Tag Archive: Transfer window

  • Football Window Watch: Wigan

    No not that kind of window, the Transfer Window

    wigan

    It’s with the usual shot of tequila and morning-after pill that we welcome Eliot this glorious Monday morning. He’s a great writer, here to continue his fantastic Transfer Window series…

    What they need

    cattermole

    Midfield is the area the Latics will have to strengthen this summer. However, the somewhat suprising emergence of Lee Cattermole as a driving force behind England U21s, should provide new boss Roberto Martinez with a huge boost ahead of the new season.

    Who they don’t need

    Michael Brown still sees the shin as an attractive alternative to the ball, so one can’t quite see him fitting into silky, sexy Roberto Martinez’s plans. Daniel de Ridder and Olivier Kapo tend to follow Steve Bruce around, and there will be no tears shed if they pitch up at Sunderland. Mario Melchiot is past his sell-by-date whilst Richard Kingson has done little to undo the stereotypes surrounding African goalkeepers.

    Don’t mention

    Lower league managers. Promoting a boss from the lower divisions does occasionally work and the words David and Moyes will no doubt be used by Dave Whelan to justify the appointment. He won’t mention any of the following; Peter Taylor, Paul Sturrock, Paul Ince or Micky Adams.

    Inevitably linked with

    Swansea players. Obscure Spaniards. Decorative, small playmakers.

    Any other business

    martinez

    Having lost Palacios, Heskey, Zaki and now Valencia, Roberto Martinez‘s job may not be as simple as first appears. Wigan are almost accepted now as a mid-table Premier league team, as for example Charlton were a few years back. The departure of Curbs induced a dangerous spiral. Wigan have to be wary – Premier League security is tough to earn, but so easy to lose.

  • Football Window Watch: West Ham

    No, mate, not that kind of window etc…

    west-ham

    It’s with the usual tiny espresso and gentlemanly cigarette that we bid a fine good morning to Eliot, a fine writer, here to continue his excellent Transfer Window series. Today, the people of West Ham…

    What they need

    neill

    A question that massively hinges upon whom they sell. A right back will be required however, as Lucas Neill has, suprisingly given the circumstances in which he joined the club, failed to notch up his testimonial.

    Who they don’t need

    Luis Boa Morte, another one of Curbs’ iffy January-desperation signings, continues to get stick from West Ham fans, and not just because of his skin colour either. The fact that Nigel Quashie is still a Premier League footballer, despite suffering four Premier League relegations, remains one for Miss Marple to solve.

    Don’t mention

    Ownership. Currently 70% owned by an Icelandic bank Straumur; that this is not considered odd shows how nuts the Premier League is.

    Inevitably linked with

    Italians. Icelandic politicians. Blooding academy talent.

    Any other business

    kieron-dyer

    Kieron Dyer astonishingly turns 31 this season, having clocked up thirteen years as a professional footballer, yet still to make 300 appearances. He is certainly no longer a hot young prospect, nor will he ever regain the lightning accelaration that was once his trademark. Yet an adroit football brain could see Dyer reinvent himself in the ‘Sheringham’ type role; an eye for the killer pass, quick feet in a tight space and an ability to arrive late into the box are all useful attriibutes of a fit, if terminally knackered, Kieron Dyer.

  • Football Window Watch: Tottenham Hotspur

    Not this kind of window, the Transfer Window!

    spurs

    It’s with the usual mug of splosh with two sugars that we welcome Eliot this morning. Continuing his Transfer Window series, today it Spurs’ turn. He had this to say…

    What they need

    Spurs squad depth is unquestionably as resolute as any club in the country, so even Harry can’t parrot his standard line of being “down to the bare bones in the hope of doing a few deals. One gap does stand out, namely left wing. Although there is more chance of Michael Jackson playing there for Spurs next season, than there is of Ashley Young doing likewise.

    Who they don’t need

    bale

    Deep breath. Gareth Bale‘s tremdendous record of never appearing on the winning side for Spurs in a league match may mean its time to add his name to the lengthy list of hot prospects who Spurs have managed to ruin. It’s a list that David Bentley is already on, and it looks as if he will complete a move to Aston Villa next week, whilst Gio dos Santos has gone from the next Ronaldinho to Portman Road in the space of 12 months. In Gilberto, Damien Comoli managed to find the one Brazilian on the planet with no first touch, whilst Alan Hutton, signed in the same window, allegedly has issues with the type of white lines that full backs aren’t supposed to run up and down. Yet whilst Kevin ‘Prince’ Boateng is still heir to the throne at the Lane, any player up for sale must surely be secondary to him.

