Fergiewatch # 6: Few changes at Sleepy Hollow

Transfer Deadline Day yesterday and, of course, the really big deal of the day saw United youngster Cameron Stewart turning his loan deal at Hull into a permanent transfer.  Good luck, Cam; probably a wise decision with Nani, Valencia and Obertan ahead of you in the queue for the right side of midfield.

Obertan has allegedly put in a transfer request; errr, désolé Gabriel, but the Transfer Window just closed.  Seems a weird piece of timing, but there you go.  I wondered what lay behind the recent attempts to convert Obertan into a central striker ( a miserable failure at Southampton on Saturday last) and maybe the two issues are connected.  The thing is that no-one can yet be sure how Valencia will be when he returns from his long lay-off at the end of the month, so maybe Obertan’s chance will yet come.

Football’s equivalent of the Chattering Classes have been in full swing today, chewing over the implications of yesterday’s feeding frenzy that saw Torres off to Chelsea and Andy Carroll trying to use Liverpool’s bid for him to leverage more money out of My Cashly’s  battered piggy-bank.  Didn’t work, his bluff was called, so Carroll is now a Dipper.  This surely makes him the most ludicrously overpriced English centre-forward since Garry Birtles – and hopefully, he’ll be similarly effective.

Andy Carroll wants yet more money…..

One thing is for sure, there are a lot of bruised Dippers and Geordies out there, wondering how they can afford to have their Torres/Carroll tattoos removed.  Both players were, to use an overused adjective, ‘iconic’ figures in the sense that they had publicly identified themselves with the ‘mythology’ of their (former) clubs and were seen as figureheads by the supporters.  Every club has been there; United fans went a good way down this road with Wayne Rooney earlier this year and are probably now wishing they hadn’t made such a fuss.

Some – like Sol Campbell and Ashley Cole – are never forgiven by fans of their former clubs and you do suspect that Carroll would do well to avoid Bigg Market for the next few centuries.  Torres, being Spanish, wouldn’t have any reason to return to Liverpool anyway (except when Chelsea are at Anfield or Goodison Park) but,  after all,  that’s as much a case of good breeding as anything else.

Time will tell who’s come off best in this day of Duelling Chequebooks – Chelsea have presumably paid top dollar to bring in a new sulky striker to replace their existing sulky striker(s) but if Ancelotti can motivate him, Torres is a force to be reckoned with, albeit one that is alarmingly injury-prone.  As for the Dippers, the more bullish would say that they’ve invested in potential with Carroll but £35 million represents a big gamble and if his off-field antics are as colourful on Merseyside as they were on Tyneside, he’ll probably be on the front pages as often as he is on the back pages. 

My Little Torres

The jury is still out on Carroll in terms of how good a player he actually is and how able he is to deal with the demands of fame. Either way, he’s ridiculously overpriced – this was a transfer inflated by the following factors: Torres asking to leave so late in the ‘window’ (££££) and leaving Liverpool little time to find a replacement (££££), Carroll being one of the only young English-born strikers of any consequence right now (£££££), the need for the Red Sux suits to offset the anger of Dippers’ fans  at Torres’ departure  and be seen to back Dogleash(££££) and the need to make the fee so huge that Ashley couldn’t ignore it (££££).

Meanwhile, back at Sleepy Hollow, all was calm.  Phelan took Fergie his afternoon cup of cocoa and everyone settled down for a nice nap.  Amazing how the Moral High Grounders have been praising City, Arsenal and United for their restraint in the midst of all this mayhem.  This is a bit like applauding Glenda Hoddle for not making any offensive comments about disabled people this week.

A lot of United fans, mindful of the club’s reputation for lavish spending in years gone by, will still feel uneasy at the lack of activity last month.  Fergie’s insistence that ‘there’s no value in the market’ doesn’t hold any more water now than it did when he first said it and since when did that stop United from spending anyway?  Of course, the man who brought us the godlike talents of Kleberson and Djemba-Djemba would never stoop to such flagrant spendthrift behaviour anyway, even though he’s broken the British transfer record on about 9,000 occasions.

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