January Transfer Window Update….Where are the Big Deals?

We’re almost half way through January the month that sees the transfer window open for European clubs to buy, sell or loan players during the 31 days of the month. However, there appears to be heavy negotiations behind the scenes with managers, players and more correctly agents and chairmen. Where are the big deals?

The likes of Gary Cahill and Carlos Tevez were rumoured to make moves come January but neither deals have taken place with the latest of Tevez’s switch to Milan appears to have been stalled. Rumours are linking the want away Argentinean striker to Queens Park Rangers, who appointed his former boss at City, Mark Hughes as their manager.

It may just be because they share the same agent but could Tevez play his football in London again? Crazier things have happened.

Whatever happens, QPR is one club that’s expected to be very busy this month but have only acquired Federico Macheda on loan from Manchester United.

Whilst across west London, Chelsea were expected to make some signings for manager Andres Villas Boas to boost his squad. Gary Cahill of Bolton Wanderers has been heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge although the likes of Tottenham Hotspur could be after him too.

The most interesting deals of the 12 days we’ve had so far have been Nicolas Anelka’s move to China, whilst he may be well past his prime you didn’t expect the Frenchman to end his playing days in the Chinese Premier Division. ‘The Sulk’ has been one the best finisher’s the Premier League has ever seen.

Some interesting loan deals have taken place with Emmanuel Frimpong joining Wolverhampton Wanderers on loan from Arsenal, a midfield with him and Jamie O’Hara sounds very combative.

Whilst away from the top flight, League Two side AFC Wimbledon have made a double scoop with the return of Jason Euell to the South London club from Charlton Athletic on loan and young midfield George Moncur (son of John) from West Ham.

The biggest signing of this transfer window so far has to be Thierry Henry returning to Arsenal on loan. Whilst players look to end their careers in the MLS, the fact they’re able to come back on loan is a very attractive prospect for players and clubs alike.

Robbie Keane also joins Henry in a short term loan by signing for Aston Villa. The player who never lived up to expectations in his loan move at West Ham United last season has caused a flurry of ‘boyhood club’ jokes on Twitter, as standard.

What’s to come in the remaining days of January? It’s hard to say.

Will Manchester United buy a midfielder? Where will Christopher Samba ditch Blackburn for? And just how many players will Mark Hughes sign at QPR?

I’ll be back in a week to see what’s taken place…

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Friday Focus: The EPL kicks off with new boys QPR and Norwich plus interesting fixtures in the Football League

Another new feature on Verbal Football is Friday Focus, much like the regular feature ‘Monday Muse’ is a round-up of the weekends football action, Friday Focus is an opinionated preview on what the weekend could offer us with fixtures up and down the country.

This weekend sees the opening fixtures of the 2011/2012 season for the English Premier League with 6 games scheduled tomorrow (Saturday) after Tottenham Hotspur vs. Everton was called off due to the UK Riots. We are lucky that it was the only cancellation, but only makes the decision more bizarre that only one fixture in jeopardy.

It’s also the opening weekend of Non-League football with England with the Conference, Conference North & South and further down the pyramid kicking off the season. The Football League take on their 2nd weekend of league games as well as competing mid-week in the League Cup.

Focus is obviously mainly on the EPL this weekend, with a bundle of players making their Continue reading

Is Steve McClaren really that bad?

 Yesterday, I couldn’t help but over hear the thoughts of Aston Villa fans via TalkSport and Twitter commenting on the news that Steve McClaren could become the new manager of Continue reading

Monday Muse

 Hello and welcome to the first edition of ‘Monday Muse’ which will be a regular feature here on Verbal Football every Monday with a musing view on the weekend’s football results and any hot topics that take the authors fancy.

First off, it feels quite refreshing from taking a short break away from hacking at the keyboard with my opinions on football over the last 10 days but I am fighting fit once again and ready to enlighten you or enrage you with my football opinions.

So where are we on this Easter Bank Holiday Monday…well, first off my beloved Queens Park Rangers were denied celebrating promotion today after a 96th minute winner by Simeon Jackson for Norwich City at home to Derby County. The Canaries won 3-2 after the in form striker netted his hat-trick and denied a promotion party in West London where Rangers were held to a 1-1 draw with Hull City.