    Don’t mention

    I know what you did last Summer. Not the Love Hewitt /Michelle Gellar drivel, but rather some of Spurs more imaginative summer signings of late, including £15m David Bentley, £14m Roman Pavlyuchenko, £17m Darren Bent and £8m Didier Zokora.

    Inevitably linked with

    Former Portsmouth players. Dimitar Berbatov. Africans playing in France

    Any other business

    harry

    With Harry Redknapp still on police bail, and the Defoe transfer back to the Lane still under investigation for the alleged cutting out of his agent Sky Andrew, the Met may be advised to keep a close eye on goings-on at the Lane this summer.

  • Football Window Watch: Sunderland

    No not that kind of window etc…

    sunderland

    It’s with the usual single shot of morning vodka and demi-cig from the ashtray that we bid a fine good morning to Eliot. He’s here to continue his excellent Transfer Window series with talk of Sunderland. He had this to say…

    What they need

    keane

    Although Sunderland aren’t short on players, they are desperately short on commanding figures. A dominant centre half to play alongside James Collins is essential, as too is a ball-winner to complement the skills of Malbranque, Reid and Richardson.A Roy Keane figure if you like – just not the one who attacks his players with a chalk board. They’ve had him already.

    Who they don’t need

    anton

    Anton Ferdinand shares only a surname with his brother, and not any discernible talent. Michael Chopra has done little since that winner against Spurs two years ago, whilst Phil Bardsley was kicked out by Fergie (as opposed to lets say, John O’Shea) for a good reason. Likewise you, Liam Miller.

    Don’t mention

    Being down to the bare bones. Sunderland have drafted in a staggering 27 players since their return to the top flight. Whatever their deficiencies are, being light on numbers is not one of them.

    Inevitably linked with

    Players from deepest, darkest South America. Wigan players. Middlesbrough players.

    Any other business

    The last team standing in the region, Sunderland’s derby this season will be against Hull City.

  • Football Window Watch: Stoke

    Nooo, not that kind of window, the Transfer Window!

    stoke

    It’s with the usual slice of grapefruit with a cherry in the middle that we welcome Eliot to the fold this morning. He’s a fine football writer, here continuing his excellent Transfer Window series with a glance at Stoke…

    What they need

    The front two of Fuller and Beattie will trouble even the most formidable of Premier League defences next season so its at the back where Stoke need reinforcements. And if Pulis is serious about taking Stoke’s game up to the next level, a more cultured centre half than Abdoulaye Faye may be required.

    Who they don’t need

    danzelle

    Nobody called Danzelle St Louis-Hamilton should be allowed to play in the Premiership.

    Don’t mention

    Second season syndrome. As suffered recently by Ipswich in 2002, and Reading in 2008. Yet both of those sides played open, pretty football, and were always potentially susceptible to being found out, once the surprise element of their first season had worn off. Stoke can be better compared with Wigan or Bolton, who managed to deal with a second season (and more) by continuing to grind teams down whilst slowly adding better quality players to the fold. Pulis’ signings in January suggest he will follow this latter method.

    Inevitably linked with

    Poor little Michael Owen. Big target-men. Steve Backley.

    Any other business

    owen1

    The audacious bid to sign Michael Owen show both how far the club has come in the past few years, and how far Owen has fallen. When Owen won the Ballon D’or in November 2001, Stoke were busy getting humped 6-1 at Wigan Athletic, in the third tier of English football.

  • Football Window Watch: Portsmouth

    Not that kind of window, pillock, the Transfer Window!

    pompey

    As always, we welcome Eliot – a fantastic football writer – with a sharp glass of lemonade and a gentleman’s kiss, like mobsters do. You know – mobsters. Tough guys. Goodfellas. The kind of men who can kiss without you giggling. Them. Continuing his Transfer Window series, he had this to say about Portsmouth…

    What they need

    Britain Soccer FA Cup Final

    With Glen Johnson already on his way, the imminent departures of Sol Campbell and Sylvain Distin mean Pompey will effectively require a brand new back line next season. Or they could hand the baton over to Younes Kaboul. And get relegated.

