Friday, September 2, 2011

Because everyone else does it: Deadline Day winners and losers


Barcelona: Don't they always win? Even when selling good players, they come out on top.  They got money for players they were unlikely to use much in Bojan and Oriol Romeu, yet have the option of re-purchasing both if they succeed at their new clubs. With Roma's Giallorossi now hoping to model themselves on the Catalans, Bojan could be a big success. With Raul Meireles signing as well, Romeu won't get the same playing time at Chelsea but is a very different - and thus more valuable - player to the pass-and-move merchants Barca habitually produce.
Roma: After years of financial peril, the red half of the Eternal City suddenly has a revitalised squad sporting the likes of Simon Kjaer, FM2011 star Fernando Gago, the aforementioned Bojan and most interestingly, perennial next big thing Miralem Pjanic. While neither team from Milan will be sweating on a Roma title challenge, they should have the quality to take points off the best this year.

QPR: To nab Joey Barton and Shaun Wright-Phillips within a week of the transfer window closing means their relegation is no longer a nailed-on certainty but only quite likely. Barton is one of the top ten central midfielders in the country, while SWP is perhaps the most underrated overrated player in England. Anton Ferdinand could prove, like his dietary habits, feast or famine in central defence.

Fulham: Martin Jol poached Zdenek Grygera on a free from Juventus to help shore up a backline which has been effective in Europe but awful in the Premiership. They also managed to secure 10.6 million-worth of Costa Rica's Bryan Ruiz from FC Twente. Ruiz is so good he could cause carnage in front of goal - and in nightclubs - over the whole country.


Newcastle: Twelve months ago, Andy Carroll was the hottest property in England. Now, the 35 million is gathering lint under Mike Ashley's pillow. They needed a striker, nearly got Modibo Maiga in real trouble from Sochaux, were beaten to the punch on Ruiz and also didn't replace their departed second-best goalscorer, Kevin Nolan, or best creator, Barton. Pity an impressive collection of midfield talent with no-one Shola Ameobi to pass to.

Spurs: They got Scott Parker, and retained an unhappy Modric, but couldn't reinforce an ageing and leaky defence. Daniel Levy's stones for keeping a malcontent player (albeit one with five years of his contract to run) are admirable, as is manager Harry Redknapp's fantasy world where Emanuel Adebayor won't simultaneously explode and implode for a whole season. Lassana Diarra would have helped them.

Luka Modric: Wants to play Champions' League football and as a player deserves to do so. Perhaps though, he isn't as mentally strong as you'd like, after offering to withdraw his services from last weekend's match against Manchester City. This has lost him the respect of many Spurs fans, the chance of a natural resource-fuelled pay hike and football at the highest club level. It's safe to say his gamble - if it was one - backfired.

Nottingham Forest: A pre-season contender for the Championship title suddenly finds themselves needing to outperform simply to tread water in a strengthened division.  Not only did they fail to strengthen as needed at the deadline, but also nearly lost their manager, Steve McClaren.

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