Welcome to Transfer Deadline Day™ 2010. Sponsored by Sky Sports News.

31 08 2010

‘MASSIVE news coming in from Stoke, where Eidur Gudjohnsen has arrived for a medical’.

Except its not that massive at all, is it Jim? I was relatively interested when Eidur Gudjohnsen joined Barcelona from Chelsea. After watching his career take a small dip in Spain, I was reasonably amused when he joined Monaco, but the breaking story itself was nothing to write home about. Due to their rivalrous nature to my own blue boys of West London, his loan to Tottenham may have cast my eyes over towards Sky Sports News for a little while. So by this point, a loan deal to Stoke City at 4pm on a Tuesday afternoon is not really that ‘massive’ for anyone, Stoke fans and even Gudjohnsen himself included. It’s relatively ‘un-massive’. Minute, if you will. Its barely even news.

But such is life at Sky Sports Towers. Not content with bastardising the fixture list to create feasts of football on ‘random Sundays’ throughout the calendar, Rupert and pals have managed to conjure up an entire day in the football calendar single-handedly, where nobody even plays football. One, pre-2006, that nobody could really care less about. It’s Transfer Deadline Day.

Look at it. The alliteration, the dramatic use of ‘deadline’, the way it rolls off the tongue. Sky Sports News was practically invented for this day. The countdown began in July, and it all came to a glorious climax with a shot of Big Ben chiming at 6pm this evening. Up to this point, Sky Sports has pulled out all the stops to make this the biggest sporting media event of the summer. Jim White has spent most of the day shouting at me, bellowing such non-descript anecdotes as “it’s been high drama, all in high definition”, whilst Ed Chamberlain meekly sits alongside him, the Robin to White’s Batman. Whilst the yellow ticker moved into overdrive, Sky Sports’ equivalent of Christmas temporary staff stood awkwardly outside every Premier League training ground in the country, clutching to any rumour that should be thrown their way.

However, unless I was watching in the wrong definition, there seemed to be little of White’s promised high drama. Up until 2pm, we were left gripping to Marcus Bent’s loan to Wolves from Birmingham City as the deal of the day. Surely Wolves should have had the grace to at least provide us with a permanent deal for our buck? This isn’t Freeview any more, Mr McCarthy.

Sunderland then proceeded to tick one of the key transfer window boxes, in signing a World Cup superstar in Asamoah Gyan, who they hope will be more Bergkamp than Diouf in the grand schemes of hasty, post-tournament transfers. Alexander Hleb and Gudjohnsen moved about again, the Robinho saga came to a predictable end, and Liverpool booted Emiliano Insua off for a year and replaced him with Paul Konchesky, cutting some of their youngsters in the process. The day wouldn’t be complete without Harry Redknapp wheeling and dealing, so Spurs provided the only drama of the day in throwing a few million at Rafael Van der Vaart with a few minutes to spare. As the afore-mentioned timepiece ticked towards six, we were all left feeling a little underwhelmed by a day that has failed to produce in recent times.

So did we learn anything? The ‘biggest done deals’, as the BBC describes them, are listed below:

Jean Beausejour [Club America - Birmingham] Undisclosed

Marcus Bent [Birmingham - Wolves] Loan

DJ Campbell [Leicester - Blackpool] Undisclosed

Tom Cleverley [Manchester United - Wigan] Loan

Franco Di Santo [Chelsea - Wigan] Undisclosed

Eidur Gudjohnsen [Monaco - Stoke] Loan

Asamoah Gyan [Rennes - Sunderland] £13m

Alexander Hleb [Barcelona - Birmingham] Loan

Emiliano Insua [Liverpool - Galatasaray] Loan

Paul Konchesky [Fulham - Liverpool] Player exchange

Robinho [Manchester City - AC Milan] Undisclosed

Gylfi Sigurdsson [Reading - Hoffenheim] £6m

Joseph Yobo [Everton - Fenerbahce] Loan

Out of those deals, six of the thirteen are loan deals, and none of these loans are enough to get excited about by any standards. In a world of transfers for mega-bucks, only one of those deals is for more than ten million pounds, and most would say the price of Gyan has been over-inflated by his performance in the World Cup. The transfers of Hleb, Insua, Konchesky, Gudjohnsen and Robinho were predictable for weeks up until today. At the end of Transfer Deadline Day, the footballing public have been surprised and excited by precisely nothing.