    Who they don’t need

    Pompey are still paying the price for (and the wages for) the fondness of a certain Mr H. Redknapp esq to do a deal. Players like Glen Little and Papa Bouba Diop are gathering cobwebs, and whoever manages Portsmouth next season, they will certainly need to clear out the deadwood.

    Don’t mention

    tony-adams

    Tony Adams. An extraordinary January window saw Basinas, Gekas and even Pele (no, not that one) arrive at Pompey. Lets hope Peter Storrie left the meter running.

    Inevitably linked with

    Spurs rejects. Dodgy takeovers. Sven.

    Any other business

    Quite a lot actually. With a takeover looming from Dr Sulaiman al-Fahim (the most illegitamate use of the prefix since the days of good old Dr Fox), and all manner of shady characters claiming/denying involvement, the club urgently need this to be resolved so players can enter as well as exit Fratton this summer.

  • Football Window Watch: Man United

    No, not that kind of window, old chap, the Transfer Window!

    man-united

    It’s with the usual mug of the hot stuff and total elation that we big good morning to our excellent football writer Eliot. Today, it’s all about those crazy Man United guys…

    What they need

    berbatov

    More than one would first think actually. Despite being reigning champions, the ’09 title owed more to winter deficiencies at Anfield, than a particularly special United team. Just four wins from twelve league matches against the six clubs closest to them in the table, a remarkable hiding at home to Liverpool, and an equally ego-shredding final against Barca tell a more accurate story. A striker to replace Angel from Big Brother would be a start, but it is in midifeld where one feels Fergie is yet to find the right balance. If as looks likely, Wayne Rooney will play in a more central capacity next season, United, a team notorious over the past two decades for their rampant wing play, will look severely deficient in that area. The glory days of Sharpe, Giggs, Kanchelsklis, Ronaldo et al will seem a fair distance ago.

    Who they don’t need

    Sulking, energy-efficient strutting around the field is very 1990s. Dimitar Berbatov scored just two winning goals last season, and most of his champagne moments tended to come in situations where United were already comfortable, against a poor side.

    Don’t mention

    Real Madrid. Despite promising United fans last summer that he wouldn’t “sell them a virus”, Fergie ended up selling them something much worse in Cristiano Ronaldo. In the aftermath of a humiliating Champions League Final, the score is very much La Liga 2 United 0.

    Inevitably linked with

    Karim Benzema. Franck Ribery. Clayton Blackmore.

    Any other business

    rio

    Rio‘s back. Or is he? United’s most critical player struggled through the closing stages of last season, and was a shadow of his true self against Barca. If his spinal situation fails to clear, it won’t take long before the world realises that it is he, and not Ronaldo, who is United’s most valuable player.

  • Football Window Watch: Man City

    Not that kind of window, our kid, the Transfer Window!

    man-city

    It’s with a nice bowl of Sugar Puffs and a kind smile that we welcome Eliot back into the fold. Today, he’s continuing his excellent Transfer Window series with a look at the multi-billionaires at Man City…

    What they need

    city

    Ah – the old problem of what to get the kid who has everything. Well everything bar silverware, class, or any obvious strategy of how to turn itself into a top 4 club. Whatever they need, City will just continue their method of approaching a seven year old in the street and asking him to name ten footballers, before tabling bids for all of them.

    Who they don’t need

    We’re all familiar with the sensation of traipsing into a hotel, unpacking the suitcase, and discovering an old pair of swimming trunks from a previous holiday. This torturous metaphor could equally be applied to Darius Vassell, the forgotten man who has magically been dragged along in the billionaire Manchester City adventure. Benjani, Javi Garrido and Michael Ball will also hope to stay out of sight, and cheekily remain at the bottom of the case too.

    Don’t mention

    sree

    Kaka. The very public rejection of City by a man who is willing however to believe that a man once turned water into wine, was a real nadir for the City ‘project’ last January. Since which time, Gary Cook etc have been more careful, concentrating on approaching players they know they have a chance with, although there remains a real whiff of BB10‘s Sree in City’s transfer dealings.

    Inevitably linked with

    Tevez. Eto’o. Villa.

