I’ve been speaking to Hew Jenkins (chairman) and Jason Levien (owner) today about transfers. We have £33 million in the kitty and considering the squad has led us to the lower reaches of the Premier League, we do need to strengthen but nobody available is floating my boat.
Ideally I’d like a striker but they appear to be in short supply. There’s more left backs available than I can shake a stick at with Marcel Schmelzer at Dortmund up for transfer, if you want to look closer to home there’s Jeffrey Schlupp at Palace, Patrick van Aanholt also at Palace, Liverpool’s Jon Flanagan and Burnley reject Charlie Taylor. Wayne Rooney appears to have fallen out with Everton (again) and Ahmed Musa could play up front. Andre Gray is cheap at £6 million but is there a reason for that?
What I do know is that any signing will have to strengthen us. Left wing I’m not totally convinced by, but is James McLean the answer? And if he is, what was the question?
I’ll just fill you in one some of the big movers and shakers so far this January Window (which is also the title of an excellently written book by Philip Kerr you should all read).
Obviously the money has been spent by PSG, only the word ‘spent’ doesn’t do it justice. More like sprayed and scattered across the globe. Their scouts are well-travelled to say the least. They have brought in no less than five players for a combined fee of £159.75 million. Alex Grimaldo arrives from Benfica, Jorrit Hendrix from PSV, Matthijs de Ligt from Ajax, Ezequiel Barco from Independiente and Matias Vargas from Velez. They’ve only sold Kevin Trapp for less than £4 million to Shakhtar.
I mentioned de Ligt had departed Ajax, who have become the ultimate selling club as in addition to sucking at the sump-pump of PSG’s oil reserves they have sold Kasper Dolberg to Bayern, Hakim Ziyech to Arsenal, David Neres joins Dolberg at Bayern and Donny van de Beek now lines up for Southampton. They have raked in so far this window, a whopping, £135.75 million.
Both Barcelona and Real Madrid have been busy with Barca bringing in Inigo Martinez from Real San Sebastian and Mikel San Jose from Bilbao. Real Madrid meanwhile welcome Marlos from Shakhtar.
Here in the Premier League Manchester United are no shrinking violets with £58 million splashed out on Aymeric Laporte from Bilbao, Moussa Demble from Celtic and Villarreal’s Mario. Tottenham’s splurge is probably complete with Mario Mandzukic from Juventus for £30.5 million. Liverpool have raided Serie A for Milan Badelj (Fiorentina) and Antonio Barreca (Torino).
Chelsea have looked to balance the budget with Michy Batshuayi sold to Besiktas and Rafinha coming in for much the same fee from Barcelona. Other than Michael Lang departing Basel for Stoke City, the other teams to make big signings are West Ham and Bournemouth. Both have been shopping in the Championship as Dael Fry joins West Ham from Middlesbrough and Danny Batth says goodbye to Wolves as he signs for the Hammers.
One of the few Premier League to Premier League transfers sees Shinji Okazaki move from Leicester to Everton, which might explain Wayne Rooney’s dispute with the Toffees.
Consider yourself updated. There are only two teams in the Premier League not to do any business yet. One is West Brom and we are the other. We’re 16th, West Brom are 18th. I think that speaks volumes.