Here we go, it’s time. The madness has begun, the reporters across the country are digging out their thermals and club executives are cramping up at the thought of those hideous cheques they’re about to write. Welcome, to the January transfer window.
Unlike retail there are very few sales or deals to be found, in fact, it’s the opposite. Not quite a 5am queue outside Next looking for 15% off a pair of woolly socks but prepare yourself for overpriced, overrated, agent-pushing, farcical fees for footballers… as opposed to the summer window where, well, all of the above still happens.
To make the dealings a tad more digestible I’ve whipped up a few bankers to watch out for over the coming weeks.
Let’s start with the obvious one…
It’s The Most Wengerful Time Of The Year.
Keep an eye on; Arsenal being linked with a player you’ve never heard of.
To be fair, I’m a tad late on this one as its already begun. Yesterday Arsenal announced the signing of Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos… I know mate, statement of intent or what. No doubt over the coming days, weeks and months we’ll hear about how he once scored nine in an under 15 International and he has so much potential he’s the Greek equivalent of Tony Adams.
I may be wrong and in a few years we’ll be popping Mavropanos in the same bracket Yossi Benayoun, Kim Kallstrom and Cohen Bramall as one of the greatest mid-season purchases by Wenger, we know he has a faultless record when it comes to January buys.
What A Load Of Balag’s
Keep an eye on; Guillem Balague, ‘so called’ football expert and his “done” deals.
Alongside Garth Crooks, every time I hear this man speak I question if he’s so clever and informed that it’s above my level or could it possibly be is he that far off the mark, once again, that he must own shares in the company to keep getting work. Guillem is the go to for SkySports on any Spanish transfer activity.
Anything slightly sun swept or laced with sangria, this guy knows the deal. Remember when he told us before anyone that Sergio Ramos had penned a deal with Manchester United… oh wait, no that didn’t happen did it. Erm, what about that summer, sorry, every summer, when he tells us how Cristiano Ronaldo still loves United and will be there by the end of the week? No, didn’t happen either did it.
He’s already come out with the fact Phillipe Coutinho is Barca bound, something I think we all have guessed. In fact, Nike even let slip on their official website he was about to “Light up the Nou Camp” but you keep up those exclusives, Guillem.
I’m Dreaming Of A Jim White January
Keep an eye on; Jim’s yellow tie bursting out the wardrobe.
A man we all know and love. A man we trust to bring us the latest news on transfer dealings and the only man on TV who can midshow, live on air, glance down at his phone or take a call from an acquaintance… He must be on an all-you-can-eat tariff because that phones ringing more than a PPI salesman.
His exciting, direct presenting style makes the final few hours before the window slams shut box office and is now synonymous with some big deals being done at the death. Don’t ever change, Jim.
Out With The Old Trafford, In With The New.
Keep an eye on; Manchester United being linked with every single player that has a pulse and once scored since April 2009.
It must be incredibly tiring as a United fan being teased with all these lucrative names every time a window rolls around. It usually comes about in the least imaginative ways too. Either a big players agent has hinted the player wants a new deal and because of Uniteds financial clout they are top of the pile to flog them too.
Or Antoinne Greizmann’s brother has tweeted a picture of the food place ‘Subway’… Hang on, isn’t there one of those chains just off Sir Matt Busby Way in Manchester?! It’s blatantly already been agreed then… actually come to think of it, the number 7 shirt is vacant too isn’t it?! Done deal, I’m off to get the ‘phone hands’ tattoo’d on my chest and start thinking up an ‘Antoinne is a red’ chant for the Stretford End. Chill out, until Agent P books a basketball court and lavish villa in Miami nothing is real.
Klopp Till You Drop
Keep an eye on; Liverpool are urging Jurgen, “we need defenders because Loris can’t Karius”.
Liverpool are just irresistible going forward aren’t they. Utterly destructive. The fab four sharing goals around like giant Christmas toblerone. Mo Salah’s 20+ goals haven’t fixed the problem, however. The best way to describe Liverpool is like a really expensive cheese grater. Looks flashy and slick, can cut through anything with sumptuous ease but still has far too many holes in and it’s only got good for one half.
Luckily for Liverpool fans, they have a quick fix. Once again Fenway Sports Group asked for Southampton vouchers for Christmas and Father Christmas did the deed. Cashed in already to the tune of £75million for Virgil Van Dijk and the longest running (most boring) transfer saga is finally tucked away. Will that sort the defensive frailties? Or will it be like trying to patch up the Titanic with duct tape? Only time will tell.
“Evan I Said The Should Have Kept Him”
Keep an eye on; EVERY SINGLE PUNDIT saying Manchester United shouldn’t have sold Jonny Evans in the first place.
