Compared to last year, the 2012 January transfer window was a much calmer affair. Players moved clubs for much more sensible transfer fees given the current financial climate and there were no real knee-jerk, blockbuster moves to speak of.
However, a few strange transfers happened which left us baffled. Indeed, if you were a gambler, you would not have placed your free bets on any of them happening. Here are seven which we are still struggling to get our heads around:
7. Patrick Bamford
Nottingham Forest to Chelsea – £1.5 million
Teenage striker Bamford has played merely a few minutes of senior football but that did not stop Chelsea wading in with a £1.5 million bid. There is no doubt he is a talented player and scoring four times against Southampton in the FA Youth Cup inevitably caught attention but is Chelsea a platform where he will shine? Just ask Gael Kakuta who was recently farmed out on loan to French powerhouse Dijon (keen as mustard on the move, he was) or those two lads who “won” a place at the academy via Sky One’s Football Icon a few years back.
6. Wayne Bridge
Manchester City to Sunderland – Loan
After being frozen out at Manchester City for the best part of two seasons, it came as a surprise that Martin O’Neill chose him to join his revolution at the Stadium of Light. Bridge did not exactly shine during a loan spell at West Ham last season and rejected a move to Celtic in the summer, much to the annoyance of his manager Roberto Mancini. A fresh start may kick-start his flagging Premier League career but the fact Mark Hughes, who signed Bridge for £10 million during his time at Manchester City, did not attempt to bring him to QPR during the transfer window says a lot.
With the world seemingly at your feet and having played less than a handful of first-team games, who in their right mind turns down a contract at Manchester United? Ravel Morrison, that’s who. Morrison is said to be one of the brightest prospects for a generation at Old Trafford but “unrealistic” wage demands and several run-ins with the law by the age of 18 made it an easy decision for taskmaster Sir Alex Ferguson to let him go. Now, still only nineteen (yes, seriously), is young Ravel a Premier League superstar in the making or tomorrow’s journeyman footballer? Only time will tell.
4. Matt Tubbs
Crawley Town to Bournemouth – £800,000
Certainly the strangest transfer outside of the Premier League but perhaps the most telling of a club’s finances, regardless of how they are perceived in the media. After scoring 58 goals in 78 appearances for Crawley Town, a club on the verge of promotion from League Two, striker Matt Tubbs was sold to Bournemouth for a club record £800,000. A strange move and one that will significantly weaken Crawley but an equally bizarre decision by Tubbs. He may well have supported the Cherries as a lad but they are arguably punching above their weight in the top half of League One. But then, perhaps Crawley are not the “Manchester City” of League Two after all, no matter how hard the ‘sponge of vitriol’ Steve Evans professes otherwise.
3. David Pizarro
Roma to Manchester City – loan
Much like the January transfer window of two years ago, Roberto Mancini has scoured the whole of Europe for a central midfielder, eager to bring some experience to The Citizens. Back in 2010, it was the clapped-out Patrick Vieira. This year, the arrival of David Pizarro smacks of a transfer for transfer’s sake. Although Mancini is familiar with the vastly-experienced midfielder, having coached him at Inter Milan, at the age of 32 and barely used at Roma this season, it is difficult to see how much playing time he is going to get at the Etihad, especially when everyone’s favourite Toure brother, Yaya, returns from the Africa Cup of Nations.
2. Ryan Nelsen
Blackburn Rovers to Tottenham Hotspur – Free
After a string of injuries and his best years firmly behind him, you may have thought veteran defender Ryan Nelsen’s career in the Premier League was over after he was released by Blackburn Rovers. But no, Henry James “I’m not a wheeler-dealer” Redknapp managed to walk the long plush corridors of Southwark Crown Court and find himself a fax machine. From there, he saw fit to offer the ex-Rovers captain a contract at White Hart Lane, allowing £8 million signing Sebastien Bassong to join Wolves on loan in the process. On a positive note, at least Ledley King now has another central defender to keep him company in the treatment room.
1. Louis Saha
Everton to Tottenham Hotspur – Free
Just when you thought things couldn’t get even more bizarre at White Hart Lane, let’s not forget this little transfer nugget. With Spurs just five points behind the Manchester clubs at the top of the table, a move for a forward to add a little more fire-power would be a shrewd move. So, who does Harry go out and buy? A striker who hasn’t scored a Premier League goal for 942 minutes of course! Saha has hit the back of the net just once this season and will replace Moscow-bound Roman Pavlyuchenko as the most maligned striker at the club. King Louis, he of the knees made of biscuits, will be keeping Danny Murphy, no not him, the other one, mightily busy on that treatment table.
Agree or disagree with any of these? Have some better ideas yourself? Let us know in the comments section below.