One week to go to what should be the third best day of the year (only behind Christmas and the Summer Deadline Day) and yet, unless something dramatic happens and some absolute curve ball emerges out of the left field, this January transfer window has been really quite stale.
As people embark on their Dry January’s because they had too much fun at Christmas, this season the Transfer Windows feels very much the same. We all had too much fun over the festive period, now we retreat home and do just what is expected from us. Yet for some football clubs this is surely the time to realise something great or even roll the dice to try and stay up?
Bournemouth, Norwich and surprisingly Newcastle United are all exceptions. The signings of Afobe, Naismith and Shelvey all seem sensible signings. Each club here have clearly identified what they feel they need for this second half of the season to stay up, and the chairman’s have duly delivered (even if Jonjo Shelvey did cost Newcastle the same amount of money as Ivan Rakitic cost Barcelona but that is a completely different debate for another time!). The signing of Naismith in particular appears a fantastic piece of business for a club battling relegation. Naismith is a player with a good Premier League pedigree and whilst he might not set the world a light for a top 8 side like Everton, for £8.5 million he certainly represents a very good signing for Norwich City as demonstrated by his goal against Liverpool at the weekend.
Whilst these three clubs have utilised the window seemingly well, at the bottom of the table clubs seems to have stagnated with indecision or inability to attract players. Aston Villa’s task this season seems neigh on impossible now, but there hasn’t even been a sniff of Garde moving players on or bringing players in to try and freshen up the side. Swansea City also have appeared to waste a window through their own indecision about who should lead the side and the likes of Sunderland and even West Brom (only 7 points off relegation themselves) seem to be treading water.
This stasis however is also endemic at the very top of the Premier League. Whilst I wasn’t expecting City and Arsenal to move into the market themselves, unless a truly great piece of business would come their way. Teams like Tottenham, Leicester City and even the likes of West Ham seem caught in a scenario of stick or twist.
Tottenham’s failure to move into the transfer market certainly is a surprise. Tottenham offer at best an outside title contender and whilst they’ve drawn too many all season, a run of victories over the next month could really see this Tottenham at least put some daylight in the face for Champions League football. The Tottenham squad seems very well balanced, with depth in almost every position bar one. Striker.
Harry Kane is the undoubted number one at the club. His ability to hold up play and run the channels has undoubtedly been a strong development to his game this season but such traits have become a necessity this season. After a breakthrough campaign last season, Kane was never going to emulate the heights he played at last year. Clubs and defenders are much more aware of what Harry Kane brings to the table and whilst Pochettino reiterates his faith in the team ethic built up over the last 18 months, you have to wonder what Tottenham’s Plan B would be if Kane was to get injured or lose form? Supposedly, Tottenham have been offered Jackson Martinez from Atletico Madrid in the last week and to secure someone of that ilk with his goal scoring reputation would certainly ruffles the feathers of Manchester United and Liverpool next season but is the kind of move that could elevate Tottenham to title contenders this year.
With one week to go to Deadline Day, it is becoming more evident that Premier League clubs are budgeting much more towards a strong summer outlay, with the January window only being truly utilised if a player becomes available who could well be a game changer over the next 5 months. For fans, it seems more a questions of patience, something no longer synonymous with Premier League football.
Now we can all sit back and watch Jim White try his utmost to gee us all up and be excited about Charles N’Zogbia going to ply his trade at some far reaching club in the Emirates or alternatively watch old videos of Harry Redknapp leaning out of windows until Van Gaal resigns.
I am already loading up YouTube. Sorry Jim.
Rich, The Sweeper Football Blog