When Sir Alex Ferguson said there was no value in the transfer market many believed him to be taking a swipe at his Manchester rivals’ spectacular spending sprees. Others believed him to be using it as an excuse to shy away from United’s increasing financial qualms, but perhaps he was right. This past month has seen clubs in the Premier League deem it vital to splurge on a foray of attacking talent, taking spending to a record £225 million, the largest figure since the introduction of the January transfer window in 2003. For once, since their takeover in 2008, oil-rich Manchester City did not grab the headlines; rather it was two of the long established “top four” who dominated the back pages. Chelsea forked out £50 million on Fernando Torres, who has so far this season scored nine goals in 26 appearances. A fee which seems rather hefty given his infamous injury problems and poor form this season. It has to be said however that Torres, when fit and on form, is one of the best strikers in the world – whether he can stay fit is another matter. Chelsea fans will be hoping that their new number nine will finally be able to win his first major piece of silverware in club football with them.
As Fernando Torres left Anfield for Stamford Bridge Liverpool were quick to sign his replacement. Newcastle and England’s highly talented, yet largely unproven striker Andy Carroll joined for a staggering £35 million. It is a fee which Carroll has the potential to live up to (especially in this market) but one which will add heaps of pressure onto the troublesome Geordie’s shoulders. As well as Carroll, Liverpool shelved out £22.8 million on Uruguayan striking sensation Luis Suarez. Although the twenty-four year old arrives with an impressive goal-scoring record of 81 in 110 appearances for Dutch side Ajax. Statistics which earned him Ajax Player of the Year two years consecutively (2008-09 and 2009-10) and also Dutch Footballer of the Year and Eredivisie top scorer for the 2009-10 season. Add those accolades to his IFFHS (International Federation of Football History & Statistics) World’s Top Scorer award and Liverpool have signed what appears to be a sensational footballer.
|Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez, Liverpool’s two new signings costing over £50 million.
Whilst Manchester City did not hit the headlines like previous transfer windows they did bolster their attacking line with the arrival of £27 million Bosnian goal-assassin Edin Dzeko. The 6ft3in 24 year old bagged 66 goals in 111 appearances for Wolfsburg, helping them top the Bundesliga in the 2008-09 season. Dzeko was named Bosnian Footballer of the Year twice (in 2009 and 2010), was the top scorer in the Bundesliga in the 2009-10 season with 22 goals and finished in 13th place for the Ballon d’Or in 2009. With those impressive credentials Manchester City fans will be hoping that he will be able to help them to at least a top four finish this season and perhaps next season fire them to the top of the Premier League.
Arguably the surprise spenders in the January window were Gerard Houllier’s Aston Villa. After a shocking first few months of the season Villa found themselves struggling near the foot of the table, and the pressure began to grow on the ex-Liverpool manager. However, after a last-gasp equaliser at Stamford Bridge, Villa began to turn a corner and slowly started to move up the table. Houllier however has spent a significant amount on striker Darren Bent – signed from Sunderland for £24 million – a fee which many believe to be extortionate. Whilst Bent’s goal-scoring record is rather impressive (32 goals in 58 games for Sunderland), £24 million on a player who, it has often been said, cannot quite deliver on the big stage is a bit of a risk. After 3 appearances for Villa thus far, scoring 2 goals it is a risk that may just pay off.
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