotten them back into the swing of things. They’re again a threat, but I’m going to go out on a limb and a prayer here and say Milan to win the Scudetto. Please, prove me right.

Milan the "best move of Cassano's career" he feels

In other news, the amazing wonderkid marvel that is Paddy Madden has secured his switch to Britain, signing for Carlisle United this week. It is reported that a six figure sum was agreed on between Carlisle and Madden’s former club Bohemians. SIX figures, incredible. Especially for a player who went through two three-month spells without scoring in the 2010 season. The money is very welcome to the Dublin outfit who have been financially struggling of late. There are also rumors of Glen Crowe and Stuart Byrne signing for The Gypsies, but almost definitely on semi-pro contracts.

Former Bohemian Rafael Cretaro has officially resigned for hometown club Sligo Rovers, following Jason McGuinness who made the same switch. Dean Kelly, previously of Oldham Athletic has signed for Shamrock Rovers too, and so has Ciaran Kilduff, from UCD.

Failed transfer attempts include three from Spurs, who were unable to sign Everton captain Phil Neville as well as coming out of nowhere to bid for Charlie Adam, to also have it rejected, while £10 million wasn’t enough to convince West Ham to sell Scott Parker. AC Milan signing Urby Emanuelson was speculated to have joined Liverpool too, but opted for the Italian switch instead. Daniel Ayala was to move from Liverpool to Derby County, but failed his medical. Real Madrid have been linked to Fernando Llorente for a long time, and the Blancos owners must have been told to back off by Bilbao, before they opted for Togo striker Adebayor. Liverpool also reportedly tried to sign Ashley Young and Micah Richards, but both were turned down. Newcastle also tried to sign their former player Charles ‘Charlie’ (as he loves to be called) Nzogbia.

Football, funny ol’ game, eh? English clubs spent a record £209 million this January. Mesmerizing considering the state of the world’s economy today. Funny ol’ game indeed.

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