Transfer Deadline Day: Premier League Best
It was just another day in the office for Deadline Day chief Jim White yesterday, as managers did their usual last minute shopping to finalise their squads to take them through ‘til the end of the season.
The Peter Odemwingie saga bemused and entertained football fans as they counted down to the 11pm deadline.
Eyebrows were raised as QPR continued their ‘all or nothing’ gamble to beat the Premier League drop in May. They spent over £20million and offered astronomical wages in a lame attempt to lure players to Loftus Road.
On a day Arsenal fans don’t know any different, they were surprised with a £10million overseas addition to their ranks, a player which may fill the position Arsenal have regularly rotated since the departure of Gael Clichy.
Thursday morning saw Championship side Middlesbrough shock the nation with a late £5million bid for old boy Danny Graham and the Kuwaiti Forest owners angered the Peterborough board as they pulled out of a deal for George Boyd, in the twelfth hour, due to a failed eye-sight test.
But which deals appeared the best by managers in a financially-stricken era where (some) needed to be shrewd with their transfer kitty?
Eye brows were raised in May as Roy Hodgson named a 19 year old goalkeeper, who had never played at Championship level, in his 23 man Euro 2012 squad.
Jack Butland had onlymade senior appearances for lowly league two side Cheltenham Town and the inclusion in England’s 23 man squad baffled the nation.
Hodgson clearly saw the Birmingham City keeper as one for the future and included him for the experience.
The player’s inclusion led to bids in the region of £6million from Premier League suitors the following summer.
Fast forward a few months to the January transfer window and Chelsea had a bid accepted for the Bristol-born player, which he declined. The fact he rejected Chelsea’s advances shows he is a grounded player and realistic about his chances in the first team.
Stoke saw this as an opportunity to make a bid and secured a £4million move for the goalkeeper, who agreed to loan the player back to Birmingham for the rest of the season. At 19, Butland has shown maturity and quality and he is tipped to push Joe Hart for the number one England jersey in the near future.
Injury to Kieran Gibbs and unconvincing form by Andre Santos tempted Arsene Wenger to dip into the transfer market on the final day for a left back.
The Spanish international is a £10million late capture from La Liga side Malaga and he agreed a long term contract yesterday as Wenger finally captured a target he has watched for sometime.
“Monreal is a strong left-sided defender with good experience at both club and international level.” The Arsenal manager said. “He is a technically gifted player, a good crosser in the final third and strong in the air. He will add quality to our squad and of course, to our defensive unit. We all look forward to him playing for us.”
Regular Champions League and Premier League quality games may prove to be a good move for Monreal, as he hopes to push Jordi Alba for the left back spot in the Spanish national team.
After being booed during his substitute appearance at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday, Gateshead-born Danny Graham will be looking to win the fans over after a £5million deadline day move from Swansea.
The forward, who was given the number nine shirt, knows his Middlesbrough roots means it won’t be easy to win over the Black Cats followers.
"It's up to me to show people I deserve to wear the Sunderland shirt,” he said. “I'm excited about playing for a club as big as this. I'm really excited about the future.”
The signing adds extra firepower to the Sunderland frontline after the departures of Louis Saha and Frazer Campbell.
The first half of the season saw Sunderland heavily reliant on Steven Fletchers goals and the signing will take pressure off the Scot’s shoulders. Graham’s first season in the Premier League with Swansea proved to be a success, but the arrival and form of Miguel Michu relegated the ex-Watford man to the bench.
Danny Graham will score goals when given the opportunity and £5million may prove to be another good bit of business by Martin O’Neill.
Although the talk of Chris Samba’s move to QPR is rife about money, the signing is just what Harry Redknapp is looking for. After spending five and a half seasons in the Premier League with Blackburn, Samba won’t take time to adjust to the league. The Anzhi Makhachkala signing is a tall, strong central defender who dominates the box.
The move will come as a relief to Samba too, as he was subject to racism at football matches in Russia. The cost of £12.5million for Samba could be another good deal for ‘wheeler dealer’ Harry, who also signed Jermaine Jenas and Andros Townsend yesterday from his old club, Spurs.
Redknapp yesterday described QPR’s record signing a ‘proper centre-half’. “Chris is just what we need. He's a monster. Great in the air, quick, a leader, strong, fantastic in both boxes, hard as nails.”
Congolese defender Samba, who signed a £100, 00 a week deal, will be a key part of QPR’s efforts to beat the drop in May and won’t want a second successive relegation after finishing in 19th place with Blackburn last season.
Fulham finished transfer deadline day with a trio of deadline day loan deals. One key deal was utility Dutchman Urby Emanuelson from AC Milan.
The Dutchman has made 60 appearances for Milan since he joined them two years ago and he has gained many plaudits as he has played across the left flank for ‘The Rossoneri’.
He is a player Martin Jol knows well from when he coached Ajax and he knows what he will get from the 26 year old.
Jol described the player as: “‘skilful, mobile, quick and agile,” He said. “He can play left midfield, wide, play number 10. I felt we needed fresh legs.”
Fulham have done well to get the Dutchman, who has been capped 16 times, he will add creativity and speed to the side and will play a part in helping Fulham push for a mid-table to Europa League spot.
The lure of David Moyes beat Wigan to the signing of young Barnsley defender John Stones for £3million. The right back has been praised for performances in a team of Championship relegation battlers.
The 18 year old is a major coup for Moyes, who was also interesting other Premier League clubs.
The 6ft 2in right back is yet to complete a full season at senior level but his stand out performances brought scouts to Oakwell. Although the prospect may not be utilized straight away, he is definitely seen as one for the future and this is evident as David Moyes isn’t one to freely spend money, with Everton a club hit by the credit crunch in recent years.
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