Writer: Ozi Gooner
Date:Tuesday September 2 2008
What a weird deadline day. If anyone saw Citeh being taken over by an Arabic investment group and buying Robinho coming I suggest you invest in a lottery ticket quick smart, 'cos you are clearly on some type of psychic wave length and luck is coming your way. There were a few other strange transfers taking place, notably Everton breaking a club record transfer fee for Marouane Fellaini, the 20-year old Belgian international who impressed during the Olympics, from Standard Liege. Finnan joining Espanyol as part of the Riera deal was surprising (even if Riera joining Liverpool wasn't), as was Spanish 22 year old Xisco joining Newcastle from La Coruna, along with Valencia's Uruguayan Nacho Gonzalez. Less surprising deals to go through this deadline day were Berbatov's move to United, Corluka's move to Sp*rs, Saha's transfer to Everton and the aforementioned transfer of Riera to Liverpool.
As for the best bits of business this summer it is hard to look past Chelsea's signing of Deco. Considering in the current market place in which Bentley, Bent, Carrick and Hargreaves can all cost upward of 15 million pounds a club with as much money as Chelski can pick up a player of Deco's quality for as little as 8 million seems amazing. Some astute business there. Nasri's purchase by Wenger looks an inspired buy, although more incoming would clearly have been welcomed. Other buys that look to be good quality and value are Villa's signing of Carlos Cuellar from Rangers, City's swoops for Vincent Kompany from Hamburg SV and Pablo Zabaleta from Espanyol, Newcastle bringing in Argentinian's Jonas Gutierrez from Mallorca and Faricio Collocini from La Coruna, Wigan's surprise deal for Egyptian striker Amr Zaki, Bolton's move for Johan Elmander form Toulouse and Blackburn's purchase of Australian defensive midfielder Vinnie Grella from Torino (no bias there, the man is a gun). Chelski fans will also undoubtedly be happy that they have finally filled their right back slot with a player of real quality in Jose Bosingwa, even if they did have to pay a bit over the odds for him.
As far as Arsenal is concerned it has to be disappointment all around. I really had faith we would see a new midfielder today. Wenger better know this time, 'cos if he doesn't there will be a lot of angry fans saying I told you so. I really am worried about what the thought process was for Arsene this summer. It was evident to all last season that the only thing standing between us and the PL title was maybe two decent squad players (although that might be unfair to the players we had who clearly suffered visible mental trauma from the Eduardo injury which carried over into later games), Wenger even acknowledged as much and then rather than go out and find answers for the problem he allowed us to go backwards with another summer of letting more players out the exit door than came in the entrance. The other worrying sign on paper is that not only did we not add players, we didn't improve on the quality we had. We lost two first XI players, a back up for defensive middle and have only bought in one ready-made starter in Nasri. Leaving all your faith in players as young and inexperienced as Song and Denilson could be flirting with danger just a little too much in a summer in which City and Villa have invigorated their squads with massive investment. In the past we have been able to rely on individuals to up their game when required such as Cesc when Vieira left, Adebayor when Henry departed and Flamini in Gilberto's early season absence but one feels that of the replacements this time around, none have yet looked comfortable enough to give a sign that they will lift a level before it is too late. That said, I don't doubt we will make the top four although I don't expect us to do much better.
Well Gooner's get ready for a long season, it could just be a very rocky ride. Take your Prozac, have a scotch, smoke a cigarette or whatever vice it is you fall back on when times get tough and stress levels rise and try to put a happy face on a shitty situation. 'til next time people, Ozi!
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Date:Tuesday September 2 2008
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