Ryan takes a bit of time to reflect on how the new boys have done so far as we enter the final stretch of the Premiership season.
With most clubs in the Premier League facing only 8 more games of the 2006/07 season, itâ€™s a fair time to look back over last summerâ€™s major transfers, and make a judgement over their success, or lack thereof. For once, there doesnâ€™t seem to have been any complete resounding big-money failures in the Luque, Diouf, Forlan, or Jeffers mould, well at least none that spring to my mind anyway. Tevezcherano is the closest but the fact that we still don’t know if any money changed hands and Tevez ended up looking quite good saves this one from being an abject failure.
Instead they will have to be judged on the relative merits of their success or mediocrity versus the expectations laid before them.
My major nominations are below. They are by no means a definitive list, just a starting group that popped into my head – which is where you come in. So we’d like to know:
1) Club you support
2) Your club’s best transfer move(s), and why.
3) Your club’s worst transfer move(s), and why.
Of course, feel free to comment on any other transfers from other clubs as well.
Top of the Class:
Dimitar Berbatov, Tottenham â€“ Whilst I donâ€™t fully subscribe to the â€˜Europeâ€™s most in-form strikerâ€™ blurb thatâ€™s following round the London mediaâ€™s latest flavour of the month, there can be no doubt that heâ€™s hasnâ€™t made a significant impact at the Lane. Anybody that can be plucked from the German wilderness for 10 million odd, and eight months later be touted around Europe at four times that valuation must have done something right. Jol The Hutâ€™s onto a winner with this lad.
Andy Johnson, Evertonâ€“ Too many sides baulked at what seemed a wholly-inflated valuation from perma-tanned Simon Jordan over the years. David Moyes finally took the gamble (probably after every other striker worth his salt had turned him down) and has been rewarded for it. 11 League goals by March, including a hat-trick in their biggest game of the season, despite being marooned up front on his own more often than Bono.
Obafemi Martins, Newcastle– If you throw enough darts, youâ€™re bound to eventually hit a 20. And so Newcastle proved through their 11 million purchase of this 64 year old Nigerian. With 17M worth of Michael Owen keeping physios in check, and 10M Albert Luque doing his best Marcelino impression, the self-titled â€˜Massive Clubâ€™ seem to have finally struck lucky. Heâ€™s got 16 goals thus far, some of them (his left-foot pearler at Spurs) coming from the top drawer. Heâ€™s lightning quick, injury-free, and like the cholesterol in that turgid Brown Ale the Toon Army have taken him straight to their hearts.
Just about making the grade:
Dirk Kuyt, Liverpoolâ€“ Started off like a maison en feu, â€˜Work Hard Dirkâ€™sâ€™ form has curtailed somewhat since Christmas. Puts in more tireless running than a sheepdog on narcotics, but his touch, finishing, and heading still leave a little to be desired. Nonetheless, the abilityâ€™s there and his goalscoring record throughout his career shouldnâ€™t be shunned at. Rafa will expect more next season thoughâ€¦
Nicolas Anelka, Bolton â€“ Started off like a tortoise in a wheelchair, probably because he and the brothers were waiting for their part of the fee to come through, but has made an improvement since the New Year. For someone of his ability, hype, and self-belief he could be doing so much better. He probably isnâ€™t a fan of Samâ€™s hustle â€˜nâ€™ bustle tactics mind you. But then, who is?
Michael Carrick, Manchester United â€“ Like a shuffling crab, Carrick couldnâ€™t move sideways anymore if he tried. The guts of 18 million quid generally require a tad more than an average match performance of no tackling, no goals, no assists, no inventiveness, and no impact, but Sir Alex and his spin machine seem happy, and if heâ€™s deemed to be a part of a Title winning side, then itâ€™ll have been money well spent. Truth be told; the exceptional players around him have made him look good.
Needs to improve:
Tomas Rosicky, Arsenalâ€“ They hype hasnâ€™t quite matched the end product for someone who at first glance looked to be the steal of the summer in a 7M swoop from Borussia Dortmund. Looked like heâ€™d fit perfectly into Arseneâ€™s free-flowing bunch of whingers, but a succession of injuries, bit-part roles, and average performances have resulted in him flattering to deceive. He epitomises Arsenalâ€™s season; Promised so much, delivered fuck all.
Ashley Cole, Chelsea â€“ He probably hasnâ€™t had that awful a season, but itâ€™s hard not to wish the greedy, deluded little fool anything but the worst. 15M and William Gallas? Wenger got by far the better deal out of that farce.
Anyone signed by West Ham – Don’t think this one needs much explaining.