Joe Strange - Liverpool and Newcastle risk it all on deadline day

03 February 2011 11:32
January's transfer deadline day usually pales into insignificance when compared to its more illustrious sibling, August 31st. But Monday's nail-biting countdown to the 11pm cut-off point somehow managed to surpass last summer's effort with a finale which was both entertaining and shocking in equal measure.

The winter window is normally reserved for a certain type of deal. Clubs wanting to ship out unwanted players let them leave, while those battling against relegation desperately try to add to their squad, normally on a tight budget. Sides experiencing injury problems attempt to boost their numbers, with loan deals being a far more popular option than anything permanent.

Marquee signings are few and far between as clubs conserve their cash and avoid inflated transfer fees, choosing to delay their business until the summer when players and clubs are far more open to potential moves. All in all, the January transfer window is generally pretty darn boring.

Many believed that the global recession had finally started to catch up with the beautiful game. Premier League clubs, minus Manchester City, were generally spending less, as huge losses began to be reported within the top-flight and throughout the Football League. The English game needed to curb its spending, and to some extent it was doing just that.

But then came Aston Villa's out-of-the-blue big-money bid for Darren Bent, and everything changed. Just a few days after Bent made his £18 million move to the midlands, news of Chelsea's £35 million bid for Fernando Torres was public knowledge. The spending spree was about to commence.

Chelsea eventually stumped up £50m for the Spaniard, a British record transfer fee. They also splashed out over £20m on Benfica's young central defender David Luiz, bringing their total spending somewhere around the £75m mark. A sign of panic from mega-rich Roman Abramovich or just a showing of confidence in his manager Carlo Ancelotti? We'll probably never know.

Despite completing a deadline day deal for the prolific Luis Suarez of Ajax, Liverpool were immediately sent into panic by Torres' impending move to Stamford Bridge. A £30m bid for Newcastle's Andy Carroll was quickly made, although it was immediately rejected by controversial owner Mike Ashley.

In the end Ashley accepted an offer believed to be around £35m for the 22-year-old Geordie striker, a simply astonishing amount of money considering Carroll's age and inexperience. Yes he has huge potential but is potential really worth that amount of money? Kenny Dalglish and the Liverpool board obviously think so.

There's no denying that spending that amount on one player is a huge risk for Liverpool, particularly given that for the same amount they could've brought in at least two or three established stars in the summer. Only time will tell whether Carroll will go down as a waste of money or one of the most inspired signings in Liverpool's history, but the pressure to deliver is most definitely on his young shoulders after becoming the eight most expensive player of all time.

But while Liverpool's move for Carroll is being regarded as a huge risk by most within the game, Newcastle's decision to sell him has also come under the spotlight in recent days.

The club have stated that they had no option but to let him leave for the Reds after receiving a written transfer request, although Carroll has claimed that he didn't want to leave and was forced out as the club wanted the money. Fans will be keen to find out who is telling the truth, although they should really be concerning themselves with Newcastle's failure to sign a last-minute replacement.

Rumours of last ditch bids for Wigan's Charles N'Zogbia and Hercules striker Nelson Valdez came to nothing, leaving manager Alan Pardew with just Shola Ameobi, the ageing Peter Lovenkrands, unproven Leon Best and youngster Nile Ranger as his striking options. Far from ideal when your battling to retain your Premier League status.

Receiving £35m for a player of Carroll's stature was undoubtedley a fantastic piece of business from a financial point of view, but should his absence ultimately contribute to a return to the Championship for Pardew's side, it will have proved to be a gamble even more expensive than Liverpool's.

Follow me on Twitter @joe_strange

Source: DSG

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