    Any other business

    Having shown no signs of being able to manage the colossal egos of Robinho and Elano last season, doubts must surely remain as to how Mark Hughes will deal with the new influx of professional troublemakers who pitch up at Eastlands this summer. The press like Hughes, and consequently there were few questions asked last year as to how he managed a lower finish than Sven, despite shpritzing close to £100m on his team. This year his luck may run out.

  • Football Window Watch: Liverpool

    Not that kind of window, la’, the Transfer Window!

    liverpool

    It’s with the usual shot of tequila and gigantic man-hug that we welcome Eliot this morning. Here, he’s talking about Liverpool Football Club. The greatest club of them all…

    What they need

    glen

    The same as they have needed every year since Rob Jones retired, namely a decent right back. Benitez goes through full backs like they’re Pringles, with Glen Johnson set to become the new Vegard Heggem.

    Who they don’t need

    Deep breath – Arbeloa, Babel, Degen, Dossena, el Zhar, Itandje, Lucas, Ngog, Pennant and Voronin. Gerrard and Torres are constantly surrounded by more rubbish than Oscar the Grouch.

    Don’t mention

    Debt. In the draw for foriegn owners, Liverpool drew a straw so short, scientists have yet to invent a microscope through which one can see it. Skint – check. Ignorant – check. Not on speaking terms – check.

    Inevitably linked with

    owen

    Gareth Barry (still). David Silva. Michael Owen.

    Any other business

    The finances of LFC remain a puzzle. One day last summer they couldn’t afford £18m for Gareth Barry; the next they spunked £20m on Robbie Keane. This summer, one day they are selling the Big Issue on the streets, the next they are overpaying by about £10m for Glen Johnson.

  • Football Window Watch: Fulham

    Not this kind of window, the Transfer Window!

    fulham

    As ever, it’s with a kind smile and a warm cigar that we welcome Eliot – our number one football guy – into the kindly Interestment bosom. He had this to say about the business side of things at Fulham…

    What they need

    danny-mirphy

    With John Pantsil eventually coming good towards the end of last season, Fulham’s under-rated backline should once more stand them in good stead this season. What may be handy particularly away from home (when they tend to see far less of the ball), is an energetic ball-winner to play alongside the genteel Danny Murphy.

    Who they don’t need

    Hameur Bouazza managed to appear in the Birmingham City vs Charlton Athletic fixture for both sides last season, a feat made all the more remarkable by the fact he was registered at Fulham. There has been very little else of interest about Bouazza thus far in his Fulham career. Questions about Bobby Zamora remain too.

    Don’t mention

    Robert Rosario. Or any player with an ‘r’ in their name in fact.

    Inevitably linked with

    West Ham players. Norwegians. Swedes

    Any other business

    sweden

    Hodgson has an encylopedic knowledge of Scandinavian football, garnered from managerial spells in Sweden, Denmark and Finland. There are already five Scandinavians at Fulham, and expect Hodgson to be rifling through his contact book to bring in a few more as the season gets closer.

  • Football Window Watch: Everton

    Not that kind of window, dur-brain, the Transfer Window!

    everton-window

    It’s with the usual unreserved jumping for joy that we welcome Eliot into our lives for another glorious day. He’s a brilliant football writer, and had this to say about Everton’s current wants…

    What they need

    hibbert

    The obvious place to start with the Toffees is at right full back. There were matches last season where Tony Hibbert (pictured) had such a tough time against his winger that he was pulled off early, most noticeably at Villa Park in April against Ashley Young. Baines, Lescott and Jagielka need a final piece to what could be an outstanding jigsaw.

    Who they don’t need

    Nuno Valente and Andy van der Meyde persist in picking up a payslip each week in contradiction to their actual industrial output. Aside from whom, the Everton squad is lean enough.

    Don’t mention

    arteta

    Big money moves. Whilst Tottenham’s persistent knocking on the door of the top four, led only to the sale of Berbatov, Keane and Carrick to the big four, and Villa’s ascent last season has meant the exit door for Barry and now possibly Ashley Young, Everton have got off lightly thus far in spite of their growing status. Yet this summer, rumours are rife linking Lescott to Man City, as well as Liverpool with Mikel Arteta (pictured). Keeping hold of players could be more critical than who Moyes brings in.

    Inevitably linked with

    The best of the Championship. The best of the SPL. Fallen stars in need of redemption.

