WOLVERHAMPTON ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 05: Dimitar Berbatov (2R) of Manchester United controls the ball under pressure from Richard Stearman (R) of Wolves during the Barclays Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United at Molineux on February 5 2011 in Wolverhampton England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Lot's of moves happened yesterday; some good, some bad, some silly.
Oh Clint Dempsey, you lucky lucky boy. Returning from his summer break ‘full of it’, reputedly, about his impending move to
Liverpool, Dempsey hasn’t played yet this season. Meanwhile, his clubmate Moussa Dembele became the subject of successive Match of the Day montages in celebration of his beautiful contributions to Fulham’s strong start to the season. Whereas Dembele’s performances won him Luka Modric’s position in Tottenham Hotspur’s midfield, Dempsey’s absences lost him his ‘dream move’ to Anfield and almost left him with nowhere to go but Aston Villa – surely the Premier League’s most depressing club. In the end, having presumably burnt his bridges at Fulham – how you could do that do as dreamy a father figure as Martin Jol (that voice!) is beyond my ken – the American also chipped off to Tottenham.
Tottenham’s new commuters, then, showcase two distinct models of transfer window conduct. Dembele trod the high road by playing himself into a new club; Dempsey took the low by sulking himself out of his old. Interestingly, they’ve ended up in the same place – following the comparison will be interesting.
North London, noted self-parodist Arsene Wenger signed a 17-year-old Macedonian goalkeeper. That’s, a SEVENTEEN YEAR OLD MACEDONIAN GOALKEEPER.
Meanwhile, Craig Gordon, who was the UK’s most expensive goalkeeper when he moved to Sunderland from Hearts for £9,000,000 in 2007 and has 40 Scotland caps, remains a free agent. Richard Wright (140 appearances since leaving Ipswich for Arsenal in 2001, 3 since leaving Ipswich for Sheffield United in 2010) has joined
ManchesterCity where won’t play alongside Michael Douglas acolyte Douglas Maicon who also joined from Inter. Maicon, it is agreed, ‘is not the player he was’; City’s other deadline day acquisition, Scott Sinclair, on the other hand, pretty much is the player Adam Johnson (off to Sunderland – good move, I reckon) was. Not to be confused with a move towards self-sustainability, City’s celebrity winger-swap seems more the result of a handful of itchy fingers (Sinclair’s, Johnson’s, Mancini’s) than anything else. Good luck to all involved.
Elsewhere in Manchester, Sir Alex sat quietly: drinking a nice claret, smiled indulgently while Robin van Persie and Shinji Kagawa worked on a collage together and chuckled while Mike Phelan checked Michael Owen’s Twitter feed on his iPhone. It was A Good Day.
Michael Owen has no club.
Nearby: EVERTON BOUGHT A PLAYER! Bryan Oviedo, a Costa Rican international who’s spent the last two years living and working in Copenhagen, is now
Liverpool’s most cosmopolitan man. And a useful utility man. In more important Blue-Liverpool news, Merouanne Fellaini stayed. What with Dempsey not joining, there were no big arrivals at Red-Liverpool. There were, though, some huge departures: Andy Carroll joined West Ham on loan; Charlie Adam made a permanent switch to Stoke.
Superficially, neither of these moves makes sense. Sam Allardyce loves to pay lip service to the West Ham tradition – the arrival of Andy Carroll, unceremoniously dumped by West Ham tradition-inheritor Brendan Rogers, gives lie to Big Sam’s seductions. West Ham sign hulking striker doesn’t sound quite right; Allardyce moves for giant, though, fits perfectly. Tony Pulis likes combative central midfield players, but Adam is the Premier League’s worst tackler. He does take a good free-kick, though, and his corners were valued at £10,000,000 by Ferguson a couple of seasons ago. Maybe it makes sense after all; Stoke’s Special Teams could be the ideal place for Scottish football’s pinup boy.
To close on pinup boys, and people being in the right place, it’s only proper to return to Fulham. In what was easily the best news to come out of the sorry tale of brinksmanship, horse-trading and dubious employment practises, Manchester United substitute Dimitar Berbatov reunited with Martin Jol (what a pair!). Finally, English football’s most glorious talent will be flaunted. And flaunted, appropriately too, in a glorious setting on the banks of the
Thames which has been home to Johnny Haynes, Bobby Moore and, most aptly of all, Gorgeous Georgie Best. Yes!