With megabucks Manchester City lavishing millions on new players over summer it was left to the rest of the clubs in the Premier League to bring some much-needed stability and sanity to the transfer market. Below Football FanCast runs through the top ten deals of the transfer window, taking into account a player’s price, ability and potential in these recessionary times.
Despite the hefty price tag at £24m, the highly-talented David Silva can transform Manchester City from Europa League competitors to Premier League contenders this season. The support striker has the creativity and flair to unlock those mean, stubborn defences and the Spaniard has his best years ahead of him at the age of 24.
After four successful years in the Valencia first-team, clocking up over 100 appearances, Silva finally made his move to England this summer after previously being courted by the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool. Silva also has 39 caps for Spain and looks set to make a big impact this season.
As a product of France’s highly regarded Clairefontaine academy, which has produced the likes of Louis Saha, William Gallas and Thierry Henry; Hatem Ben Arfa is considered to be one of the hottest talents in French football today.
Newcastle secured the 23-year-old winger on a season-long loan from Marseille after Ben Arfa went on strike in a desperate bid to leave the Stade Velodrome following a series of fall-outs. Ben Arfa is a mercurial talent and if manager Chris Houghton can help him overcome his disciplinary problems then The Magpies could reap the benefits this season.
Landing fast and powerful Moroccan forward Marouane Chamakh on a free transfer from Ligue 1 side Bordeaux was an astute piece of business by Frenchman Arsene Wenger this summer.
The 26-year-old scored 56 goals in 230 appearances for FCGB, helping the club win their first league title in ten years in 2009. Wenger said at the time:
“I know he will provide our squad with great quality.”
Aston Villa received £16m, as well as Man City’s 2008/09 Player of the Year Stephen Ireland, in exchange for England international James Milner and The Villa certainly got a good deal. Ireland has a point to prove after being frozen out by Roberto Mancini at Eastlands and will be raring to go this season.
The passionate midfielder will add extra bite to the Villa midfield and at 23 will look to improve his all-round game at the Midlands club.
Sunderland sprang one of the biggest surprises on deadline day by breaking their transfer record to capture the signature of World Cup star Asamoah Gyan. The 24-year-old lit up the tournament with some eye-catching displays for Ghana’s Black Stars on their spectacular run to the quarter-finals.
Gyan’s World Cup performances has clearly pushed up the player’s transfer fee and at £13m represents a slight risk for Black Cats boss Steve Bruce. However if Gyan can recapture the form he showed over the summer than Sunderland fans are in for a real treat.
Continued on Page TWO
5. Eidur Gudjohnsen, Stoke
Stoke secured the improbable signature of experienced Icelandic striker Eidur Gudjohnsen on loan from Monaco as part of a triple transfer treat for Potters fans on deadline day.
The 31-year-old clinical forward spent the second-half of last season on loan at Tottenham where he made a handful of appearances for Harry Redknapp’s Champions League chasing side. Gudjohnsen has plenty of experience having played for Barcelona, Chelsea and Bolton and represents a real coup for Tony Pulis as the club look to improve on last season’s 11th placed finish.
Birmingham managed to pull off a deadline day coup by securing former Arsenal star Alexander Hleb on a season-long loan from reigning Spanish champions Barcelona. The attacking midfielder moved to Catalonia in 2008 for £11.8m but failed to establish himself as a first-team regular under Pep Guardiola.
Having spent last season on loan at his former club Stuttgart, Hleb was keen on a return to the Premier League. The 29-year-old was a massive hit with The Gunners and is sure to have Blues fans on the edge of their seat this season.
3. Joe Cole, Liverpool
Joe Cole arrived as Roy Hodgson’s first summer signing at Liverpool on a free transfer. After failing to win a new contract with champions Chelsea, Cole will be determined to prove his worth at Anfield this season.
Cole has bags of ability and has been welcomed with open arms on Merseyside. Liverpool could be the right club for Cole to re-establish himself as an England regular under the guidance of Hodgson this season.
2. Javier Hernandez, Manchester United
Mexican livewire Javier Hernandez is a fantastic prospect after impressing at the World Cup and in pre-season for United this summer.
Sir Alex Ferguson believes the club saved over £10m by signing him before he hit the headlines with his excellent performances at the World Cup and ‘Chicharito’ has wasted no time in establishing himself at Old Trafford. Signed for around £10m from Mexican side Guadalajara, Hernandez looks to be another impressive signing by Sir Alex.
1. Rafael van der Vaart, Tottenham Hotspur
Spurs pulled off the shock of the transfer window by landing Dutch maestro Rafael van der Vaart for £8m, with just two hours left of the transfer window. Reportedly heading to Bayern Munich for £18m the day before, manager Harry Redknapp rushed through a cut-price deal after his proposed move to Germany collapsed.
The 27-year-old Holland international helped his country reach the World Cup final this summer but was deemed surplus to requirements by new manager Jose Mourinho at the Bernabeu. Transfer deadline day certainly isn’t over until Harry Redknapp says it is.