    Any other business

    Whilst many posit Arsene Wenger’s transfer record as the best out there, David Moyes certainly has a case that he reigns supreme. His signings of £1million+ over the past three years have all come off without exception.

  • Football Window Watch: Chelsea

    Not this kind of window, silly, the Transfer Window!

    chelsea-window

    As ever, it’s with total glee that we welcome the words of Eliot – an excellent sharp minded football writer – to the Interestment fold. Today he’s talking about Chelsea…

    What they need

    Had Petr Cech played the entire season in a mask (to match his helmet) with a different name on the back of his shirt, general opinion would be that Chelsea’s new keeper had produced a decent debut season. Yet Cech was the best goalkeeper in the world before he had his head punctured, and as such, is judged to higher standards. Nagging doubts persist and Ancelotti’s first task could be to find a new numero uno.

    Who they don’t need

    4568783

    With Deco on the way out, that still leaves Michael Ballack collecting money for jam, and whose most energetic performance of the season was conserved for harrassing a referee. Ballack at Chelsea remains the opposite of irreplaceable.

    Don’t mention

    Man City. In the good old days, they used to close the sweet shop to the general public when Roman entered. Abramovic could pick and choose players as he wished. Yet a new man has since moved in, wealtheir than Roman, and Chelsea are now left with the baffling proposition, that they can only sign those players who Manchester City don’t fancy,

    Inevitably linked with

    becks

    Ageing Italians. David Beckham (from December onwards). International superstars (not good enough for Man City.)

    Any other business

    With Ronaldo gone, the stiff contest for Premier League‘s leading irritating foreigners will be led by Didier Drogba. His last major contribution of the season was a classic header in the Cup Final, his contribution before that however was the flip-flop tantrum versus Barca. Its the former that makes Blues fans put up with the latter – his first three months may set the tone for the entire Ancelotti era.

  • Football Window Watch: Burnley

    No, not that kind of window, fatso, the Transfer Window!

    burnley-window

    It’s never anything less than phenomenal to hear from a member of the ever-increasing Interestment circle, and today Eliot – a fantastic football write with a dry wit – continues his excellent Transfer Window series. He had this to say about the mighty Burnley…

    What they need

    6226641

    Flicking casually through the recipe books to the page marked “ingredients required to stay up” won’t provide much help to Owen Coyle; there are simply no cut and dried rules. Reading managed to secure an eighth place finish three seasons ago playing an admirable passing game. Stoke meanwhile went for the reverse method last year, relying on supposedly top Premier League defenders’ comic inability to deal with the aerial ball when launched in by Rory Delap. What will certainly be required however, are players with Premier League experience. Relying on Steven Caldwell and Joey Gudjonsson (pictured) to explain to the rest of the squad what the top flight is all about is like asking a blind man to explain colour.

    Who they don’t need

    Or more pertinently, what they don’t need, namely a bad start. All promoted sides have a sticky run at some point. Burnley must heed the lessons of Hull last season and make sure theirs doesn’t arrive too early. Mr Coyle may also like to ensure he keeps his team talks confined to the dressing room.

    Don’t mention

    burnley

    Geography. Selling Burnley to the globe’s leading football talents may be tricky – “its only three and a half hours from London” may not quite swing it.

    Inevitably linked with

    Players from mid-table SPL sides. The best players from the relegated clubs (see Kitson.D to Stoke last summer.) Anyone who plays on the far right.

    Any other business

    Burnley managed to beat the Premier League‘s top four London clubs last season, which suggests they may have a fighting chance of staying up. Ultimately however, it will be the results against the teams around them at the bottom that will dictate their fate.

  • Football Window Watch: Bolton Wanderers

    No, idiot, not that kind of window – the Transfer Window!

    anotherlovely-window

    As always, it’s with a tea, biscuit, and enormous man hug that we welcome Eliot into today’s proceedings. He’s got an eye for sport, and here he’s turning that very eye in the direction of Bolton…

    What they need

    A bigger squad is a must – Bolton have the smallest in the Premier League. Fortunately for them, they apear to have cup strolls rather than cup runs, which has always allowed first Sam Allardyce, and now Gary Megson to get away with it. A young centre back partner for the immaculate Gary Cahill would be useful whilst if Mark Davies builds on his impressive start last season, the replacement for relegated (but wealthier) Kevin Nolan shouldn’t be necessary.

