TT's window reflection - 62 days of summer
With the 2010 transfer window having firmly slammed shut, TEAMtalk's Ian Watson reflects on the biggest stories of the summer. Super Mario James Milner was Manchester City's highest profile addition but of their six big-money buys, Mario Balotelli is for me the best of the lot and the most exciting addition to the Premier League. He might be young and petulant but despite his tender years, the Italian is a manbeast who possesses all the attributes he needs to succeed and score goals in England. If his first month in Manchester is anything to go by - a debut goal and a smashed-up super car - just sit back and enjoy the show. It's a steal Despite the season being over a month away when Joe Cole joined Liverpool on a free transfer, the England playmaker made an immediate and almost priceless impact at Anfield with his arrival. Both Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres were considering their futures when Cole walked through the door, but his arrival seemingly swayed the star duo's judgement, persuading them that perhaps the Reds were worth giving one last chance. On the pitch, Cole has hardly covered himself in glory, with a red card and a missed penalty in his first two games at Anfield. But there is little doubt that the former Chelsea man will give Torres and Gerrard the service they have previously been starved of, while also getting amongst the goals himself. Boring, boring Barca Seemingly not a day went by this summer without a Barcelona player proclaiming Cesc Fabregas' love for their club. But that meant nothing if the Catalans were not prepared to put their money where their big mouths are. Barca tried the same tactic with Javier Mascherano, but fortunately for the Argentinian, Liverpool's valuation was eventually met, whereas Arsenal's was not. Perhaps much to Fabregas' chagrin, the Gunners refused to sell for anything less than the asking price, with many fans, even those with no loyalties to the Gunners, relieved to see the north Londoners stand their ground and refuse to be bullied. Until the same time next year at least... Head-scratcher of the summer/year/decade After complaining for the best part of a year that there is no value in the current transfer market, Sir Alex Ferguson proceeded to blow £7.4million on Bebe, a winger he had never seen play even on video and who up to now has played just 26 times in the Portuguese third division. Figure. That. One. Out. I'm not a wheeler-dealer... Emílio Macedo, the chairman of Vitoria Guimaraes, makes Harry Redknapp look like Del Boy Trotter. Vitoria signed Bebe on a free transfer at the start of the summer before taking £7.4million off United for a player who had been with club for just five weeks and a few pre-season friendlies. Ian Holloway has managed to put a Premier League side together for less than the cost of one of Robinho's goals for Manchester City but even Ollie must bow down to Macedo the master. The new Karel Poborsky Asamoah Gyan was one of Ghana's most impressive players during their World Cup campaign, and Steve Bruce obviously liked what he saw because the Sunderland boss saw fit to blow £13million on the Rennes striker. I'm much less convinced, however, and I'll be very surprised if his goals tally this season matches the number before the six zeros on his price tag. Expensive mistake Arsene Wenger is renowned for his reluctance to spend Arsenal's cash, but even he recognised the need to buy a new number one this summer. The Gunners boss, however, chose to walk away from the Mark Schwarzer deal over around £500k, and is instead about to put his side's title hopes in the slippery hands of a Spaniard whose confidence is dangling by a thread, and a Pole whose has gone completely. Wenger has strengthened his defence, and that in itself might help his keepers, but for the sake of a few quid, the Gunners are gambling when they ought to be playing it safe. I wanna be adored... William Gallas gives the impression of a man who couldn't care less what others think of him, which is quite handy given that it is difficult to imagine the fans of any club remembering him fondly when he finally decides to hang up his boots. After threatening to score own goals until Chelsea let him leave in 2006, the Frenchman walked out of Arsenal and straight through the door of their hated rivals Tottenham. Given his history, it is difficult to see Spurs fans taking him to their hearts but it is unlikely Gallas will lose any sleep over that. Shattered dreams. Spare a thought for poor Mark Schwarzer, Cesc Fabregas and Carlton Cole. Just picture each of them in 20 years, drinking alone in a back-street bar, sharing their tale of transfer window woe with anyone who will listen. It wasn't supposed to end like this. FIGHT! There are not many people who don't like Pep Guardiola. The fact that so few people hold his outrageous success and good looks against him is perhaps rare, but one man who won't be sending the Barcelona boss a Christmas card this year is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Swede has had regular digs at his former coach and whether it was his intention or not, Ibrahimovic has managed to take the focus away from just what a disaster his Barcelona spell was. The Primera Liga champions will eventually make a loss of around €41million when AC Milan are forced into buying the striker next summer, so you might think the player would go quietly. Not Zlatan. According to Ibrahimovic, Guardiola is a not only "scared" of him, but he's also a "small-time coach" who has "a problem". The Barca boss has yet to retaliate in public, but the feeling seems to be mutual, with Guardiola reportedly absolutely desperate to get Ibrahimovic out of the club this summer.
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