Every high street shop is still plastered with massive, red sale signs that coat the entire window so you can’t even peer inside. As if you didn’t spend a small fortune over Christmas now you’re being dragged around another soulless shoe store by the other half.
Huge reductions! The signs scream at you, All stock must go!! 70% Off!!! You know, deep in your heart, it’ll be utter rubbish but somehow the tawdry sale sign wins you over and you trudge into the said boutique. It turns out there isn’t a massive sale at all. There might have been at half five in the morning on Boxing Day.
Whilst the rest us sleep off a hangover professional shoppers have weirdly queued outside the door and then devoured the decent sale items in seconds like a pack of wild-eyed locusts. They even greedily buy stuff in three sizes so that they can take the misfits back three days later. All that’s left of the mighty sale now is a pathetic rail of clothes at the front of the store. Tatty, ill-woven fabrics with strange colour schemes and odd crosscheck patterns that only the colour blind or a drunken clown would wear. The kind of stuff your dad wears when he plays golf. All the rubbish that you would never normally handle, never mind wear, and yet you consider it because it’s got 70% off and it costs less than a round of drinks. Thank goodness football isn’t like this eh?
Hold on though because it’s also transfer window time as well. If you listen carefully you can hear Harry Redknapp cackle and rub his hands together. For the next month the papers once again reel out crazed transfer rumours, the red-topped back pages are free to splutter big money buys and bargain sales. The broadsheets do exactly the same, just with a headline that has no pun and with smaller writing. The mind goes back to our previous January buys and loans. You think of the likes of Maniche, Scott Parker, Jarosik, Smertin and you give a slight shudder. Not terrible players, not at all, but never world class, none set the Bridge alight. Then you think of other big movers in past Januarys. The likes of Andy Reid, Robert Earnshaw, Faye and any other journeymen that an agent will no doubt be sending a video tape to Redknapp as you read this. The heart sinks a little.
At the moment the three big names that we’re being linked with are all strikers and it’s fair to say it’s a department where we need adding to this month. At the moment Sheva and Drogba are injured, and, with Kalou missing with Ivory Coast, that would leave Pizarro as our lone, experienced forward. As he has one goal to his name so far so it makes sense to try and bring someone in. Anelka, Berbatov and David Villa are the names that have cropped up most and all three are great, world-class players and would fit into the team well. Berbatov and Drogba upfront would, indeed, be something to purr about. The main problem with the January sales of course is none of their clubs actually want to sell. In fact they would be mental to sell.
Bolton are close to the drop and are only being kept afloat by Anelka’s goals. Berbatov has shaken off his early season indifference and has the genuine class Spurs need if they are to sneak up the table. Valencia are having a nightmare in La Liga and can’t afford to lose Villa or they’ll be fighting relegation as well. It’s halfway through the season and it would make no real sense for these clubs to sell such an asset unless the money was big enough or the player demanded it.
Whether Roman wants to dig deep remains to be seen. A bid could unsettle the player enough so that they demand to leave but by all accounts we should be looking at the back end of the window before any agreement was sorted. Last year Mourinho needed a centre back and the money was strictly kept in the wallet. Chelsea had stuttered over Christmas last year with nothing like the injuries we’ve dealt with this time. Fair play to the squad, they’ve really pulled together and worked hard to stay in the hunt for the title. Players like Joe Cole and Essien have chipped in with the goals, Alex has been a rock at the back and Sheva and Kalou are looking dangerous and scoring up top.
Every player in the squad is doing their bit. The injured players should begin to come back over the next few weeks and we just need to keep in distance and we’ll have a great chance. A big name would certainly give the squad a boast at a valuable time. A tough semi-final, the FA cup, a resurgent Spurs and difficult away game at St Andrews awaits us over the next few weeks. The return of Terry, Maka, Sheva, Malouda, Lampard, Carlo and Cech (any more?!) would be nice but all eyes will be on Roman to see if he is willing to pay for a quick fix this year or not. We can only hope lessons have been learned from last time.