Harry Redknapp was hot, adjusting his tie and easing the collar that choked his rather saggy neck as it overhung onto his lapel that was trying to present a man as dignifying, despite the fact any dignity he had left was wiped out when his defence of tax evasion was practically illiteracy. Whilst this was all very believable – and becomes more logical when one notices how infrequent Roman Pavlyuchenko is in Spurs’ match day squads having heard Harry tell the courts he can’t “write [and] couldn’t even fill a team sheet in” – it is somewhat disputable considering he writes a column for The Sun. That’s another thing that was hot in the January Transfer Window: the sun.
Not as hot as Harry Redknapp was Roberto Mancini: up until January – ignoring their failure to qualify from the group stages of the Champions League – Manchester City were as hot as Harry Redknapp writing his column for The Sun on the sun; however, since then, they’ve slumped back into a metaphorical armchair from their once proud straight back posture and have begun to go stale. Ivory Coast’s illustrious AFCON campaign so far, which has resulted in three victories, five goals and three clean sheets, isn’t helping matters.
But, which club was hot and which club was not, when it came to the main attraction of the January Transfer Window 2012: signings?
When club chief executive Robert Elstone released a blog detailing the club’s finance to a depth in which he felt “no other Premier League club has done before,” the prospect of January transfers any more exciting than £600k Darron Gibson quickly evaporated like beads of sweat on Sir Alex Ferguson’s red forehead when he sees his side score another winning goal in the 567th minute of injury time.
Yet, when Diniyar Bilyaletdinov left Everton for Spartak Moscow, for what the BBC reported as £5m on January 29th, it looked as if Everton might be able to buy having sold. With two days left until the Transfer Window slammed shut, consequentially leaving glass shards all over the floor for Wayne Bridge to come along and sweep up as part of his new role as housemaid at The Stadium of Light, The Toffees had to move fast. With the pace of Louis Saha, oh what? He went to Tottenham on a free transfer? Okay, with the pace of Royston Drenthe, Everton sweetened up Tottenham with aforementioned French goal machine – if 2000/01 was yesterday – making financial space on their wage budget for ex-Everton winger Steven Pienaar, leaving White Lane through the door still swinging from Saha’s arrival and entering through the equally moving entrance at Goodison Park. Then, Everton robbed Rangers and the SPL of their top scorer Nikica Jelavic for a fee of £5.5m. Suddenly, further compounded by their 1-0 victory of Roberto Mancini’s Toure-less Manchester City, Everton look better positioned to equal last year’s finish of 7th.
Not content with picking on Manchester United as the side that didn’t even reach lukewarm in January – it would be unfair, Fergie isn’t keen on the window of rash decisions – and deciding that Manchester City’s lack of spending is counterbalanced by their superfluous spending of previous windows, I have settled with Tottenham Hotspurs as my team of 0 degrees for transfer activity.
Whilst it would be unfair to simply categorise Spurs as the men with the chilly willies purely because they spent not a single penny on transfer fees – neither of the top three did – the nature of their signings, further highlighted by the transfer activity out of the club, are rather lacklustre.
In Louis Saha, a man who has scored a grand total of 8 goals in 18 months of football, and Ryan Nelsen, the only New Zealander to kick a ball in the Premier League this season and then only in the one appearance he’s been subject to, Harry Redknapp has fully lived up to expectations of being a top quality wheeler-dealer and provider of excitement in the Window, has he not?
No, he hasn’t.
His January activity has seen Spurs sign two players on free transfers with an average age of 33.5-years old: it sounds a bit like the January window you’d expect of a spotty teenager with poor financial control of his Football Manager career. Further mystifying, is the related transfer activity elsewhere at White Hart Lane: in Ryan Nelsen, they’ve signed a defender who is 34 and has only made one appearance this season in a team in the relegation zone. Meanwhile, Vedran Corluka and Sebastien Bassong, also defenders, leave on loan to the Bundesliga and Wolves respectively. Louis Saha is expected to become the cover for the dead on certain departure of Roman Pavlychenko and that could be seen as a justification; however, when Spurs can already boast Emmanuel Adebayor Jermaine Defoe, Cameron Lancaster and have chosen to loan out Harry Kane, it’s hard to find justification for the signing of a striker that spends the majority of the time injured and has only scored one goal this season. As his arrival will undoubtedly stunt Lancaster’s playing time in the first team, a counterintuitive practice as Lancaster will need as much of it as he can get as a young blossoming striker, I can only presume Harry’s signed Saha for the ease of spelling: three letters.