So, it’s February 1st. No! It’s not 2 weeks to Valentines Day you cretins, it is officially the end of the January transfer window. The window where there are more threats, innuendos, soap opera plots and player borrowing than actual transfers. It’s still a spot of fun though so always we bring you yet another Top 10. They're all loan moves by the way.
10. Lewis Holtby and Wilfred Zaha (loans to Fulham & Cardiff respectively)
Talk about hoping for Alicia Keys and getting Whoopi Goldberg, Lewis Holtby had hoped to move back home to Schalke. Problem is he could only move if Arsenal managed to prize Schalke’s crown jewel Julian Draxler away. Cue the rumours that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy blocked Holty’s ‘dream move’ -(I say ‘dream move’ because Schalke to Spurs was his dream move a year & a half ago)- just so eternal rivals Arsenal couldn’t get Draxler. Handbags, right?
|Who is Ryan Gosling and who's Lewis Holtby? Right?|
Anyhow, Holtby had to go somewhere so he chose Fulham, where he will undoubtedly be the most handsome player at the club (John Arne Risse won't really provide competition). Apparently Naser Chadli had taken this title at Spurs.
Wilfred Zaha – the next Giggs, Christiano Ronaldo, George Best, Nani etc- meanwhile has been jettisoned on loan to Wales without being given much of a look in by David Moyes. Presumably, Wales is far enough for his teenage eyes to wander to a girl who’s not David’s daughter. Moyes will hope out of sight is out of mind. Though one has to assume the girl looks nothing like the dad otherwise Zaha has bigger problems than his stalled football career!
|"hey dad. Guess who's coming to dinner.."|
9. Diego (Wolfsburg to Atletico Madrid - loan)
I know what you are thinking. Which Diego? The one nicknamed the ‘White Pele’ earlier in his career? The one who, with Robinho at Santos, was touted as the future of Brazilian football? The one whom Juventus bought to bring spice to their midfield? The answer to all those questions is YES. Football’s forgotten man is moving back to Atleti where his European adventure started. If ever there was a team where he can rejuvenate his career, it is Atletico.
8.Pablo Daniel Osvaldo (Southampton to Juventus – loan)
|Osvaldo being restrained from yet another brain fart.|
Osvaldo is the next in a long line of Italian bad boy forwards. Joining the not so exclusive club whose current leaders are Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano. Despite having the name of a telenovela heartthrob, he showed absolutely no compassion to teammate Jose Fonte in training, smashing his face in with a resounding header butt. There was talk of Fonte picking up a brick but it was denied by all parties.
Needless to say, Osvaldo’s goonery was rewarded with a loan move to the Old Lady, presumably to sit on his arse as Tevez and Llorente bang in the goals; and get enough minutes to earn him a Serie A medal in May! So there is no such thing as karma.
7. Robert Lewandowski (Dortmund to Bayern – free)
Well, this was the worst kept secret in European football. Those of us who are still football purists of course are pained by the fact that Bayern’s uber-capitalism strips the Bundesliga of the competitiveness and therefore drama that is witnessed in the technically inferior Premier League. Also Lewa has had to hire bodyguards to avoid altercations with idiotic BVB fans. I wonder if there is way a deal like (and the Goetze’s) could be kept secret until they actually moved to Bavaria.
6. Dimitar Bebatov (Fulham to Monaco - loan )
The move to the Principality should hopefully lighten up the sulky Bulgarian demeanour. Better weather, finer looking people and NO TAXES!! Berbatov has been brought to replace the injured Radamel Falcao. To summarise, a quick, strong, mobile, agile deadly finisher is being replaced by a slow-mo, sulky footballer who has a really nice first touch. Then again, it can't be that hard to hack it in a league where Pascal Cygan was once the Player of the Year.
Forgive my digressing but one can’t help but feel sorry for – and blame Radamel Falcao for his predicament; he let his agent Jorge Mendes and his partner Peter Kenyon, talk him into moving for the largest available fee (not salary mind you!) because the agency would collect 40% of the fee due to third party ownership. So he moved to a lacklustre team, in a lacklustre league, bereft of Champions League football, all at age 27!! He got injured playing for a third tier team because of Monaco's lack of depth and how much they rely on the star power of him and the likes of James Rodriguez to put away even the most mediocre of teams.
* Bonus ball *
|Neymar and Rosell; shady dealings.|
The Neymar saga meanwhile is keeping things in La Liga interesting seeing as there wasn’t much in terms of movement at the only two clubs that matter in Spain. Madrid newspaper is having a field day; finding little saucy titbits to add to the overall story, tabloid style. It turns out Barca’s squeaky clean image is surely not going to be intact after this but then again; however believed it in the first place is as naive as those who believe Messi is just a humble boy from Rosario who eats his vegetables and says his prayers every night. Clubs and players set up facades for the sake of branding and all. Accept and move...
That is all for part 1. Stay tuned for Part II.. and a review of our panelists pre-season predictions.