Summer 2011; Best bits of businessPosted: September 2, 2011
The transfer window has come to a close, finally. Some will be revelling in their team’s purchases, some will want their manager/board sacked for letting their most prized assets leave for pittance, in their opinion. Others will probably still have Jim White’s voice ringing in their ears.
Here we’re going to take a look at what was the best pieces of business made in the transfer market of summer 2011.
Juan Mata to Chelsea. The exciting, young Spanish winger moved to The Bridge from the Mestalla, and will interestingly return there with his new club in the Champions League group stages. Mata will add pace and pin-perfect passing to Chelsea’s play, while also being a new face to their lineup, which they also needed.
Chelsea will want their 50 million pound rough diamond Torres to shine this season. The Blues are planning for the 11/12 season with the Spaniard as the focal point of their attack. Introducing Mata to the Chelsea team will help Torres a lot with his already difficult start to his Chelsea career. The pair know each other well from the world cup winning Spanish first team, and their experience together will no doubt prove valuable while playing for the London club.
Inter Milan have done great business where their strike force is concerned. Firstly, they let Samuel Eto’o go. Now, Eto’o is a player that I rate very highly, three champions league medals as well as four leagues and a rake of other awards proves he’s got quality. But at 30 years of age, I think Inter did very well out of the reported €25 million transfer fee to Anzhi Makhachkala. (As well as that, Eto’o himself did well out of the transfer, with a €20 million salary…)
Inter were then left with a gap in their attacking lineup. Ricky Álvarez had already signed from Argentine champions Vélez Sérsfield, but isn’t that similar a type of player as the departing Cameroonian. Instead, the Italians picked up World Cup 2010 Golden Ball winner Diego Forlán. The Uruguayan signed for Inter for a fee of merely €5 million. Although two years Eto’o’s senior, Forlán is still a more than useful player to have in your team. The 2010 Golden Ball and 2011 Copa América shows us that he’s still able to win things into his 30s. The €25M for Eto’o and €5M for Forlán deals have been some of the best pieces of business this summer.
Premier League newcomers Queens Park Rangers have done quite well in the transfer market this year. They firstly managed to complete arguably the signing of the season – Joey Barton on a free transfer. The former Newcastle midfielder went out of favour with the management at the northern English club and was allowed to leave for nothing at all. Barton is a more than adequate player to have in your squad, and will be excellent for newly promoted QPR. Barton also has eight years of premier league experience behind him, which will also prove valuable in his new team.
As well as snapping Barton up, Rangers also managed to capture Shaun Wright-Phillips’ signature. The former Manchester City and Chelsea winger always managed to stay involved there or thereabouts in the first team of Man City when the billionaire owners took over and injected so much money into the team, introducing the likes of Robinho to the blue half of Manchester. Wright-Phillips and Barton are both fantastic signings from QPR, two of the best pieces of business done in the summer which will greatly improve the quality of their squad.
Pat Fenlon also deserves credit this transfer window. The Bohemians manager has signed midfielder Stephen Hurley and striker Aidan Downes this summer. The signing of Aidan Downes has proved particularly good as goals have been the main (on-field) worry for The Gypsies this season, with both Christy Fagan and Anto Flood suffering injuries at one point or another during the campaign. Downes has impressed in the red and black since arriving at the club, with notable performances against Sligo Rovers Longford Town.
What is most impressive about the signings of Downes and Hurley is that they have both joined the club on amateur contracts. No fees have been paid for them; Hurley was with Arklow Town before Bohs, while Downes was a free agent. Neither player receive a salary from the club either, but you wouldn’t be able to guess that judging by their quality and honesty of effort each time they’re selected in the first XI or even off the bench.
Everton didn’t look like they were going to sign anybody at all during the transfer window. All summer long The Toffees were linked with nobody, as their lack of finances dictated how the summer would go on the Blue half of Merseyside. But with deals for Arteta, Yakubu and Beckford to all leave, some money was made available to bring Royston Drenthe and Denis Stracqualursi in. Stracqualursi is said to be the closest thing to Duncan Ferguson, according to Daniel Colasimone. The young, powerful, typical number 9 was the top scorer in the 2010/11 Apertura/Clausura combined, scoring 21 goals for Tigre, helping them to two 11th place finishes in the double competition season.
It’s only a loan move that Stracqualursi has been signed on, so no fees have been arranged. It’s possible that Everton will choose to buy him when the loan deal expires, should they deem his stay up to then successful enough. So for no money, Everton have acquired not only a great goalscorer, but also one of the hardest working players in football. Daniel Colasimone writes in his article (link above) that not very long ago at all the player was a bench warmer at one of the Argentine Primera División’s lower teams, and was jokingly told to go find work in a factory where he wouldn’t be laughed at due to his weight issues. Since, Stracqualursi worked relentlessly to get in shape and become the player he is now.
Real Madrid’s first signing of the summer was probably their best, and one of the best in Europe too. Former Dortmund midfield orchestrator Nuri Sahin signed for the Spanish giants for a price of only €10 million. The Turkish international is only 22, so still has a lot of maturing and improving to be done on his already fantastic quality. Guiding Dortmund to their seventh Bundesliga title, Sahin also picked up the Player of The Year for the 2010/11 season in the German top flight.
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