Stories's Deadline Day awards

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The slamming shut of the transfer window (with a small catflap left open for sufficiently big clubs to wangle their new signing in after the deadline) is always something of an anti-climax.

That’s why a selection of genuinely interesting moves – to this writer, at least – deserve a spot in the...well, spotlight. It wasn’t a bad final day, really, provided you didn’t spend 14 hours speculating. The BBC’s coverage started at 6am, which frankly beggars belief.

But it was a good deadline day. Apart from anything else, we got to see a revolving door of Milan strikers, as Marco Borriello was shipped to Roma and erstwhile Tottenham target Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to Schalke, on loan and for €13 million respectively, to accommodate new forwards Robinho and Ibrahimovic. Busy times, to be sure.

And that’s not to mention the saga of Rafael van der Vaart to Spurs, which I won’t, due to the fact we’re still waiting to find out if the FA’s fax machine kicked into life before the 6pm deadline (It has since been confirmed – Ed).

Football and technology aren’t the best of friends, it’s true, but why are they still using fax machines? The alternative theory is that Harry Redknapp was surprised by the moving forward of the deadline from midnight to 6pm and woke up at 4pm with no time to do anything.

Anyhoo, the transfer window has closed and it’s time to take a look at the pick of the crop: this year’s best deadline day deals.

The Record Signing
Asamoah Gyan (Stade Rennes to Sunderland)

Not many clubs ‘splash’ their largest ever transfer fee on a relatively unproven African striker, but as the World Cup showed, 24-year-old Gyan is a real talent.

He may never get over that controversial missed penalty against blooming Uruguay (I know I won’t), but here’s the chance for a new start in a new country, where he’ll pair up with his Ghana team-mate, John Mensah. For Sunderland, it could be the start of a beautiful friendship: their two most expensive signings together upfront, Darren Bent and £13 million+ new boy Asamoah Gyan.

He’ll certainly get the opportunity. With Kenwyne Jones surprisingly sold to Stoke and Fraizer Campbell out for six months with ruptured knee ligaments (ouch), Gyan already has quite some responsibility on his shoulders.

The Surprise
Joseph Yobo (Everton to Fenerbahce)

Despite making 23 solid appearances for the Toffees last season, the Nigerian captain finds himself on a plane to Turkey, avoiding interest from a few Premier League teams.

Just as surprising as Yobo’s loan move is the fact that Fenerbahce have the option to buy the defender afterwards for £5 million. Good business for Everton, potentially, but another lengthy injury to Phil Jagielka and they could find themselves short at the back, albeit not literally (Sylvain Distin’s massive).

The Frustration
Gylfi Sigurdsson (Reading to Hoffenheim)

Gylfi Sigurdsson is a quality player. The Icelandic starlet has been burning up Championship defences this season and last, scoring a goal every other game (16 in 32, to be precise) for the Royals from midfield (and the penalty spot).

Unsurprisingly, many wanted to see the 20-year-old – yes, 20-year-old – in the Prem, only to be disappointed when he signed a new three-year deal with Reading just a few months ago.

Now he’s skipped England altogether, moving to Hoffenheim in Germany for an offer Reading couldn’t really refuse: more than their previous record sale of Kevin Doyle for £6.5m.

Good luck, Gylfi. Just come back soon, OK?

The Big Step Up
Jean Beausejour (Club America to Birmingham)

Following in the titchy footsteps of Javier Hernandez from the Mexican league to the English top flight is Chilean winger Beausejour, famous among some – well, me – for being the last player in this year’s Panini World Cup Stickerbook.

The 26-year-old has never played in a major league, and it’s not like Chile’s famed ‘nutter formation’ of 3-3-1-3 in the World Cup will be replicated much on these shores. It could take some time for this man to adapt, methinks.

The Even Bigger Step Up
Matt Phillips (Wycombe to Blackpool)

But Beausejour’s future travails are nothing compared to Blackpool baby Matty Phillips, who has leapt up no fewer than three divisions.

It’s true that Phillips is only 19 and won’t be thrown straight into the Tangerines’ first team, but given the debate over whether Jermaine Beckford could translate League One stardom into Premier League goals at Everton, it will be interesting to see how this man, given the chance, will adapt from not playing that regularly for Wycombe to facing the likes of Didier Drogba.

He cost a pretty penny for a lower-league teenager, too: beyond half a mill if Blackpool survive the drop.

The Birthday Boy
Ian Harte (Carlisle to Reading)

Something of a dream 33rd birthday present for Harte, this: a transfer from League One obscurity to a club determined to make the Championship play-offs.

