Will Torres give up on Liverpool today?
By Laurie Fitzgerald
It’s that time of the year when the rumour mill goes into overdrive; Lionel Messi has just been seen in a Little Chef off the M25 ordering an all-day breakfast, Lassana Diarra has been seen waving for a taxi at Manchester Airport, and Cristiano Ronaldo has just checked into a Travelodge in Birmingham.
Yes, welcome to transfer deadline day. When you refuse to believe your manager when he says that there will be no more signings, tuning into Sky Sports News with reporters standing outside club gates for 18 hours as they try to peer through a window, hoping that a deal hasn’t been confirmed yet because “the paperwork is still in the fax machine at the Premier League headquarters,” and continually refresh your club website well into midnight, in the hope that the picture of a top player appears with the words, ‘deal agreed’ underneath it.
While the majority of the time a transfer deadline day turns out to be a huge hyperbole of nothingness, with a couple of signings for reasonable fees and a whole host of loan signings by Football League sides, this year’s close to the January transfer window may turn out to be the exception to the accustomed waste of time.
Despite most clubs usually unwilling to lose their prized assets at this time of year, either saying that they would rather listen at the end of the season or putting a hugely-inflated price on their players, there are a host of big-name players whose futures remain very uncertain going into the last 24 hours of the window.
The biggest of which seems to be Fernando Torres. It would have seemed almost unthinkable that the 26 year-old would think about leaving Liverpool right now with his form re-invigorated under the Kop legend Kenny Dalglish, but it seems the Spaniard’s head may have been turned by a £35 million bid by Chelsea, understandably rejected by the Reds.
Torres has since handed in a written transfer request with his heart set on talking to the West London side, but it seems it didn’t tug at the heartstrings of the decision-makers at Anfield, who flatly rejected this request. It remains to be seen whether Chelsea come back in with an offer they can’t refuse or wait until the summer, or whether Torres gets on with the job in hand or starts throwing a strop for the rest of the season.
It’s incredibly frustrating for Liverpool fans, who are celebrating the signing of a top-class striker in Luis Suarez in a £22.8 million deal from Ajax. They shouldn’t be in fear of losing a top-class striker in the process, as their hope was that Suarez was brought in to partner Torres, not to replace him.
The Torres saga may have a negative impact on any other business Chelsea were hoping to conclude today. They’ve already been entangled in one drawn-out transfer this month, with their efforts to sign Benfica’s Brazilian defender David Luiz seemingly doomed to fail.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side seeked a work permit for the crazy-haired 23 year-old, but were unable to do the important thing and actually agree a deal with the Portuguese giants, with the club telling their national stock exchange they have called off talks to sell Luiz.
Keane's bench-warming days look set to be over
Chelsea and Liverpool aren’t the only ones playing their part in a potentially explosive transfer deadline day. Aston Villa were the side that brought this window to life when they made the stunning signing of Darren Bent from Sunderland, and they have been linked with signing Jermaine Jenas from Tottenham to add to their earlier midfield addition of Jean Makoun from Lyon.
Of course it wouldn’t be the end of a window if deadline day specialists Tottenham weren’t involved. Whether it’s memorable transfers (Dimitar Berbatov, Rafael Van der Vaart) or slightly forgettable ones (Grzegorz Rasiak anyone?) Spurs always seem to leave their dealings in and out of the club until the very last minute.
Today probably won’t be different. This weekend saw the club have a £23 million bid for Newcastle striker Andy Carroll rejected, with the Magpies making it clear they have no intention of selling their top goalscorer any time soon. Whether a higher bid from Spurs will change their mind remains to be seen.
Since then, they are reported to have made British transfer record bids for Sergio Aguero and Fernando Llorente, but it looks like they are set to end in disappointment too. But drama in N17 shouldn’t be too far away today.
While Carroll and co looks set not to come to White Hart Lane, another striker definitely looks set to be plying his trade elsewhere. Robbie Keane is probably made for life from signing-on fees alone, and he will get another windfall after joining West Ham on loan until the end of the season. The Hammers are one of 132 teams who were linked with the Republic of Ireland forward this January.
Will Adam get his move?
Another player to be linked with several clubs is Blackpool midfielder Charlie Adam. The Scottish international has been one of the stars of the season for the Tangerines, and has been the subject of bids from Liverpool, Aston Villa and Birmingham, none of which have met the satisfaction of manager Iain Holloway.
Adam has since handed in a transfer request, but if one of the trio of clubs mentioned come in for him again, then the seasiders have to decide whether a potential £8-10 million gain will not sacrifice a £50 million gain from Premier League survival come the end of the season.
Sebastian Larsson is another player whose future is up in the air. The Birmingham winger’s contract expires at the end of the season, and the Blues have had to decide whether they should sell him now or let the Swede leave for nothing at the end of the season.
Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier has already said he is willing to wait until the summer, leaving Birmingham fans wondering if Larsson will be all that bothered if they go down while he moves to their fierce rivals.
Let’s not forget the ramifications of the deal that started off the drama of this transfer window. While Darren Bent settles into his new surroundings in the Midlands, Sunderland now need to find a replacement for the Sandra Redknapp-wannabe with their striking options left a little short.
The Wearsiders agreed a fee with Stoke for their striker Ricardo Fuller, which would complete a transfer triangle with Villa letting John Carew join the Potters on loan until the end of the season after their signing of Bent.
But talking of triangles, it seems this transfer may have disappeared in one around Bermuda as a fee was agreed 10 days ago, and a deal still isn’t concluded. Although Sunderland’s claims that they haven’t made a bid for Fuller may be more of a logical reason for any potential transfer being held up.
Of course, all of these mysteries and sagas will be revealed throughout the course of the day. It may turn out to be the biggest disappointment in the history of transfer deadline days, but whether deals collapse or conclude, Monday 31st January 2011 may go down as the most exciting deadline day yet.
What do you think? Does the transfer deadline day excite you? Do you think it’s a waste of time? What deals do you feel will happen today, especially involving your clubs? Let us know