Transfer Deadline Day: Winners and Losers
Transfer Deadline Day represented the last opportunity for Premier League clubs big and small to bolster their playing staff until the window reopens in January.
There were comings and goings, tears and tantrums, surprises and predictables on a surprisingly quiet and lacklustre day for football fans up and down the land.
So who were the big winners and losers on football’s answer to Black Friday?
Winner: West Ham
The Hammers brought in four quality players in a bid to build on their solid but rather inconsistent start to the campaign. Alex Song, Victor Moses, Michail Antonio and Nikica Jelavic joined the Boleyn Ground club for a combined total of around £10 million, and each represents good value for a side looking to tiptoe their way into Europa League contention.
Alex Song, who joins on loan from Barcelona, played a crucial role in the Hammers’ decent showings in 2014/15, and established himself as something of a fan favourite for his tough tackling displays. And Victor Moses, a player who perhaps hasn’t quite lived up to his early promise, still has plenty of ability and will offer Slaven Bilic a different kind of threat down the flanks.
Michail Antonio, firstly at Sheffield Wednesday and latterly at Nottingham Forest, really catches the eye. He’s an old-fashioned winger that likes to take his man on on the outside and whip crosses into the box, and with his pace and power he could cause havoc for Premier League full backs who generally have to deal with a different kind of threat on a weekly basis.
And Nikica Jelavic, who isn’t a player that generally inspires mass adulation – certainly not in recent years anyway, still offers plenty of Premier League experience and depth to an otherwise thin-on-the-ground forward line.
The main mission for Tottenham during the transfer window – and certainly Deadline Day – was to bring in another frontman to take some of the pressure off Harry Kane’s capable but young shoulders.
Robert Soldado departed and Emanuel Adebayor remains very much out of favour (Mauricio Pochettino literally couldn’t give him away to Aston Villa when they refused to pay 100% of his wages), and so Kane remains their only recognised striker after a frustrating day of inactivity.
Four substantial bids for Saido Berahino were turned down by West Brom, the last of which came late in the day and was rumoured to be in the region of £25 million. At 22 he is still very much a young man learning his trade, but having bagged 14 goals in the top flight last season it’s no wonder Daniel Levy was so desperate to land his signature.
Clinton N’Jie, with just 37 French Ligue 1 starts to his name, has come in and isn’t quite ready for first team football, but the signing of Heung-Min Son just prior to Deadline Day - a South Korean who is a quality operator in an attacking midfield role, should help to cushion the blow.
But why Spurs didn’t seek a short-term alternative to Berahino, even a former fan favourite such as Jermaine Defoe or the unattached Dimitar Berbatov, is anybody’s guess.
Winner and Loser: Manchester United
It was very much a mixed day for Manchester United fans, with one problem solved but another remaining seemingly unanswered.
After a lengthy saga that would give the writers of Holby City a run for their money, David De Gea’s protracted transfer to Real Madrid never came to light after alleged ‘paperwork issues’. The Spaniard was naturally not best pleased, although he has been included in Louis Van Gaal’s Champions League squad and so could have an opportunity to work his way back into first team favour – even if it is only until January when the transfer window reopens.
Alas, the Red Devils’ quest for a new striker was, by and large, fruitless. They did sign Anthony Martial for a hugely inflated fee in the region of £30 million, but the 19-year-old doesn’t really represent the kind of world class figure that the fans were hoping for; a career strike rate of a goal every 4.5 games highlights that. With Wayne Rooney as the only out-and-out frontman on United’s books now, they could ideally have done with someone for the here-and-now.
Even Louis Van Gaal admitted he has got one eye on the future with this deal. "I am delighted he has joined Manchester United as I believe this is the right club for him to continue his development as a young player. He has all the attributes to become a top football player; however we need to give him time to adjust to his new environment and the rhythm of the Premier League,” he told Manchester United TV.
Martial has just been called up to the senior France squad so obviously has talent, but how quickly – and if at all – that can be fulfilled in the frantic pace of English football remains to be seen.