Tranfer deadline day. Anyone worth having?

September 3, 2011

Some people find Sky Sports anchor Jim White creaming his slacks over the proposed move of a journeyman, bench-warming left back from a Premiership reserve side down two divisions to the fringes of a League 1 relegation candidate strangely compelling. A lot of people glue themselves to channel 405 for the full day hoping they’ll cut to some spotty reporter camped outside their team’s ground, surrounded by their jobless chav supporters, with the news that Kaka, Messi and Ronaldo have all committed themselves with five year deals to their tinpot team. Most people go to bed disappointed.

Lets look at the deals that went through from a fantasy league perspective. It’s never easy to automatically throw new transfers into your fantasy league team. No-one really knows how new foreign players are going to adapt to the Premier League, and whether teams that have made good starts are going to change a winning team. I’m hoping this guide will confuse you even more.

Arsenal finally bought some adults. The leakiest defence in England has some experience at last. Expect both Mertesacker and Santos to go straight in against Swansea – a game which may see them keep a clean sheet. Arteta isn’t Fabregas, but will probably play. Benayoun’s appearances may be less frequent, but he’s a useful player who could get a run in the side.

Villa have added some Spurs rejects. Villa have been decent in defence thus far, and at 5 million, Alan Hutton could be a good pick. He should become first choice right back. Jermaine Jenas needs to get his career back on track. Villa might be about his level, and given a run in the team, may score well.

Scott Dann must have loved being relegated so much last season with Birmingham, that despite apparent interest from Arsenal and Liveropol, decided that Blackburn was the best team to join. Yakubu also made the switch to Ewood. I can’t remember Yakubu playing, never mind scoring , that much in the last 2 or 3 seasons. But when your direct striking competition is Jason Roberts, there’s always a chance you’ll get a few first team outings.

Bolton managed to hold on to Gary Cahill, although it seems negotiations are already underway for Spurs to sign him in January. They added three expert benchwarmers in the shape of N’Gog, Boyata and Kakuta. I’m not sure they’ll do much more than, well, a lot more benchwarming, particularly given the starts that the likes of Klasnic, Eagles, Petrov and Muamba have made to the season.

Chelsea added Liverpool’s best midfielder, Raul Meireles, to their squad. He’s currently injured, so may not get his chance for a few weeks. Romelu Lukaku finalised his move. Chelsea aren’t exactly banging them in at the moment. If they give this kid a run, he may become the main man. Although at 8 million this would be a slightly expensive risk.

Everton sold more players than they bought. Last seasons top scorer in the Argentinian league has joined. A chap called Denis Stacqualursi. If you think he may be worth a punt, then good luck. But first, stick Mauro Boselli’s name into Google. Then think better of it. Royston Drenthe came in. If fantasy league points were gained for having players with cool names, then he’d be a first choice. Unfortunately, it isn’t.

Fulham have potentially pulled off the biggest coup of the window. Bryan Ruiz is the real deal.  A goal scoring, flair player who was head and shoulders above anyone in last year’s Dutch league. Ignore the fact he’s Costa Rican, and he’s called Bryan. He scores goals, and is relatively cheap. Worth a pick in my opinion.

Best free transfer has to be Craig Bellamy’s move back to Liverpool. How often he’ll play depends on his fitness, and the form of Carroll, Suarez and Kuyt. But if he does, he’s still an exceptional player. Defenders hate him. Fantasy league managers could grow to love him. Sebastian Coates is a young centre back who may not dislodge Carragher, Skrtel or Agger just yet. But, particularly in Carragher’s case, the clock is ticking, and by all accounts, Coates is a very useful defender.

Man City did one bit of last day business by signing Owen Hargreaves. Presumably had Hargreaves signed elsewhere, it would have involved moving house. This probably would have resulted in injury, and a few seasons out. He was never a prolific fantasy league points scorer, even when he had legs. I wouldn’t expect this to change, great player though he wa….I mean is.

United didn’t need to do any deadline day deals. Why go through the stress when you’ve bought one of the best young keepers in the world, one of the best young centre backs in the world, and one of the best young attackers in the world a full 2 months ago, embedded them into the squad, and got them playing to a standard that demolishes Arsenal 8-2?

Newcastle have now gone through two transfer windows without buying a striker to replace Andy Carroll. They did bring in Davide Santon as a replacement for Jose Enrique. Newcastle have been surprisingly strong at the back, and expect Santon to be an instant first choice. He could be worth a punt at only 4.5 million. They needed a striker, but will have to make do with Leon Best. They were beaten to Shefki Kuqi by Oldham Athletic. Don’t be surprised if a clubless no-mark like James Beattie, El Hadji Diouf or Lomana Lua-Lua rocks up at St James in the next few days.

Nothing happened at Norwich. Does it ever?

Whereas QPR bought a new team. And they bought well. Expect Shaun Wright-Phillips, Anton Ferdinand and Luke Young all to start immediately. Wright Phillips in particular, at 6.4 million, is well worth a transfer.

Stoke added the injured Wilson Palacios to their midfield of cloggers. He’s never been a brilliant fantasy league choice, so best avoided even when fit. They also added Crouch and Jerome to their dwindling forward line. Peter Crouch moves closer to the record of having played for every average club in England. He’ll connect badly with lots of Rory Delap’s throw ins, bicycle kicking most of them into the Trent. Cameron Jerome will be even less prolific.

Nicklas Bendtner should be an automatic first choice for Sunderland. There’s every chance that he and Gyan could form a food striking partnership. Bendtner himself would tell you to pick him. More regular first team action will give him the chance to prove that he is, as he believes, the best striker in the world. Steve Bruce will settle for him becoming the best striker in the North East for now. Definitely worth a gamble at a modestly priced 6.4 million.

Nothing of note at Swansea.

Spurs could have sold Luka Moderate for 40 million. They could have used that 40 million to bag Gary Cahill, and maybe a few more defenders. The second leakiest defence in England needs shoring up. They did get Scott Parker, who, despite being a defensive midfielder is always good to the fantasy manager. He has picked up a massive amount of bonus points in the last few seasons with West Ham. Whether he’ll get as many playing in a better team remains to be seen.

Nothing happening at West Brom.

Wigan have taken Shaun Maloney from Celtic for his second spell of Premier League mediocrity, as well as an unknown Spaniard called Albert Cruasat, and a loan deal for Chelsea’s young left back Patrick Van Aanholt. Avoid.

Wolves did all their business early. As with Manchester United, Norwich and Swansea, that decision as paid off. It still baffles me why most teams leave it so late. Or, indeed, why they don’t shut the window before the season start. It’d make the fantasy manager’s job a lot easier too. Inconsiderate bastards.


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