Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughThe Transfer Window before the Transfer Window - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough The Transfer Window before the Transfer Window - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

The Transfer Window before the Transfer Window


The Barclay’s Premier League 2011-12 season had a lot of twists and turns, and undoubtedly an epic finale. The last minutes of the last match of the season decided the trophy holders.

The Big Four, as they are commonly referred to, did not have a season worth the prestige of the name. Manchester United lost out on goal difference only to finish second. Arsenal, despite a shaky start to the season, managed to somehow find form, especially through their ace Robin van Persie, and finished third, 19 points behind winners Manchester City, who won after 44 long years. Chelsea finished 25 points behind City in the sixth place. Thankfully, then interim manager Roberto Di Matteo found the rhythm at the right time and brought home silverware in the form of FA Cup and Champions League.

Liverpool, one of the behemoths in the English circuit, have had a torrid time these past few years. Beaten by Chelsea in this season’s FA Cup final, Liverpool find themselves devoid of much silverwarein recent years, managing to finish a paltry 8th in the table this season. Certainly, their glory has waned and they now find themselves 22 years older without a single Premier League trophy in their cabinet. All this did encourage active involvement in the post-season transfer window.

​Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich was among the first few to dive into the transfer market scouting for players to revamp The Blues. Despite Di Matteo’s run of important victories over Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the Champions League, Abramovich continued to look for better options elsewhere, while keeping Di Matteo stalled and uncertain of his future at Stamford Bridge. The Russian oligarch continued to pursue Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola by trying to lure him to Stamford Bridge. But Guardiola had already made his decision of taking an year-long sabbatical, thus limiting available options for Abramovich. Soon, Di Matteo was appointed with a one-year deal, possibly extending to two, much to the pleasure of Blues fans all over the world.

But even before finalising the manager, the Russian owner had already started revamping the squad. Drogba, Kalou and Bosingwa did not have their contracts renewed and Abramovich decided to let them go. It seems he is keen on building a squad around the £50-million purchase Fernando Torres. To strengthen the attack, Abramovich bought Belgian sensation Eden Hazard from Lille for an astounding €40-million, while also bringing Marko Marin from Werder Bremen for €8-million. One would have assumed that two star players would have been sufficient to create strong play around Torres.

But two is seemingly not enough for a person with an ambitious vision. Hulk’s transfer to Stamford Bridge was arguably the hottest transfer gossip, but it seems to have been stalled for the time being, with price negotiations drawing out to a deadlock. Now that Chelsea have become masters of the defensive solidarity technique, it is only a matter of time before they begin to overcome the attacking mental block and become a side to be reckoned with caution. If Hulk’s transfer does go through, Di Matteo will certainly have a lot of creative talents at his disposal. Will Chelsea be once again formidable? Certainly.

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson also has shown some activity in the transfers arena. Shinji Kagawa and Nick Powell have been confirmed as United players for the next season. Kagawa’s transfer from Borussia Dortmund for €15-million and Powell’s transfer from Crewe for €5-million are Ferguson’s indications that he means business in this transfer market. With legends Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes past their peak, it has indeed been difficult for United to find worthy replacements and these transfers should be the start of recruitment of young talent.

Indeed, Ferguson’s ability to mould youngsters into club legends is unquestionable. But how valuable will these two transfers be to United this year remains a matter of speculation. Among the Scot’s wish-list are Udinese star Kwadwo Asamoah, 20-year-old prodigal playmaker Christian Eriksen from Ajax, Everton’s Leighton Baines, PSV Eindhoven midfielder Kevin Strootman, Athletic Bilbao’s Javi Martinez and 18-year-old striker Angelo Henriquez. How many of these will be seen in the red side of Manchester is something that time will tell. After losing out to Manchester City in the final moments of the season, Ferguson should be looking to come back with a vengeance next season. The transfer market will be a good indicator of his plans.

Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger remains worried about his star Robin van Persie and his future at the club. Van Persie has hinted at bidding adieu to the Emirates Stadium as he does not see a promising future at the club. Van Persie, unhappy about the current state of affairs at the North London club, wants trophies to his credit and not just reassurances from the management at Arsenal. Despite being offered a £130,000-a-week deal and being discouraged by his parents and wife to leave the Gunners, van Persie remains undecided about his future. With his European Championshi

p campaign coming to a disappointing end, van Persie should now focus on deciding about his future. Arsenal have already signed German striker Lukas Podolski from Koln for €13-million and are also targeting French striker Olivier Giroud. With the addition of such strong athletes, van Persie should, ideally, stay back with the club that has almost made him a legend. But big-spenders Manchester City want to buy their way into the Gunners’ squad as well, as they have reportedly made an offer of£250,000-a-week for the Dutch striker. Russian striker Alan Dzagoev, who impressed with his fluency on the ball in the Euro Championship, has caught the eye of Wenger and a bid may soon be on its way. Ajax defender Gregory van der Wiel, Montpellier’s Younes Belhanda, Blackburn Rovers’ Stephen N’Zonzi and Javi Martinez are also on Wenger’s radar. The players on Wenger’s wish-list can easily seep into the fluid game at Emirates, and may well award the Gunners the much-needed silverware. Can Arsenal get a couple of bright talents and snatch the Premier League trophy? Certainly, but consistent performances at the highest level will need to be delivered to end the 7-year drought.

Liverpool, after letting go of manager Kenny Dalglish following a more-than-disappointing run this season, appointed Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers to fill up the vacancy. Rodgers now faces a Herculean task of bringing back to the Merseyside the glory that was once theirs. With over 20 years gone since Liverpool last lifted the Premier League trophy, Rodgers will have to mend the fragments that Liverpool have been left in, and will have to rebuild his squad from the ashes. Rodgers, soon after appointment, has started his work with vigour and zeal, having shortlisted Fulham’s Clint Dempsey, Russian Alan Dzagoev, Chelsea’s Daniel Sturridge and City’s Adam Johnson for possible transfers to Anfield. Can Rodgers make Liverpool rise up from the ashes like a phoenix? Time will tell.

Champions League winners Chelsea now have a revamped squad and some flair ought to be seen in their style of play. Di Matteo’s tactics have paid dividends so far and The Blues’ fans will surely hope for more silverware in the next season. With Sheikh Mansour’s immense financial backing, City manager Mancini did clinch the Premier League from United’s grip and painted Manchester blue. United lacked the formidable creativity in midfield that they have historically had and failed to bag victories when it mattered the most.

Arsenal gnawed their way up to 3rd but they would undoubtedly like to decrease the gap in final points in order to challenge for the title. Liverpool suffered from the lack of chemistry and are in desperate need to pull their socks up, dust themselves off and get back on track. The transfer market has shown promise so far. We only hope the next season turns out to be magical. Who are you betting on for the next season?


Siddharth Muzumdar

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