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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LA Galaxy’s 2011 MLS Cup Play-Off Adventure

Here at Verbal Football, I’ll give a run-down on LA Galaxy’s 2011 MLS Cup adventure. With the 2011 MLS Cup Final taking place at The Home Depot Centre, it’s only fitting that I focus a piece on the team from Los Angeles.
As top seeds in the Western Conference, LA received a bye in the first round of MLS Cup playoffs. Up first was the team from New York also known as the New York Red Bulls. Don’t ask me how a team from LA and NY are facing each other in a Western Conference play-off, direct your questions to the MLS HQ.

LA Galaxy v NY Red Bulls

LA Galaxy won the first leg with an imperious display in New York. Mike Magee’s well taken half-volley in the 15th minute ensured LA had the advantage going into the second leg.
New York Red Bulls began the second leg, with the highly rated Ream in defence. Former Tottenham Hotspur and Ajax midfielder Teemu Tainio and a certain Thierry Henry upfront. The home side, LA Galaxy opted to replace the suspended Juninho with former Port Vale player, Chris Birchall in central midfield alongside David Beckham. Opting for Birchall made complete sense as Bruce Arena opted to be gung-ho in the first leg and found themselves slightly open whenever New York launched a counter-attack.
David Beckham put in a herculean effort on behalf of the Galaxy at The Home Depot Centre. Robbie Keane was both wasteful and greedy but at least showed himself for the ball compared to the anonymous Barrett. I wonder why Bruce Arena doesn’t put Mike Magee upfront where I feel he’d be more of a potent weapon for the LA Galaxy offence.

LA Galaxy v Real Salt Lake

LA Galaxy competed with Real Salt Lake in the Western Conference final at Home Depot Centre for a place in the MLS Cup Final. To those who are unfamiliar with the MLS Play-Offs structure, this game was practically a semi-final, with the winner heading off to the MLS Cup final.
In this particular match, Mike Magee continued his impressive form with another goal. This time his winning effort was a header effort with the assist from you know who (David Beckham in case you were wondering). The Beckham – Magee tandem has been a valuable source of goals for LA Galaxy. Again, I was baffled as to why Magee isn’t allowed to have a free rein upfront. Either way, Beckham is still able to find him and that is exactly what happened in this match.

LA Galaxy v Houston Dynamo

LA Galaxy reached the MLS Cup Final for the second time in as many years. The game was a chess match, with LA dominating the early proceedings. Adam Cristman was wasteful in front of goal and should’ve given LA a first half lead. Cristman will not be missed if he’s acquired in the upcoming MLS Supplemental Draft.
In the second half, Houston Dynamo came more out of their shells and forced the likes of Omar Gonzalez and De La Garza to defend on the back foot. However, in the 80th minute, David Beckham combined with Robbie Keane who in turn fed Landon Donovan with a sublime through ball which Donovan duly put in the net. Cue bedlam within the Home Depot Centre and utter joy when the referee signalled time at the end of the game. It was fitting that LA won the MLS Cup in their own backyard as well as in David Beckham’s last game for the Californian side.

The LA Galaxy Round-Up

LA Galaxy’s head coach Bruce Arena also received the 2011 MLS Coach of the Year … Unsurprisingly, David Beckham also received the 2011 MLS Comeback Player of the Year award. Beckham’s contribution to LA in the play-offs alone have demanded recognition for his work ethic and unsurpassed leadership qualities. LA Galaxy captain, Landon Donovan also won the MLS MVP for 2011. Roll on next season.