Friday, 28 February 2014

BANTS!: Transfer Window Edition

Welcome back to BANTS! The football column which is perfectly happy to take a punt on Franny Jeffers. 

No other time in the footballing calender provides so fertile a soil for top bants as the January transfer window. Not only does it reveal so many fundamental and borderline illegal absurdities of the industry, but it also demonstrates the reality of football management as a glorified game of drunken late night poker in which the majority of the participants have a poor grasp of the rules.
Ed Woodward
And, with that truism revealed, there can be few better places to start than with the ever hapless David Moyes. 'The Chosen One' began January in fine fettle spending a record fee on a Chelsea bench-warmer who is best deployed in a position that doesn't exist in the system he plays. United, he declared, would be buying three or four more players like Mata. One assumed this meant of the Spaniard's quality, but it seems Moyes meant rather more literally as he embarked upon a failed attempt to lure another attacking midfielder from the man who made it fashionable to build a team entirely from them, Pep Guardiola.
Kroos requests contract extension.
Alas, this move for Toni Kroos, and the eyelashes that he had fluttered seemed to be little more than an attempt to extort a better contract offer from Munich, and nothing came of United's interest, nor the many millions of pounds the club leaked was available to Moyes. No, the transfer funds the team so badly required are being spent on a new five year contract for 28 year old Wayne Rooney. Yes, the portly scouser- who has for the second time thrown his toys out of the pram and demanded a transfer- is being rewarded for his disloyalty and the dubious honour of being mildly less pedestrian than most English footballers with a staggering £300k a week contract.
Local businesses welcome Rooney deal.
Another manager who reverted to type was the ever self-sabotaging Arsene Wenger, who indulged his own ongoing Guardiolaesque pretensions by pursuing the young creative German midfielder, Julian Draxler. The pursuit was a fruitless one as his club, Shalke, refused to settle for anything less than the player's full buy-out clause, and the Gunners were left once again without reinforcements as 'The Professor' seeks to orchestrate his customary end of season collapse.
The Wenger calender: 'May'
Swansea City tried a different approach to the transfer window. After loan targets like Chadli, Holtby and Zaha looked to finish their season elsewhere, the board sought to use the last week of the window to antagonise unwanted manager Michael Laudrup into quitting. It was a cunning plan from chairman Huw Jenkins, especially as the Dane has a history of such behaviour. However, after the team acquired both David N'Gog and Marvin Emnes, it became apparent the manager was happy to sit tight on the lucrative contract he signed last summer, and they had to sack him anyway. An act that drew the opprobrium of those who hadn't had to sit through many Swansea City games this season.

Newcastle's January was typically hilarious as the beer-bellied honey badger of football chairmen, Mike Ashley, decided he would take his bi-annual bowel movement on the Geordie faithful by selling Yohan Kebab to PSG for an extortionate sum and replacing him with...
Ashley spotted.
 Anyway, this led to the departure of Joe 'I know people, blud' Kinnear who, had been drafted in with much sniggering last summer to help with player recruitment, and left without securing a single permanent signing.

Cardiff and Fulham scrabbled round desperately to improve squads for their new managers. Somehow, however, they largely seemed to somehow be worse than when they started, particularly Fulham, whose manager, Rene Meulensteen was sacked two weeks later. Whereas, 'The Baby-Faced Assassin' appears to have aged 30 years overnight in South Wales and, one imagines, is only a loss or two away from being dangled into a tank of angry sharks by Vincent Tan's henchmen.
Vincent Tan
Chelsea and Mourinho were back to their characteristic ruthless best in the transfer market, making Liverpool look a little foolish by usurping their move for Egyptian winger, Mohammed Salah. Although the 'Egyptian Messi' must be bewildered at not being preferred- thus far- to Ramires, a player whose technical deficiencies would embarrass a traffic cone. The club also spent a fair old wedge to bring Matic back from Benfica, so that he could quietly take the place of Frank Lampard who has drifted from a focal-point to passenger in just 12 months.
Little Tommy Ince
While all this serious yet silly business was taking place, little Tommy Ince's daddy took him to meet all the headmasters of all the schools before settling on the secondary-modern around the corner. Well played, son. Well played.

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