It’s also something of a bizarre throwback for those who haven’t been following Harte over the past few years, and know of him as a past free-kick specialist at Leeds and nephew of fellow full-back Gary Kelly.

But Harte has been reborn in the lower divisions, scoring an unbelievable 18 goals from defence last season for Carlisle, and could be a fantastic signing for Reading, especially if he progresses into a coaching role.

The Blast From The Past
Marcus Bent (Birmingham to Wolves)

While we’re on the subject of throwbacks, Wolves’ signing of Marcus Bent takes us back to the days when Marlon Harewood was banging in the goals in the Premier League...hang on. Have we just gone back in time this season?

The Swap Shop
Portsmouth and Stoke; Liverpool and Fulham

Deep breath: our Woy has taken Paul Konchesky to Liverpool with him in exchange for reserves Lauri Dalla Valle and Alex Kacaniklic, who move to Mark Hughes’ Fulham, while Stoke have acquired a good’un in Portsmouth’s Marc Wilson, allowing winger Liam Lawrence and troublemaker Dave Kitson to go the other way, to Fratton Park.

Pompey captain Wilson’s a good signing for Stoke, although Lawrence perhaps has more to offer in the Premier League, and Konchesky for £4m plus a couple of makeweights represents some great business for Liverpool. God knows he’s a better left-back than Insua.

The Two Too Little Too Lates
Emiliano Insua (Liverpool to Galatasaray); Nabil El Zhar (Liverpool to PAOK)

Speaking of which, it’s about time Liverpool disposed of this pair of wasters. Young but with little to offer, Insua will probably move permanently to Gala after his loan spell and El Zhar...well, who cares? He’s 24 now – not even one for the future.

Damien Plessis has also gone to Greece, transferred to Panathinaikos.

The Big Fish, Surprisingly Big Pond
Robinho (Manchester City to AC Milan)

There’s no point being koi about it: Robinho loves being the big fish. He went to play in the Brazilian league when things got a bit tough for him at City, then said he wanted to stay there when he returned to find some extra competition (unsurprising when you’re treated as a god out there, helicopter and all, and like a flash turd back here).

Then the grinning imbecile turned down Turkey because the league was too small-time for him (unlike Brazil?), before grabbing a genuinely surprising move to Milan for a fee of £15 million and rising. Good luck to him, the self-centred, attention-craving scamp.

The Loan Ranger
Tom Cleverley, Manchester United to Wigan

This is a clever move, har har, by Roberto Martinez. We’ve seen how youngsters from the very top clubs can impress on loan – Ben Foster at Watford; Jack Wilshere at Bolton; Jack Cork at Burnley; Jermain Defoe at Bournemouth, where he scored in 10 consecutive games; the list goes on – and Cleverley could be another.

The Bargain
Alan Judge, Blackburn to Notts County

To my mind, snapping up the Ireland under-21 international shows Notts County boss Craig Short to be an excellent judge of talent.

I’ll get my coat.

In all seriousness, Judge played well in the Championship last season, on loan to Plymouth, and offers a lot at League One level.

The Who Now?
Stipe Pletikosa, Spartak Moscow to Spurs

With Carlo Cudicini always one coin flip from breaking every bone in his body and Heurelho Gomes prone to both error and injury – the latter being less of a problem if Harry Redknapp actually subbed him when he was struggling – it was important for Spurs to get a third keeper to challenge for the No.1 spot.

Pletikosa is an experienced stopper with 80 Croatian caps to his name, and is seemingly named after an REM frontman.

Still, it’s a bit harsh on youngster Ben Alnwick, who impressed in pre-season, and whom ‘Arry failed to even mention when running through his list of keepers to the press.

The Regretting My Tip For Stoke To Get Relegated
Eidur Gudjohnsen (Monaco to Stoke); Jermaine Pennant (Real Zaragoza to Stoke); Marc Wilson (Portsmouth to Stoke)    

If Stoke losing their first three league matches represented a good start to my conviction they’ll be relegated this season, this trio of excellent acquisitions, with Kenwyne Jones to boot, is a bloody disaster. They’ll probably stay up now.

Still, what a signing Gudjohnsen could be, and what a line graph his career would make: up from Bolton to Chelsea to Barcelona, down to Monaco and Stoke.

The Potential Signing Of The Summer
Hleb (Barcelona to Birmingham)

Fantastic loan signing for Birmingham; I’m not even going to attempt to spell his first name correctly. Features * News * Interviews * Home
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