Joe Cole? He's got his favourite number on 26 his shirt again, and has made the short hop over the channel to France, joining league champions Lille on loan for the rest of the season. Poor old Joe Cole - one of our favourite players here at The Frustrated Footballer, despite his obvious skill. Joey's got what Liverpool aint this season - Champions League football. French football is on the up again. Not because of Joe Cole, well not entirely because of Joe Cole. On a perhaps more sour note, Lille had failed in bids for Chu Young-Park and Yossi Benayoun before landing Cole. Hopefully England's forgotten playmaker will find his feet in France, get a lot of games, and rediscover the form that made him one of the most exciting talents in english football - what? 10 YEARS AGO? MORE? Christ!
Liverpool. Yes, they offloaded a load of old tat from their wage bill (Although are reportedly still paying 60% of J. Cole's dollars) getting rid of bit-part no-marks such as David "Wash" Ngog and Christian Poulsen, but the loss of Raul Meireles to Chelsea will be felt. Meireles was bought a year ago for £11.5M and moved on for just £500,000 more - having settled into the English culture and style of football, and also having played really well in pre-season and early season substitute appearances. Admittedly Liverpool have a glut of central midfielders at the moment after signing several platyers over the summer, but I doubt that Meireles was on Kenny's list of players to go, however once a transfer request was handed in yesterday, Dalglish must've known that his head had been turned. Villas-Boas knows Meireles from their time together at Porto, and has strengthened Chelsea's squad with the addition of his compatriot.
Arsenal. The Gunners needed to buy, and buy well. The 8-2 result against rivals Manchester United merely crystallised thoughts at the Emirates. After losing Fabregas and Manchester City to European and domestic opposition. It was imperative for Arsene Wenger to bring some good players in - some even said that his job was under threat. Benayoun on loan is a great, risk free signing. It was tohught for a while that Yossi would finally get the minutes on pitch his talent deserves with the arrival of Villas-Boas, but no - he seems to be another of those players similar to the game's mega-stars but just below in terms of talent, and far below in terms of reputation. Example: What can Luca Modric do that Yossi Benayoun can't? Not much. Yet one was the subject of some of the summers most intense speculation, and the other was tarted about on deadline day to whomever would have him. He's a great player with that elusive quality of creative vision, Arsenal's strikers will relish playing in front of him - Torres will miss him dearly.
Arteta is perhaps less good business from Arsenal's point of view. £10M for a player who is nearly 30, who has won the grand total of fuck-all in English football (And at the time he won the treble with Rangers my dad could've done it) and who has never been able to break into the admittedly great Spanish national side. He was out for 12 months following a knee ligament injury, and once the rumours of a rejected £4M bid the day before are considered, it's a big risk.
Arsenal also needed to bolster their defence (Alongside their attack and midfield - chortle) and did so with relatively unknown Brazilian left-back Andre Santos from Fenerbahce and Per Mertesacker, the solid but slow 75 capper from Werder Bremen who was by far the least exciting thing about Germany's exciting World Cup campaign.
The jury is still out on new Arsenal NUMBER NINE Young Park. I guess if you want to sell shirts, an attractive number will help shift a few more. To be fair, his internaitonal scoring record isn't too shabby - 17 in 53, so yeah - jury is out.
Owen Hargreaves. On the one hand, a move to a top four club must be unexpected for him, and he's not to blame for taking it, fitness worries and all things considered. Fair play Owen, fair play.
On the other hand, Manchester United paid with time, energy and a fair amount of cold hard cash for Hargreaves successive breakdowns and regenerations, and he repays them by joining their local rivals - who now have the added spice of being very realistic title rivals too. Poor form Owen, poor form.
QPR. Having earlier secured the services of midfield land-shark Joey Barton, QPR had to sign some more quality if only to keep him happy. Warnock and the money men duly delivered Shaun Wright-Phillips who may just find his level here, and similarly Anton Ferdinand is a good signing. Expected to strengthen again in January, Warnock's squad now has the essential characteristic of 'not one of the worst three in the division' which will be an important factor in keeping them up. Keeping hold of talismanic playmaker Adel Tarrabt can be considered their best bit of business by far.
Jermaine Beckford. He wasn't that bad was he? After his FA Cup heroics for Leeds United against Manchester United and Tottenham, Everton looked to have pulled off a coup by signing the former Chelsea youth player. 8 goals in 32 league games in a step up season isn't awful - including a solo winner against former academy club Chelsea. Yet Everton decided he was surplus to requirements and flogged him to Championship side Leicester for a fee estimated at £3-4M. Perhaps he is the new Michael Chopra. Perhaps, as a free signing, his wages were comparitively high and his value on the transfer market proved to much of a tmeptation to the cash strapped Toffeemen.
Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham. A flurry of deadline day deals saw several promising young talents loaned to lesser clubs seeking first team experience. I've often wondered how these young chaps are treated by seasoned pros at their adopted club. Nothing short of a heady cocktail of jealousy and contempt I imagine. Gael Katuka and Henri Lansbury will be leaping over training ground tackles for the rest of the season, whilst at the other end of the loan spectrum; Jermaine Jenas, David Bentley and Nicklas Bendtner will be looking to secure permanent moves after being shipped out to Villa, West Ham and Sunderland respectively.
Whoever the fuck decided that Sky Sports News should ever this be important. Never in the history of football transfer has so much been rumoured, so many times, in such short time.
This is nice though...
Stoke. Alright paying £10M for animated stick insect isn't the best of business, but in fairness only matches the trend of English clubs having to pay over the odds for English players - sort of anti-protectionist for those who are fans of economic and political history. But with the acquisition of Peter Crouch, and Wilson Palacios too, Tony Pulis' long term project moves on. A solid top ten team may be knocking on the Europa League door very soon.
Scott Dann. Moving from Birmingham City to Blackburn. Hmm....
You don't get any medals for being relegated do you? So that means he'll win one less that last year. Not a good move for the highly rated young Englishman.
Martin Jol. The Fulham boss managed to convince hot-prospect Bryan Riz to sign for them on dealine day. A former target of both Tottenham and Asenal, Ruiz was in talks with Newscastle on deadline day, but plumped for the smaller London club citing his admiration for former Ajax boss Jol. Ruiz was FC Twente's top scorer when they won their first ever Eredivisie title in 2009-10 under Schteve McLaren.
Manchester United. The Champions lorded it over all beneath them by not making a single move on deadline day. Magnificently inactive.