We’ve all seen that the importance of strong, dependable defenders in the Premier League has inflated the market to ludicrous numbers (see above for VVD) but Jonny Evans rumoured departure from The Hawthorns has been met with a general nod of commendation. Well, that and probably a £200million price tag.
A reliable, consistent performer for West Brom since his move from United back in 2015, he now has all the big hitters sniffing around for his services. Cue every former player berating the Old Trafford hierarchy for letting him go… Call me cynical but I don’t remember anyone batting an eyelid when he departed especially when Marcos Rojo, Daley Blind, Mateo Darmian and Luke Shaw all came through the door to replace the void left by Evans.
That said, the Northern Ireland international would be a welcome addition to most top-flight sides. In other news, the same pundits also predicted the world would end in 2012, they predicted England would beat Iceland comfortably in 2016 and they’ve got next Friday’s winning lottery ticket tucked into the brim of their bowler. This analogy can be used for the majority of players once at a big club, simply replace the name ‘Jonny Evans’ and reuse. De Bruyne, Salah, Matic etc.
Keep an eye on; A future deadline day classic story.
Just think, Peter Odemwinge, once one of the most inform forwards in the Premier League, bagging 15 goals in his debut season for West Bromwich Albion, now forever known for a failed move to QPR.
He was Odemwinging his way down the motorway probably belting out a bit of ‘Animal’ by Conor Maynard and Wiley (number 2 in the charts at the time) dreaming of a debut goal at Loftus Road. However, as we know, his club at the time, WBA, rejected the approach from QPR without telling the Nigerian forward leaving him sat in the car park dejected, unwanted and disappointed.
Not sure it’ll ever happen again but in the off chance any professional footballer is reading this debating his own last minute A road dash just remember, McDonalds will now fine you if you stay in the carpark longer than 90minutes so, think ahead.
Last Minute Chopping
Keep an eye on; The groundsman spitting teeth about the ‘Keep Off The Grass’ sign being ignored by a helicopter pilot at 11:55pm.
Let’s be honest, this is what we live for. We’re desperate for a big name to swoop down from the skies, sign on the dotted line and smash a barrel load of goals instantaneously.
Picture the scene… the clock is ticking, you’ve missed out on your top three targets and just as the night digs you feel dejected and wallow in footballing despair. But wait, what’s that noise, you glance up to see a whirring rotor and a beaming light beginning its descent. Sat in the passenger, headphones wrapped around his greasy ponytail you see, grinning, the Geordie giant, Andy Carroll. Happy New Deal.
Contracts, What A Pain In The Arsene
Keep an eye on; Not just Arsenal but a shed load of Premier League clubs facing a fight to tie down their want away players.
We all know Alexis, Ozil and Wilshere are lurking by the Emirates summer exit door but it’s not just Wenger facing a numbers headache. Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Luke Shaw and Marouane Fellaini’s deals all expire in the summer. As do City rivals Fernandinho and Yaya Toure.
In addition to this players with six-months remaining on their current deals can sign a pre-contract agreement with foreign sides as of now. Prepare yourself for agents earning their pennies by plugging their players in every possible avenue. The back pages, the front pages, Zoopla, AutoTrader, Celebrity Big Brother, nowhere is safe.
More Clauses Than A North Pole Family Piss Up
Keep an eye on; The numbers, the fees, the agents cut, instalments, bonuses, incentive based promises, the lot.
Football clubs aren’t short of a few bob, so please, do us all a favour and just pay the money. Everyone wants a deal, no one wants to see a penny more escape their padlocked wallet, so they dress it up in a 700-page document with millions of discrepancies and sky-high promises that make up the final figure.
Say the figure wanted is £100million, the club will hardly ever pay that. They’ll want to pay £45million up front, £15million across three-years, then another £10milion if he ever wins the Balon D’Or. A further £10million will be shelled out if the team he’s joining wins any silverware, £5million once he’s got his own car parking space at the training ground, £2million when a child asks for the players name on the back of his shirt, £3million when he gets paparazzi snap him in a local nightclub.
The final £10million pound is usually reserved for if the player ever gets selected in a Human World XI against an Alien life form squad beamed down from Mars to play for the rights to Earth.
Whatever happens, we’re in for a tantalising few weeks deals dipping in and out, managers getting rattled and moaning in press conferences, players and agents wanting more money and Arsenal Fan TV racking up the views because of another Wenger out rant… Actually, when you put it like that, it’s just the same as every other month on the football calendar.
Thanks for reading,
Take it easy,
Oh yeah, and Happy New Year.