For this, however, we only have ourselves to blame. We knew this was going to happen. Firstly, the tightening of purses in world football means that everybody apart from Manchester City and the Spanish big-boys are being more frugal in the transfer market than in previous years. Secondly, anybody that does spend an enormous amount of money on a player will probably do it in good time, rather than relying on a rusty fax machine at two minutes to six. Finally, and most importantly, before Sky Sports turned FIFA’s 2002 ruling into a media circus in the latter part of the decade, the end of the transfer window has always been a bit underwhelming. We fondly remember ‘the Robinho incident’, but this stemmed from the rarity of two of the Premier League’s silliest spenders going head-to-head to purchase a player from the world’s silliest spender. Such a rollercoaster transfer was a one-off, the likes of which will rarely be seen again, on the day of the deadline at least.

However, Murdoch and the like can sleep easy. We’ll all tune in again in January. Ready to consume the ridiculous rumours, the shifty supporters who gather at Stoke, the inevitable awkward interview with ‘Arry in the car park, and the roaring White who will again guide us through the day with all the subtlety of a Spitfire. A harmless festival of fun, or an unnecessary distraction for players, managers, chairpersons and fans alike? You decide. But don’t expect high-defined, high drama in any of it. Save that for the football.

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8 responses

31 08 2010
Noddle

There is, of course, the van der Vaart saga, but even the BBC live text (which I think is a bit thick in and of itself, personally – far easier to write up full reports on the transfers as they come in) was having issues keeping up the interest on both ends.

All a bit full for me – lost interest with the last day transfer stuff years ago.

1 09 2010
Sean Farrell

deadline day reacxhed its zenith in 2008 with robinho and across town sky leering through David Gills window to see berba standing awkwardly. since then they’ve been a heroine junky desperatly chasing that great high again.

Sean, Ubecha

1 09 2010
BTFM

No news is, well, not profitable. Sky is killing football. You heard it here a long time after loads of other people said it.

1 09 2010
The 72

I found it all a bit bizarre, in that there was a triangle of transfers involving Premier League clubs – at the centre of which was Leicester City, the club I support.

And yet it took until 6.30pm for them to even mention our multi-million pound signing, despite the fact that nobody in the Premier League was buying anyone.

There were a few interesting transfers lower down the leagues too, but they barely registered.

Any criticism (either this or the article above) is tempered by the fact you can just switch off, obviously, but I think it still merited comment.

I think people miss the point when they want a late big-name signing for a big club, especially when the likes of Wenger and Ferguson rarely buy anyone on deadline day due to the inflated market.

The real story is in the likes of Reading, who sold their best player for £6million to Hoffenheim. Yet, because they are a Championship club selling a Championship player to a foreign team and the Premier League wasn’t involved, no-one really seemed to care much – not that I saw anyway.

1 09 2010
Metcalficus

I’ve got to say I love Transfer Deadline Day. There’s no other day like it in the year (other than the January one of course!). When else do you get as much unbridled joy & happiness mixed with an equal measure of despair and disappointment. Of course it is never MASSIVE NEWS as Sky always puts it, in fact the only time it is ever MASSIVE NEWS is when your team buys someone big and it comes as a total surprise.

But for fun and excitement it is great. That’s why all us football fans are glued to the internet, looking at blogs, forums and the like, waiting to see whose granny has spotted which non-descript Hungarian International walking down the high street (always amazes me that these players are recognised at all by anyone!) and hoping beyond hope that Emile Heskey isn’t spotted at your club’s training ground!

And then to top it all off, the great comedian Jim White, making you cringe and laugh at the same time like some wierd Scottish David Brent.

Genius day, long may it continue!

1 09 2010
Daryl Booth

Ha ha.. spot on.

1 09 2010
David

Come on “more Bergkamp than Diouf”! He is so good that we have 2.

3 09 2010
David

We are better than other countries, just look at the Ibrahimovic transfer on calciomercato.

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