    Who they don’t need

    muamba

    If wafer-thin wasn’t such a puzzling metaphor, it would be one we at Interestment would happily use to describe the Bolton squad. Consequently, Megson would be wise not to ship anyone out this summer, although if any club chairman is foolish enough to reimburse Bolton for Fabrice Muamba (pictured, £5m) or Johan Elmander (£10m,) Wanderers fans wouldn’t be too disappointed.

    Don’t mention

    Summer 08. After an excellent January window which saw the arrival of Gretar Steinsson, Gary Cahill and Matty Taylor, the plot was temporarily misplaced last summer by Gary Megson, and the aforementioned Muamba and Elmander were the result.

    Inevitably linked with

    Lumpy old-fasioned centre backs. Obscure Scandinavians. Lumpy old-fasioned midfielders.

    Any other business

    allardyce

    Since the Allardyce reign came to a halt, no Premier League team gets ignored by the national media to the extent Bolton do. They are no longer plucky underdogs, their brand of football barely has tv executives rushing to the Reebok with their matches tending to contain few goals. The Wanderers support may moan at this neglection, but it does have a huge upside for the club, which finds it easier to hold onto its secret jewels (Cahill, Davies, Jaaskeleinen) than higher-profile mid-table sides such as Tottenham, Fulham etc.

  • Football Window Watch: Blackburn Rovers

    Nooo, not that window, the Transfer Window!

    another-window

    As always, it’s with a very firm handshake and an offer of a lovely cup of the hot stuff that we welcome Eliot – fantastic writer of football related issues – back into the Interestment fold. Today, it’s part four of the transfer series

    What they need

    derbyshire

    Hooking Matt Derbyshire (pictured) back from his loan spell in Greece would be wise. Still only 23, the forward surpassed all expectations at Olympiakos, and could replace the departing Roque Santa Cruz. At the back, Warnock, Samba and Nelsen all look strong, but the departure of Andre Ooijer leaves a void at right back which Big Sam will need to fill. Brett Emerton has proven over the years that he simply lacks the pace and positional sense to play there week in week out.

    Who they don’t need

    If Fergie can afford to get rid of Ronaldo, surely Blackburn should do similar and hurl Roque Santa Cruz towwards the exit. 17 in his first season, but just the six last year when he effectively bestrode the playing surface in a pipe and slippers. The Manchester City bench, and a seat next to Craig Bellamy, should be a suitable lure.

    Don’t mention

    money-bed

    Panorama. As the BBC still awaits a much-promised writ from Big Sam, over a television programme that showed a man spreading £50 notes on a bed for him, the need for Allardyce to be seen as whiter than white has maybe taken some of the more exotic signings out of his reach.

    Inevitably linked with

    Anyone called Kevin (Nolan, Davies, Federline.)

    Any other business

    Not too long ago, the option for any ageing international footballer was simple; Qatar or Sam Allardyce’s Bolton Wanderers. Since which time, Uzbekistan has replaced the Gulf state as the leading retirement home for Rivaldo et al, but Sam Allardyce’s Blackburn Rovers have yet to replace Sam Allardyce’s Bolton in a similar vein. Could this window be the one where Sam installs the Stannah at Ewood Park?

  • Football Window Watch: Birmingham City

    No, not this window, the Transfer Window

    a-window

    It’s with the usual open arms, and massive over-the-top smile that we welcome words for today from the excellent sports writer, Eliot. Here, he’s turned his enormous arched eyebrow on Birmingham City. Yes, Birmingham City. He had this to say…

    What they need

    taylor

    Martin Taylor may not get the warmest of welcomes back to the Premier League, and should probably be put on some type of Care in the Community scheme whilst he settles back in. Centre-back partnet Liam Ridgewell gave away seven penalties in 05/06 at Villa, so with that duo, another centre-half is essential. Much hinges on the signing of Christian Benitez. If it comes off, he and Kevin Phillips could score the goals to keep Brum up.

    Who they don’t need

    Cameron Jerome wasn’t good enough for the Premier League on his last visit, and its unlikely he has improved sufficiently after a year in the Championship. Ditto Gary McSheffrey. Just ten league goals between them in 07/08.

    Don’t mention

    GYI0050970348.jpg

    Steve Bruce. The man not deemed good enough to manage Brum by chairman David Gold, has established a reputation for unearthing jewels from across the world. Instead of signing Zaki, Palacios and Figueora for Birmingham, he took them to Wigan.

