Another frantic summer transfer window passed on Tuesday in England, and yet again there was no shortage of drama.
The team who gave their fans the most jitters was undoubtedly Spurs, who managed to sign midfielder Rafael Van Der Vaart at the last second from Real Madrid. The Dutch international moved to White Hart Lane for $12 million – a bargain considering that he’s 27, a full international for a country laden with talent, and has been linked with the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester United in the past. Van Der Vaart will be another valuable midfield weapon for Harry Redknapp, alongside the likes of Luka Modric, Wilson Palacios, and Tom Huddlestone. Most importantly for Redknapp, the Dutchman brings with him precious experience in European competition, which will surely come in handy as Tottenham attempt to not only navigate the Champions League group stage for the first time in their history, but also to solidify their place in the top four of the Premier League.
Manchester City, one of Tottenham’s main rivals for top four status, have been on another shopping spree this summer to prepare for another assault on the established Premier League powerhouses. On deadline day though, they sent some excess baggage out of the club, in the form of Robinho’s transfer to AC Milan. The Brazilian never settled into life at City or in England, and after last season’s loan spell at boyhood club Santos, he was resolute about finding a new club. The Citizens will recoup a rumored $20 million after splashing out over ten times that amount in the market this summer.
Liverpool, another club battling for a place in the illustrious top four, finally landed defender Paul Konchesky from West Ham United. The 29-year-old will reunite with former boss Roy Hodgson at Anfield, while Liverpool reserves Lauri Dalla Valle and Alex Kacaniklic will move in the other direction. Hodgson could not keep hold of Javier Mascherano, however, as Liverpool finally accepted a $26 million bid for the midfielder. The fiery Argentinean, who Hodgson labelled as “selfish” earlier in the week, said he will reveal the “lies” regarding his transfer at some point, so stay tuned for that inevitable fiasco. Portugal international Raul Meireles was brought in from Porto to fill Mascherano’s boots, while Alberto Aquilani, who has only managed 12 starts since joining the club last summer, was loaned out to Juventus.
Liverpool’s bitter rivals Manchester United didn’t do any blockbuster deadline deals a la Berbatov two years ago, but they did send out youngster Tom Cleverley on loan to Wigan. Cleverley, who scored a magnificent goal against the MLS All-Stars during United’s preseason tour of America, will join the Latics for the rest of the season after an impressive loan spell at Championship outfit Watford last season.
Further up north, Sunderland manager Steve Bruce signed frontman Asamoah Gyan from Rennes for $20 million. Gyan was one of the stars of the Ghana side that reached the quarterfinals of the World Cup in South Africa, and he will provide some needed reinforcement to the squad after striker Frazier Campbell tore his ACL last weekend.
And finally, of course, there are the wealth of loan moves that inevitably come up at the last minute, when teams don’t have the time to flesh out permanent deals. Everton defender Joseph Yobo will be plying his trade at Fenerbahce this season, with the possibility of a permanent deal worth about $8 million if he impresses in Turkey. Former Arsenal midfielder Alexander Hleb is coming back to England from Barcelona as he joins Alex McLeish’s Birmingham, while former Chelsea striker Eidur Gudjohnsen also makes his return after joining Stoke from French club Monaco.
Deal of the Day
Van Der Vaart is hands down the best bit of business on the final day of the transfer window. He is a player who has the quality to start in any of the top teams in England, so for $12 million that is an absolute steal for Harry Redknapp. Consider this: James Milner is three years younger, has never played in the Champions League, and has only 12 international caps in an England team with much less midfield depth than the Netherlands – and he went for $40 million. Van Der Vaart has 83 international caps already, has played in the UEFA Cup and the Champions League, and he’s just the caliber of player that Redknapp needs if Tottenham are going to get out of the group stages in Europe.