The Diary of a Transfer Window: the end is nigh

Papiss Cisse is along for the ride

It’s squeaky bum time for me at the moment as the transfer window door edges closer to slamming shut (sorry SSN). To be honest I will be glad to see the back of it, but I do have to admit that it has not been that bad this time around. It has actually been pretty boring, much to others dismay, to my delight as I revel in the fact that my glory hunting mates have not had an big money signings arrive at their shiny Premier League clubs. The moaning and debate continues ‘why haven’t we signed a striker? It is clear we need one’ that is the usual retort from Liverpool and Tottenham fans.

Manchester United fans love to continue to speculate that they are due to sign some world-class midfielder, despite the return of Scholes. The reality is Alex Ferguson will not do business during January…but you just can’t stop the talk that Sneijder is on the next plane to Manchester airport – not a chance. My mates that support Arsenal, a club I like to call the ‘Premier League’s Watford’ (due to the lack of atmosphere at games and reliance on youth development), still seem to think they need half a team, they probably do despite a spirited display against Manchester United. I agree they do need a striker after seeing the league table, minus the goals of van Persie – it made pretty grim reading, let’s hope he doesn’t get injured!

Meanwhile for me and the legions of Watford fans, we have had to suffer the fact that Premier League surprise package Newcastle United (Whey aye man) are after our Mr dependable, Adrian Mariappa. There was a time young Mariappa was an under-valued bit part player, but now he is our defensive lynchpin and the captain of our side. So far we have scoffed in the face of Newcastle’s derisory bid, which Sean Dyche described as a bid so far away from Watford’s valuation his ‘son’s got more money in his money box’, rather witty from Sean there. As we brace for more bids…cue Brendan Rodgers.

It does hack me off that in a market of inflated prices, Premier League clubs think they can pay under the odds for lowers league talent. Dyche was right in saying that such players should be valued compared to previous fees paid for the likes of centre-back Matt Mills (£5.5m) and Connor Wickham (£8m?) who are of similar quality to both Mariappa and Marvin Sordell. Premier League clubs think they can pay upfront fees of under £1m and the rest in add-ons, well sorry, but a bit part cheap player to you, is a top player for us. Mike Williamson is a perfect example of this.

I am still clinging to the dim hope that we are able to bring in a quality striker and also a winger. We have once again been stung by a loan move that has gone well and just as the player starts to gel and improve us, he leaves. It has just happened with Kightly and it happened before with both Andrew Taylor and more relevantly Adam Johnson. But enough of the troubles of a Watford fan, what else has been happening?

Well a few players have been moving to Premier League sides  since my last blog so let’s recap starting with Robbie Keane joining Villa on loan. Not a bad signing as they are short on strikers, but in all honesty I probably would have slagged him off before he had scored two great goals last weekend. I can’t see him scoring too many more and you know Villa must be short on cash if they are already talking about moving for this 31-year-old permanently how longs he got?

Talking of Villa strikers, apparently Blackburn new signing Anthony Modeste is France’s answer to Emile Heskey, but he could do alright, however he is hardly the revolutionary signing Steve Kean was promising to bring in once we reached January, but none of this windows signings are. Take Tim Ream, Gary Cahill’s replacement at Bolton, this is one player who has been spoken about in glowing terms by fellow pro’s, but fans and pundits have been less enthused about his arrival on both sides of the pond. MLS fans have said they don’t think he is particularly ready for the Premier League, English fans know little about him. The good thing is, physically he will be able to compete, the question will be whether he gets an early bout of Titus Bramble syndrome and makes the odd mistake or seven – if he doesn’t he could survive.

Newcastle have probably done the best bit of business in making their striker force a real handful by adding Ba’s Senegal compatriot Papiss Cisse to their squad. To pick up a striker with his goal-to-game ratio for only £10m is a great bit of business. If he progresses the same way as Ba then they should have a quality player on their hands, if not he will become another average striker who just can’t cut it in the Premier League. Norwich signed Jonny Howson from Leeds, I have seen him play a few times and was one of the top Championship midfielders probably over the past 18 months. For the money he is probably my favourite signing, IF he fulfils his potential.

QPR have been busy boys since Sparky arrived. They have missed out on a couple of targets, one a typical Brazilian unknown, Henrique, that everyone suddenly becomes an expert on and labels as  the ‘next Pele/Pato/Ronaldo’. The other, Alex who they couldn’t agree terms with as he probably didn’t fancy crossing the divide to the less glamourous side of west London. Taye Taiwo should do ok, I mean Milan signed him for god’s sake, at worst I am sure he must be better than Armand Traore! Nedum Onuoha is a competitor, but hasn’t really had enough experience for us to know how good he can be, but from what I have seen, and for the fee, he looks a decent signing. What does get up my nose is the reports of £80k p/w wages, I mean what has he done to justify that? The Premier League is out of control if that is true.

Talking of wages let’s get on to Tevez who is struggling for a club. The fact he hasn’t played for 6 months and that City want £30m seem to have messed up any potential moves for the Argentine. His questionable attitude must come in to play and we have seen an attempt at a PR clean up this week as the story was told about how he waived his wages since he went AWOL to the tune of £9.7m. Well Carlos mate, IF I DIDN’T TURN UP FOR WORK I WOULDN’T BE GETTING PAID EITHER!

Right, I am off to stick pins in my Alan pardew voodoo doll in the hope he reads this, feels a prick and doesn’t sign our captain! See you for my final chapter next week. Come on you ‘Orns for tonight, please let there be an atmosphere!

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