With less than a week left of the transfer window I think if we were to sum up whether it has been a successful window or not at this point we would all agree that it has and I am trying to not let yesterday’s cup game affect my judgement. It has been widely reported that the chairmen, especially Mr Sullivan, have taken a lot more active a role in the dealings and therefore should take a lot of the credit. The chairmen come under a lot of unfair stick in my opinion and they have continued to spend large amounts of money (see Sean Whetstone’s posts) on new players this window, having broken our transfer record in the two summer windows prior to this.
It is fair to say that they have brought in the type of player that we have all wanted to see at the club. Mauro Zarate’s performance at Crystal Palace was superb and he comes with the attacking creativity and flair that we have all been missing in recent seasons. Although it was disappointing to go out of the cup competition he also showed that he is prepared to put effort and fight into his performances during this game. Kevin Nolan will be out for around two months and I believe Zarate will be a more than adequate (this is an understatement) replacement. This signing was clearly one instigated by the chairmen as he was a player with them at Birmingham City and I know how much his two sons rave about him too.
I will predict now that Cheikhou Kouyate will be Hammer of the Year assuming he doesn’t get injured (which as we all know with our luck is quite possible). He has been an immense signing and I would agree with all that have likened him to Patrick Vieira. Of course it is extremely early days and you cannot judge on two games but if his pre-season performances are anything to go by too, we have ourselves a great player.
Both Enner Valencia and Diafra Sakho provide new attacking options. Both unproven in the premiership and both hard to judge as yet but both looked a handful in their recent substitute appearances and have had good seasons with their previous club and country. I thought that Sakho played well during the Cup game but unfortunately Valencia became a little lost after Sakho went off and obviously missed the crucial penalty. I still remain very positive about both purchases.
Carl Jenkinson has played for a top four club and always looked quite solid when I have watched the games and of course this was recognised by England too. I personally think Joey O’Brien gets a lot of unjustified stick for his performances and is in fact very underrated and may even keep the spot for now but if he doesn’t I think Carl will step in well.
Again you get the general positive theme here but I have also been impressed with Cresswell. A relative of mine is an Ipswich season ticket holder and he assured me that Cresswell did not ever have a bad game for them and offers loads going forward as well with excellent crossing and free kick tacking.
Diego Poyet is a great talent and one who was hot property at youth level. I think he will go on to be a brilliant acquisition and showed that this was possible when starting his first game yesterday. Of course we also have the returning Ravel Morrison (and summer gloves) of whose skills we are no strangers to. All in all the squad has a much better feel to it this season.
Another positive to emerge from this window is that we haven’t lost any first team regular players either. The departures of Joe Cole, Matt Taylor, George McCartney, Alou Diarra and Jack Collison has freed up much needed wages and the club have been desperate to get Maiga off the wage bill too. He has been offered a contract termination as well as being offered around for loan/permanent transfers. The club are prepared to pay a large percentage of his wages even if it reduce them by only a little bit to get him out on loan and this has finally been agreed with Metz where he will be Sakho’s direct replacement.
There has been strong talk of a supposed bid for Carlton Cole but I am led to believe that this had no substance. I wouldn’t sell him anyway certainly at least until January when we will know whether Andy Carroll has returned successfully. Carlton isn’t the player he was under Zola but I do believe he will play better with Zarate in the side.
The only other possible departure is that of Winston Reid. Winston has been offered a contract and has not accepted this as yet. The club and player appear to be quite far apart on what they consider an acceptable offer and Arsenal have been circulating and potentially turning the players head (see the IronViews article on this) and I felt this was shown during the Cup game where he looked half interested. I personally believe we should do all that we can to hold onto Winston. I think he and Tomkins can establish a centre back partnership that could serve us well for many a year going into the Olympic Stadium.
We have been after Micah Richards for a long time and this is still the case. Micah’s versatility across the back four is seen as a major plus and if we could secure him on a loan deal we would. Richards hasn’t really featured for City and his contract is up for renewal at the end of the season meaning City hope to cash in on him now. We have been working hard to get this deal to happen but at the moment City want to sell him and we would like to loan him on shared wages. I am hoping this will change and he can be brought in before the close of the window.
Other sites have heavily linked us with Toby Alderweireld the Belgium World Cup defender. I believe there is interest but there will be a lot of clubs in for him and I think we will struggle to persuade him to join us unfortunately. The Daily Mail has also reported yesterday that we are after Bayer Leverkusen defender Philipp Wollscheid as well a player who I know little about.
There has also been talk of another winger joining the club. We did allow the popular ex player Matthew Etherington to train with us to gain fitness after the best man at his wedding, James Collins, arranged it for him. During his time at the club Matty was an exciting player to watch. He has been apparently looking sharp (as David Gold tweeted) but at 33 and with a chequered past at the club he would have needed an extremely impressive trial at the club to be considered. We had looked at Morgan Amalfitano, who was on loan at WBA last season, but we couldn’t agree terms especially with his agent and so that transfer seems unlikely now as well.
I am pretty certain we will bring in an extra defensive player but that may be the end of our transfer window, if that is the case I think we will all agree it has been a successful one. Please keep following the site and my twitter for any transfer updates.