We all dream of it as players, managers or fans alike – the perfect partnership between players – but it’s hard to muster. I look forward to some of the proverbial love affairs that the transfer window may have catalysed.
There are one or two deals that stand out for me as ones in which the perfect, or something close to perfect relationship could be formed, maybe most notably Tony Pulis’ capture of ex-Tottenham and fringe (I think is fair to say) England international Peter Crouch.
Although Wilson Palacios does fit in well with the Stoke City squad and is certainly an improvement one could argue that Crouch fits in seamlessly with The Potters unique style of play. Not only do Stoke play to their strengths but it would seem they too play to Crouch’s strengths which makes Pulis’ acquisition of the tall forward all the more wise.
Pulis hasn’t opted to spend money on last minute signings in a hurried effort to please fans and replace the departed – more on Wenger later – but has signed in Peter Crouch a player who not only looks every bit a Stoke player but that hopefully will improve his front line in terms of finishing and goal scoring ability.
Onto the slightly panicked Arsene Wenger as promised. It’s not an easy task to replace your club captain (Cesc Fabregas) and two previous starlets, although their recent form at Arsenal was in question (Clichy and Nasri) and it seems from the outside that Wenger was rushed into signing players who were available rather than players that he desired, maybe.
I would presume that as Clichy was sold to Manchester City early enough in the window that Wenger highlighted his replacement in Brazilian full back Andre Santos early enough but as the Fabregas and Nasri transfer sagas rumbled on he was left with only days to replace the pair.
Arteta has been linked with a move to Arsenal previously so why has Arsene chosen this window, this season to sign a player who hasn’t been performing to his potential for at least one season if not longer?
Although as mentioned the Spaniard has been linked with Arsenal I feel the reason behind this and to a certain degree the loan signing of Yossi Benayoun from Chelsea were rushed.
Wenger maybe only has himself to blame for the last minute rush although arguably this could be down to the buying clubs Manchester City in Nasri’s case and Barcelona in Fabregas’ case but I don’t wish to suggest that Wenger’s flurry of signings won’t perform for Arsenal – quite the opposite. Both Benayoun and Arteta are fantastic footballers, who boast great feet and defence unearthing movement, so if they manage to click with the likes of Jack Wilshere and Robin Van Persie, Wenger’s signings and Arsenal football club could be a match made in heaven.
But he didn’t stop by addressing Arsenal’s craving for experience and class in midfield – far from it.
Arsene also unveiled his latest attempt at signing an experienced centre back to keep Thomas Vermaelen happy and he may just have succeeded. Per Mertesacker arrives with much experience and equally much expectation one would think. He is a regular in the German national side having notched up 75 appearances and could prove the perfect foil for Vermaelen.
With no mention so far of the North – South divide that our media seems to be obsessed by at present I stay in London and move onto to Spurs, more specifically the love affair that could form at White Hart Lane.
No celebrity relationship scandal here – not of a sexual nature anyway – but one of perfect balance and equally perfect grace, as Spurs boss Harry Redknapp managed to keep his star player Luka Modric and pair him with England international and all round workhorse Scott Parker. Both men are brilliant technical footballers and seem to offer something which the other needs.
Parker’s hard work, tackling and tracking ability paired with Modric’s vision, passing and movement will prove menacing in the middle of the park for Tottenham and may well be the difference between a decent season and something quite special.
But not every transfer can end with two entities intertwining seamlessly to great effect entangled in each other’s arms (this isn’t Shakespeare after all).
This is football and some transfers will go wrong.
Although I am a massive fan of attacking midfielder Raul Meireles and his goal scoring ability I simply can’t see how he will fit into the Chelsea starting eleven when at full strength. The Portuguese goalscorer was most effective last season for Liverpool when he resided behind the striker by picking up loose balls and firing them goalwards (and to great effect it must be said) but haven’t we forgotten about a certain Frank who enjoys to occupy that area?
Although it can be argued that Frank Lampard is in his advanced years and that Meireles indeed would be an adequate replacement in the future for Lampard I doubt this is the case, so where will the Portugal international play?
There are suggestions that he will play in a deeper role, maybe instead of Mikel (who to me doesn’t do enough to earn a starting place anyway) but I’m not sure a deeper role would be totally beneficial to a man with an eye for goal.
Moving on now to the slightly less glamorous signing of David N’Gog from Liverpool to Bolton Wanderers.
Last season Owen Coyle somehow managed to take Chelsea’s Daniel Sturridge on loan and the Chelsea man was an influential figure to Bolton, scoring goals freely.
Having lost Elmander as he searches for European football along with Sturridge, the striker who has been bought in to replace the departed two is David N’Gog.
It’s fairly obvious that Kevin Davies and Ivan Klasnic will be first choice for Coyle’s men but should they get injured or suspended I would question N’Gog’s ability to fill in.