There was, as expected, plenty of deadline-day craziness, and while there are several deals to report, I’ll start by talking about the deal that didn’t happen, and one that did, at the same time.
With Manchester City coming in for Benjani, Portsmouth went about looking for a replacement, and found one in Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe.
While Defoe was able to wrap up his deal before the deadline, things went a little bit differently for Benjani and City.
There weren’t any issues with the fee (9 million pounds) or the work permit (granted), but Benjani didn’t arrive at City’s training ground headquarters until an hour before the deadline, and time ran out before the deal could be finished.
Now, the easiest thing for anyone to do right now would be to laugh hysterically or shake your head, unless you’re Sven-Goran Eriksson, Benjani, or Portsmouth.
If you’re Sven, you’re pissed, maybe not so much because of this particular deal falling through (I’ll expound upon this shortly), but because you tried to sign about 25 strikers and only got one, though I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with Felipe Caicedo, as he might turn out to be a City star.
Granted, the fact that both parties were waiting on one another to get their respective deals done in time created a little bit of a problem, but Portsmouth did the smart thing and got the deal for Defoe done in time, just to make sure they weren’t left high and dry.
Unfortunately, the fact that the deal didn’t get done means that the money for the transfer is going to have to come from somewhere else, as Benjani’s move was going to finance the Defoe swoop.
So, Benjani has to go back to Portsmouth, where his spot in the starting XI might no longer be guaranteed, with Pompey having signed two strikers in the last several days. He did net a hat trick against Derby recently, but he’s gotten goals in only 3 of his last 16 starts, so Harry Redknapp might be glad that he has options now in case the well starts running dry again with the streaky Zimbabwean hit-man.
If you’re Defoe, you might be wondering ‘Oh shit, what did I get myself into?’ as I’m sure he doesn’t want to just be a super-sub/part-time starter all over again.
But, I’d bet that his chances of cracking Portsmouth’s starting lineup on a regular basis are much better than at Tottenham, where his chances of being getting past Keane or Berbatov were almost slim to none, unless one got injured, or he started scoring hat tricks every time he came on for his late second-half runouts.
Defoe does have his streaky tendencies as well, but having a change of scenery/renewed enthusiasm and hope/a new, but familiar face at manager might do wonders for what he does on the pitch from here on. There’s also the matter of him getting back his place in the England squad as well, so we might be seeing one determined Defoe, but if he justifies the fee Pompey paid for him will depend on him and him only.
If you’re Old ‘Arry, you don’t have to worry about about having enough strikers while Kanu and John Utaka are away at the African Cup of Nations.
Now when they get back, that’s another issue entirely…
Does anyone have David Nugent’s address? It would be nice for us to send him our sympathies.
Now, if you’re City, you might be wanting a do-over right now, after the final week of the January transfer window didn’t go so well for them.
Then again, given the aforementioned streakiness, they might be better off having spent just the 5 million on Caicedo, and seeing if he can live up to his great potential.
Or, they might be wishing they had gotten their hands on Afonso Alves, who’s finally, finally, finally!!! (for extra effect) a Middlesbrough player, after his 12 million pound deal was wrapped up on deadline day.
Boro, however, lost out on promising Inter forward Goran Slavkovski, who will be moving to Championship side Sheffield United on loan instead of Boro, which was his expected destination.
The biggest deal of the day might not be either of those, and it might not even be done either, as Liverpool had supposedly wrapped up the permanent signing of Javier Mascherano. They all but have, but everything’s not signed on the dotted line for now. The number being tossed about for the deal to be made permanent was 18.6 million pounds, just a shade higher than the 17 million that had been previously mentioned as the necessary price to tie him up.
After Nottingham Forest went in for Dundee United’s Barry Robson, Celtic acted swiftly and got their man, bringing in the goal-scoring midfielder in a deal that will see 1.25 million pounds and Celtic’s Jim O’Brien (on loan) go the other way.
Manchester United were quiet during January, with the exception of Angolan striker Manucho, who has impressed at the African Cup of Nations thus far, scoring three goals in helping his country advance to the quarterfinals. When the 24-year old gets back to Europe, he’ll be heading to Greece, where he’ll play for Panathinaikos, who United have loaned him out to until the end of the season.
Fulham have signed veteran Finnish striker Jari Litmanen to add a little punch and experience to their front line. Don’t expect him to score as many goals as his current age, but I’m sure he’s still got a few left in him, otherwise Roy Hodgson wouldn’t have gone in for him.
They have also signed another Finn, in defender Toni Kallio, and they’ve also snapped up Tottenham’s Paul Stalteri, who can play either in defense or midfield.
The Cottagers have also allowed midfielder Steve Davis go to Rangers on loan for the rest of the season, even though Davis had been a starter for the side all season long.
Tottenham have signed Hertha Berlin defender Gilberto for an undisclosed fee, after reports that there’d been issues with the 31-year old Brazilian’s medical.
Derby have signed Everton’s Alan Stubbs to bolster their defense, with the 36-year old center back signing an 18-month deal to link up with Paul Jewell’s Rams.
Meanwhile, Everton have signed Tottenham center back Anthony Gardner on loan until the end of the season.
Lazio have signed Newcastle’s David Rozehnal on loan for the remainder of the season, and yes, Magpies fans, he may not be coming back, so you can celebrate just a little. Now, as for the others, well, it’s a little late.
On the same front, Newcastle failed in their bid to sign Czech starlet Lubos Kalouda, as they and FC Brno could not finalize the transfer quickly enough.
I’m not done yet! Wigan have signed Norway international defender Erik Hagen on loan from Zenit St. Petersburg for the rest of the season. The 32-year old has 24 caps and two goals for his country, and is known for a very aggressive playing style.
Bolton signed Southampton striker Grzegorz Rasiak, but came up empty in their 7 million pound bid for Reading’s Leroy Lita. 7 million seems a little high for Lita right now, considering the striker has all of one goal this season, but I suppose Steve Coppell wants to see what Lita does between now and the end of the season before seeing if he wants to cut his losses or hold on to him.
And, for the final run through from the month of January, so you best enjoy it…Aston Villa’s deal for American goalkeeper Brad Guzan fell through because his work permit was rejected, as he doesn’t have enough international appearances…Werder Bremen have signed Schalke’s out of favor midfielder Mesut Ozil for 5 million euros…Hamburg SV have signed Blackburn’s 18-year old midfielder Mamadi Keita on a two and a half year deal, bringing the former Germany youth international back home…Hertha Berlin have signed Southampton’s Rudi Skacel on loan…Osasuna have signed Alaves midfielder Martin Astudillo on loan for the rest of the season…Brescia have beaten Rangers to the signature of striker Andrea Caracciolo, who returns to the club he played for from 2001-02 and 2003-05.
And with that, the January transfer window is now CLOSED.