Following on from yesterday’s look at some of the ‘top 6’ and their needs and musts in the impending transfer window, we now focus on the rest. The countdown is standing at 98 hours-ish and bums are becoming squeakier.
Manchester City: ‘Citeh’ are now genuine title contenders after making it into the Champions League and ending the 35 year trophy drought. They have spent substantially (well, duh) and actually spent well. Rather than just buying the Premier League flavour of the month they have picked up two genuine world class players in Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri. Aguero is very reminiscent of Brazil legend and current politician Romario. Yes, politician. The fact that Carlos Tevez appears to be staying is almost a new signing in itself and he and Aguero could form a fearsome partnership to say the least. Roberto Mancini will have a task finding a place for Nasri and keeping everyone happy but this isn’t the worst problem to have as a football manager. Room for anymore? Well this is City we’re talking about and we know they enjoy a good transfer window. Having said that their squad is quite formidable right now and unless someone unbelievable becomes available, I wouldn’t expect to see them on the breaking news reel on Sky Sports News. But as I say, this is City we are talking about.
Manchester United: Despite winning the league and reaching the Champs League final it was felt by many that United needed to strengthen this summer. An absolute humbling from Barcelona may have had something to do with this but several retirements also added to the cause. Sir Alex responded, Ashley Young, Phil Jones and ‘Big Dave’ De Gea were brought in early in the summer. Young has added the consistency that Nani lacks and Jones has fitted in with ease so far. De Gea? Not so much. Van der Sar’s size 13’s were always going to be hard to fill, literally. Media scrutiny was bound to be on De Gea and he obliged with early errors. But I don’t think whether De Gea comes good or not will make or break United’s season, the players in front of him are too good for that.
Do they need to strengthen further? For the Prem League – no. For the Champs League – yes. Without a Sneijder-esque signing I can’t see United picking up a 4th Champions League pot. Not unless someone else knocks Barca out for them. The returns of Welbeck and Cleverley will only strengthen an already burgeoning squad and I think you’d have to be a few chavs short of a riot to not think they’ll retain the league title. Without any proven additions to centre midfield however, I can only see the gulf between United and Barca expanding by the size of a 24 year old, Cesc Fabregas to be precise.
Tottenham: If Harry Redknapp was a Batman villain he’d be called ‘Melted Face’. That or ‘Talented Football Manager With A Lot Of Nous.’ The latter has been proved abundantly in this transfer window. Spurs’ main transfer story throughout the summer has been their apparent struggle to hold onto Croatian Luka Modric. Now as we’re in the final straight of the transfer window Modric appears to be staying and is a big part of Harry’s plans. They also picked up Brad Friedel early on, still one of the best ‘keepers in the league and an ideal usurper to the enormously unpredictable Gomes.
For me Spurs needed strikers, several and of quality. Defoe is the best of a currently bad bunch and is he to be relied on to fire Spurs to the top 4? Not for me. Adebayor has signed on loan and as long as he behaves himself he should get goals. Spurs fans will perhaps need to change some of their songs about him if he is to feel welcome. I think they need another frontman as well, so we may see some action in the coming days. Scott Parker is supposedly in talks with the Lilywhites and he’d be a great signing, adding steel and depth to Tottenham’s centre-midfield. If Spurs want to be in the Champions League next year they need to score more goals and improve their away form. The Levy-Redknapp combination has less than 5 or so days to make the moves to achievable this. A tall but attainable task.
Forget about teams for a second, what about players? Who is looking to further themselves / bolster their pay packets? ‘Public Enemy No.1’ Joey Barton made his debut for QPR today. His collaboration with Neil Warnock will at least be entertaining if a little poisonous. Barton’s haircut is poisonous in itself.
Stoke are still looking for a target man so Peter Crouch and Carlton Cole should keep their phones on. Especially if they expect to stay in Fabio’s 2012 plans. If he has any. Fellow England’er Gary Cahill is also the subject of much speculation at the moment. Bolton boss Owen Coyle has quite a refreshingly open stance, admitting that Cahill can go for £17 million and that potential suitors should put up or shut up. Arsene Wenger has done neither with a somewhat silly bid of £6 million. Not sure the Coyles will be travelling south to spend Xmas with the Wengers this year.
Whatever happens between now and when the clock strikes midnight on Wednesday night there is sure to be excitement, controversy and millions of pounds. I, for one, am rather looking forward to it.