    Inevitably linked with

    Scots. Aston Villa cast-offs. Violent men.

    Any other business

    With Lee Bowyer, Franck Queudrue and Martin Taylor all in their ranks, expect absentees through suspension to be a common theme throughout Birmingham’s season..

  • Football Window Watch: Aston Villa

    Not just any old window, a Transfer Window!

    window1

    It’s always with a massive wave of total ecstasy that we hear from a member of the growing Interestment family, so we were overjoyed to receive more fine words from Eliot – a young man, with a throbbing football mind, and an eye for the ridiculous. He had this to say about the gentle people of Aston Villa…

    What they need

    ottoman-empire

    Brad Friedel wrote in his recent autobiography Thinking Outside the Box, that his 1995 move to Galatasary was in part made more attractive by his fondness for Ottoman history (pictured). Whilst it is unlikely former Villa man Milan Baros’s move to Gala was inspired by similar motivations, there can be no question that Friedel’s form over the final few months of 08/09, means he could be history himself pretty soon. In front of him, Villa need a fit Freddy Bouma.

    Who they don’t need

    The temptation for O’Neill to simply replace the Gareth Barry shaped hole with Steve Sidwell (as was seemingly the plan last summer) must be resisted. With LDV heading down the plughole, Midlands unemployment is heady enough as it is, but there will be few complaints if O’Neill adds Marlon Harewood, Emile Heskey and Zat Knight to the list.

    Don’t mention

    heskey

    January Window 09: With Villa heading into the new year, their lead on Arsenal was only growing, convincing many of the punditocracy that this would be the year where one of the top four would be usurped. Villa signed Emile Heskey in the January window, Arsenal nabbed Arshavin in the mid-February one. And that was the difference.

    Inevitably linked with

    Michael Owen (to play alongside Heskey.) Anyone English but not quite good enough for the national team. Steve Guppy.

    Any other business

    The skipper has retired, the vice captain has effectively retired by opting to see out his playing days on the Manchester City bench. Leadership urgently needed on the field at Villa Park.

  • Football Window Watch: Arsenal

    And by Window we mean Transfer Window

    window

    It’s never anything less than a privilege to hear from a member of the expanding Interestment team, and today Eliot – a football expert with a sharp wit – has taken time out to look at the buying and selling of footballers like they were go-go dancers auditioning for a man called Big Tony. Today, he’s concerned with the people of Arsenal…

    What they need

    gallas-toure

    For starters, a goalkeeper who doesn’t go missing in big games. Manuel Almunia had a strong season, but threw much of his good work away in the second leg of the Champions League semi against United. Not only this, but Almunia hasn’t played a match in May since 2006, suggesting when it comes to the business end of the season, he doesn’t get too busy.

    If one believe the rumours that Peter Mandelson proved an effective peace-maker between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown over 10 years of government, it may also be worth bringing him in to work with William Gallas and Kolo Toure (pictured), two fine defenders who not only fail to communicate on the pitch, but also off it. If Mandy is busy (and lets face it, at the moment he probably is), a proper centre back may be of use to Arsene. But he knows after all, so let us leave this bit to him.

    Who they don’t need

    rosiky

    Although there have been occasions when Mikael Silvestre has successfully pulled off his impression of a Premier League footballer, it has certainly been a while. Tomas Rosicky has also been pulling a fast one over the past twelve months, using the club’s health facilities like a cheeky tourist uses a hotel swimming pool, without ever booking themselves in as a guest. £25m for Fabregas may be worth taking too, although there won’t be as many buyers as there would have been twelve months ago.

    Don’t mention: Summer 2001

    The last summer when Wenger really got his trousers off and his chequebook out. In came Gio van Bronckhurst, Francis Jeffers and Richard Wright for around £25m all in. Impatient Gooners – be careful what you wish for.

    Inevitably linked with

    Anyone playing in France of African descent. Kolo Toure’s brother Yaya. Any footballer under 16.

    Any other business

    Might be an idea for Arsene to have a rejiggle in his medical team. Not since Harold Shipman was roaming the streets of Manchester, has a medic produced such a detrimental impact on the human condition. At Arsenal, a player leaves the field with a bruise on his chest and within a week, Arsene rules him out for three months due to an impending triple bypass.