This year’s transfer window has blown every other monetised sporting moment out of the water. With the sale of Brazilian forward Neymar for some £200 million, the money hoses of every European club were blown wide open…
The speculations have been rife, the rumours have been questionable, the money has been baffling. Whether it was Rooney’s triumphant return to boyhood club Everton, Kyle Walker’s move to Manchester City or Chelsea’s inability to sign anyone of any real importance – the last few months of transfer activity has been as barmy as it has been brilliant. Everton collected a super cast of new players. City signed every young full back imaginable (splurging some £150 million). Arsenal managed to start strong (sound familiar?) but inevitably end abysmally. What a transfer window this has been.
The ‘Prize Bull Award’ for the Best Signing: Romelu Lukaku, Manchester United.
It may be a clichéd choice but it can’t be denied that Lukaku was a key signing of 2017. No longer the big fish at Everton, the Belgian striker has looked more than comfortable whilst playing for the Red Devils, having already netted three in his first three BPL games. Judging by last season’s stonking tally of twenty-five goals, there could be much more to follow. He wasn’t particularly pricey either. Mourinho got Lukaku at a snip for just 75 million as players like Dembele and Mbappe were priced at well over £100 million. A class signing on all fronts.
Honourable Mentions: Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton), Mo Salah (Liverpool), Tiemoue Bakayoko (Chelsea).
Lukaku with last year’s money man – Paul Pogba
The ‘Bank Manager Award’ for the best loan deal: Renato Sanches, Swansea.
This could have easily won the ‘What the Fucking hell is going on here award’ but I don’t have that because I’m classy and I don’t swear. That aside, Portuguese international Renato Sanches, couldn’t have imagined that he would end up playing his football in a grizzly, grey welsh town, at the wrong end of the table. Especially having been given the Golden Boy Award just last year. Nicknamed ‘the Bull’ for his strength, Renato Sanches is still only 20 and full of skill and determination. This centre midfield player could prove vital for Swansea this season.
Honourable Mentions: Tammy Abraham (Swansea), Kurt Zouma (Stoke City), Timothy Fosuh-Mensah (Crystal Palace).
The ‘What the Fucking hell is going on here Award’ for the most bizarre transfer saga: Danny Drinkwater (Chelsea).
One of the charms of the transfer window is the relentless turning of the rumour mill. The ever growing stories of players wanting to leave and clubs chasing acquisitions, it stokes our fire. Thankfully most rumours and or speculation and or vain attempts never come to fruition. Sadly some do. Why Chelsea would suddenly have a desire for an average one season wonder is beyond me but their desperate last minute bid for Leicester’s Danny Drinkwater paid off, with the twenty-seven-year-old signing as the hours of deadline day ebbed away. I wonder if the contract included a designated seat on the bench for the next three years.
Honourable Mentions: Everyone to Manchester United, Sanchez to Manchester City, Barkley to Chelsea, Arsenal’s bid for Lemar, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool).
Swapping Matic for Drinkwater has raised a few eyebrows
The ‘Storage Hunters Award’ for the best transfer bargain: Serge Aurier, Tottenham.
Nowadays £23 million pounds is likely to get you a player with two left feet and the pace of a potato. Somehow Tottenham were able to sign a world-class full-back for the same sum. Full of the pace, strength and wing-playing ability, so sought after in modern full-backs, Aurier is the bargain of bargains for this transfer window. In desperate need of a replacement for Kyle Walker and under increasing pressure for their lack of activity, Spurs snuck in a flurry of signings as the window shut. Aurier may have a host of previous discipline issues whilst at PSG but they are eclipsed by his stats. He is certainly worth a lot more than what Pochettino paid for him.
Honourable Mentions: Nemanja Matic (Manchester United), Chicharito Hernandez (West Ham United), Jermain Defoe (Bournemouth).
The ‘Wooden Spoon Award’ for the worst transfer window: Arsenal.
Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear. Arsenal brought in French international Alexandre Lacazette, early doors, then proceeded to do absolutely nothing. Sanchez, intent on leaving the club, flirted with the Citizens before agreeing to stay. Whilst keeping him was a victory, Arsenal completed no other major business. Left-back Kolasinic, technically, arrived at the club in January, and, just before it shut, Oxlade Chamberlain left for Merseyside. Not to mention the fact that Sanchez will now leave the club on a free at the season’s end.
Honourable Mentions: Chelsea, Newcastle United, Southampton.
Jack Whilshere played his part in Arsenal’s rubbish window
The ‘Are you still here? Award’ for the player who should have been sold: Jack Wilshere, Arsenal.
I hate to undermine Arsenal again but if one player should have been sent packing it was Jack Wilshere. Now that everyone has come to the conclusion that he isn’t a wonder kid but is, in fact, total dog shit, it has become impossible to offload the midfield player. After his loan spell at Bournemouth, Italian club Torino didn’t even see the point in shelling out £6 million pounds to bring him to Turin. Just last week Wilshere was sent off in an Arsenal under-23 game for violent conduct, proving that he is still a disgrace.
Honourable Mentions: Diego Costa (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Alberto Moreno (Liverpool).