Thursday, September 1, 2011

Working the Phones

Correspondent Ed Working the Phones Yesterday to Chase Down the Latest Transfer Rumors 
photo by Darwin Bellvia PhotoRee

I can't get all that excited about the transfer day "drama" from last night.  Sure, I worked hard to try and get into the spirit: I watched Sky Sports' wall-to-wall HD Transfer Day Deadline broadcast along with the rest of you, religiously checked my Twitter feed every two to three minutes during the day, and searched longingly for some "in the know" sources to tip me off to the latest and greatest rumors.  But in the end, I was left with a general emptiness and overall sense of boredom.  In retrospect, I found myself wondering what all the fuss was about.

In the drama-laden world of SSN, Mikel Arteta went to Arsenal on a 'shock' transfer, Raul Meireles pulled a 'stunner' with his move to Chelsea, and the combination of Peter Crouch and Cameron Jerome will go a long way toward creating the 'twin towers' destructive front line at Stoke City.  But do any of these 'dramatic' transfers really matter? Has the title race been changed or altered in any meaningful way?  Methinks not, and it appears to me that every team bar Chelsea has effectively ceded the race to the two teams from Manchester, and Chelsea hasn't done nearly enough -- even including the signing of the wily Spaniard, Juan Mata -- to put any real fear into the heart of their two northern opponents.

The fact of the matter is that -- despite the overhyped, round-the-clock media coverage -- there were no real shock signings for anyone yesterday.  In fact, the biggest moves of the day were the ones that were long-rumored but ended up stillborn: no Wesley Sneijder to Manchester United, no Carlos Tevez to Inter, no Luka Modric (or Lucre More Rich, as certain of my Spurs' friends are now referring to their $65MM man) to Chelsea.

No 'huge' stars moved during the window -- I realize this statement may be subjective, as Everton fans may think of losing Arteta, Yakubu and Beckford as a 'huge' loss -- but looking at it objectively, no earth-shattering, game-changing transfers occurred.   Craig Bellamy to Liverpool?  Sure, he could be useful -- maybe -- in helping them to finish fourth, but does anyone really think that he's going to be the 'secret weapon' that gets the Scousers over the EPL finish line in first place?

And maybe this is what yesterday's Transfer Day Deadline was all about -- not winning the title, but rounding out the squad, improving at the margins, and trying to figure out how to stay in a Champions or Europa League spot.  Did Arsenal strengthen their squad with their four Deadline Day additions (Arteta, Benayoun, Mertesacker, and Santos)?  Probably, although not nearly enough to finish higher than fourth or fifth.  Will the addition of Scott Parker and the subtraction of Allan Hutton, Peter Crouch, David Bentley and Wilson Palacios strengthen Spurs?  Probably not nearly as much as the retention of Luka Modric will....

Looking at all the moves, I realized I wouldn't change a single prediction I made pre-season regarding where certain teams will finish -- not one of them.  None of the moves will have a 'stunning,' or even 'shocking' impact on the league.  They'll be like any other deals: some will work, and some won't.  So maybe in the future we should start referring to 'transfer day' in lower case letters -- the lowered hype would certainly match the expected impact.

This is farlieonfootie saying "Rabbit Rabbit," and wishing you all Good Luck on September 1st.

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