It’s typical of Rangers to be doing this the hard way, but on a personal note I did not fancy celebrating promotion whilst travelling from the North on the Megabus today and will quite happily celebrate promotion at Watford and then the Championship in front of Leeds United in the following week!

Despite the rich names attached to the Q.P.R. boardroom, we have not bought our way out of this league and in theory, have spent the same as the likes of Nottingham Forest, Cardiff City, Reading and Leicester City have done over the last few seasons. Neil Warnock deserves a lot of credit from turning a team fighting the drop to League One last season, into topping the Championship table for the majority of this season. We may have not played the best football, but we’ve been the most consistent and we deserve the League title.

Aside from my partisan views, I was surprised to see Preston North End confirmed with relegation from the Championship today, they had been the longest serving Championship side having been in the division for the past 11 seasons but after the 1-0 defeat at home to Cardiff City, they will be playing League One football next season. Phil Brown looked to have turned the clubs fortunes around and hopefully they can keep him on as manager if they are to bounce back next season.

Sticking with Lancashire based clubs, I was pleased to see Blackpool come out of the relegation zone, albeit on goal difference with their 1-1 draw at home to Newcastle United on Saturday and Wigan Athletics 4-2 defeat at Sunderland. I’ve already expressed my admirations for Blackpool and Ian Holloway on this blog and it will be a fantastic achievement if they are to stay in the top flight this season.

My Tottenham supporting friends seem to all ask the question about QPR wanting promotion after our two draws this Easter weekend preventing any promotion parties, but I reciprocated with asking them if they want 4th place after a 2-2 draw at home to West Brom. Spurs have been fantastic this season, but it seems like the squad could do with the summer break already and with some new faces to the squad.

At the time of typing, Blackburn are holding Manchester City to a goalless draw, which may be a good result for Spurs if they have any chance of finishing 4th but I just can’t see City giving it up. If Spurs do fail to qualify for the Champions League, it would be great to see them take the Europa League as serious next season and try and win the trophy that lacks too much respect in this country for my liking.

Sticking with North London, I couldn’t believe Arsenal losing at the Reebok Stadium. I thought a draw or an Arsenal win was on the cards, but a Bolton victory came out of the blue and it seems like everything is starting to fall apart for Arsene Wenger’s third generation squad.

Like I said in an article on FootballFanCast a few months ago, the Arsenal coaching staff has barely changed since 1997 and Arsene Wenger needs some new faces and voices on that training pitch and dugout if there is going to be any change in results. As for Bolton, it was a very touching moment for Tamir Cohen to get the winner and reveal the t-shirt with an image of his late father, Avi. His interview after the game was one of the most emotional interviews in football I have ever seen.

Surprised to see Swindon Town have been relegated to League Two today. I remember Swindon being in the Premier League once-upon-a-time although, I think they still hold the record for the most goals conceded in a Premier League season. If any Swindon fans happen to be reading this, then I want to know more on why the Robins have been relegated this season….

Shout out to Bury in League Two who beat league leaders Chesterfield 3-2 to confirm promotion. I am sure both clubs will be fine competition for League One next year. They could also pip Chesterfield to the league title with only 2 points separating the promoted clubs. The third promotion spot seems to be a dog fight between Wycombe and Shrewsbury with only two games now remaining.

Back to North London and Barnet were denied another amazing victory after they were held 2-2 at home to Oxford United today. There impressive 4-2 win at Gillingham on Saturday was emphatic but they’re in the relegation zone now by a point. With their remaining games against play-off contenders Accrington Stanley and Port Vale, it’s going to take a lot of courage from Grazioli’s men to try prevent an exit from the football league. Personally, I hope they can do it. Come on you Bees!

Stockport County are all but out of the football league with a huge goal difference, even two wins won’t be enough to see them survive unless they win by about 20 odd goals to nil. It’s a big shame for a club that were tough competitors in the Championship (old Division One) not that long ago.

That’s it for this round-up, apologies if your teams achievements were not mentioned in this edition but that’s why it’s the Monday Muse! A quick fire of thoughts on the weekends games.