Thursday, 13 June 2013

Transfer Market and Other Tall Tales

The most trying, hair-pulling, annoyingly painful time of the year for football fans is upon us. Yes, it is the summer transfer window. Every year from June to August players leave their old clubs for new pastures, perhaps greener, and are replaced by new faces eager to make a name for themselves.

This transfer window however proves to have been a little more interesting till now. It has its usual share of players throwing tantrums to leave and agents giving talks about numerous bids from 'top Premier League clubs' in the hope of getting at least one bid to compete with the existing bid from the Championship laggards. However, the interesting part is the two surprises of the window so far- Barcelona bidding for Torres, and Suarez wanting to move from Liverpool.

Firstly, Torres and Barcelona. The main question is why in the right mind would the runaway La Liga winners, proud employers of Messi want to sign a player who has really not known any sort of form for several years now. People seem to think it is to replace Villa. I have a different theory though, and I feel it is Vilanova's plan to reinvigorate Villa. Villa and Torres were an unstoppable combination through most of 07, 08 and 09, including their brilliant performances in Euro 2008 where Villa won the Golden Boot and Torres scored the winner in the final. Bringing back this partnership would probably be behind this otherwise seemingly inexplicable bid. Forming this partnership would also give Messi more freedom to play as he wants, reducing his goal-scoring burden. This also paves the way for the loan of Sanchez and probably imminent move of Tello, without losing any strike power.

Now, to the more painful bit. Suarez wanting to leave Liverpool. There's no doubting Suarez has been vital for Liverpool in the last season. It is also true that he has been targeted a bit more than he deserved, but he too has not been a saint by any stretch of imagination. However, Liverpool fans have stood by him through all his trials, supported him after the Evra issue (which was completely, and unnecessarily, blown up), forgiven him after the biting incident and waited while he reduced his diving. However, after all that, if he just gives up and leaves, it will be a loss not only to Liverpool, but also to the English game, for , on his day, there is no better striker in the world. I would hope he stays for at least one more season, because right now Liverpool needs stability as they rebuild after the Hicks era. If he does leave though, they should try to avoid the kind of knee jerk reaction that brought Carroll to Anfield after the departure of the aforementioned Torres.

The other reason this window is interesting is because the top 3 clubs of England last season (Utd, City and Chelsea) and Madrid all have new managers (well, even Mou is new) and would be trying to make their imprint on the squad. So, I expect some low cost bargains and high cost flops for Moyes, some big signings for Chelsea (Sneijder perhaps? He was with Jose at Inter during the best phase of both their careers) and City? Well, as always they will bid for everyone who has an ovr of over 80 in FIFA 13. And land a few of those which PSG, Madrid and Anzhi don't outbid them for.

One of the other key matters this window is the thorny issue of Bale. There is always at least one 'will he, won't he' transfer saga, and unfortunately, it always ends in favour of the the richer team (in this case Madrid). I don't expect to see Bale at Spurs come September. His loss will also make the English game poorer, probably more so than Suarez's departure.

For sheer madness though, the transfer window is often unsurpassed. Last season, Odemwingie camping at QPR hoping to wrangle a transfer to the 'relegation-hopefuls' (as ToI, as usual showing their brilliant footballing knowledge, termed them) was just the beginning. Redknapp then went on to say 'Our transfer policy is not to be caught with the owners' pants down.' Or something to that effect, before buying nearly crippled ancient defender Chris Samba for some 12 million. And then barely playing him.

So, predictions for the transfer window? Even Octopus Paul and his various copies wouldn't want to do so. Not with Mourinho having Abrahmovich's chequebook, Madrid wanting to reclaim La Liga ,Barcelona hoping to stop them with Torres and Redknapp still at QPR. Oh, and did I fail to mention our very own Blackburn Rovers still awaiting promotion under the able directorship of Shebby Singh?