Sorry, Jim White – we’ve cracked the deadline day formula.
1. Something Rather Than Nothing
Star assets who are buggering off in the summer regardless, clubs decide to flog their wantaway superstar in Jan to claw back any crumb of wedge. Almost always deliciously sour affairs for all involved.
Textbook Example - Alexis Sanchez to Man United.
Image being so smug about securing a player that you churned out this dross?
2. Hot Prospect Looking To Develop
Typically involves a drop down a league on loan in a bid to get much-needed game time. Gives them the chance to get kicked about in a league well below their level and if anything, actually harm the technical skills and good professional habits they've spent a lifetime acquiring.
Textbook Example - Any Arsenal youth team player, ever.
3. The Square Peg
For every team with a shiny new multi-million pound saviour, there’s a selling club with a whopping great hole in their team sheet.
And whilst Scrooge McDuck style swimming pools full of cash are fun to have they’re not going to thread those killer through-balls down the channels any time soon.
The only option is to take said wad down the market and find out what dregs are still for sale. Cue desperation spirals towards the end of deadline day, and some frankly hilarious mismatches.
Textbook Example – Robert Snodgrass replacing Dimitri Payet at West Ham.
Special mention also to Newcastle for selling Andy Carroll in 2010 and getting Stephen Ireland in on loan with the proceeds. Stelar work.
4. The Missing Piece Of The Puzzle
At the top end of the table, the big teams unleash entire battalions of scouts to the four corners of the planet in search of the prodigal boy-child to drag them to glory.
“Improve the squad” is the mantra for these talent-spotting experts, who use their years of experience and vast network of contacts to somehow track down the best performing player from outside the title-chasing clubs.
And so, in 2011, Chelsea bought a ripe Fernando Torres about three hours before his expiry date, before stumbling to finish 2nd.
Four years later they excelled themselves again, snaffling Fiorentina’s Juan Cuadrado for £35 million with useless no-mark Mo Salah going the other way on loan. In spite of their net-dodging new perma-sub they somehow won the league, so I’m sure they won’t mind us having a little point and laugh.
Textbook Example – Wilf Bony to Man City.
5. The Loanback
In the dastardly soap opera of top-flight football, this equates to getting engaged to someone else’s boyfriend.
For the player, it’s a chance to say a fond farewell to his old flame, ideally by gifting them a promotion or Eredivisie title to ensure an amicable split. For the buying club, it’s a cunning way of trading somebody in for a newer model while avoiding that awkward break-up conversation.
Also fends off rival suitors, albeit in the manner of Papa Lazarou wielding a big net shouting “you’re my wife now, Dave.”
Perfect Example – Christian Pusilic to Chelsea and back.
Everyone knows the most selfish thing a human being can ever do is run over all the weapons boxes in Mario Kart so nobody else can use them.
And in an industry as petulant and impulsive as professional football, making signings purely to deny their rivals is an old trick.
Whilst far from a modern phenomenon, Roman Abramovich excelled in his early years at Chelsea. At one point his stockpiling lead to concerns of a worldwide shortage of wingers. We’re talking Robben, Duff, Wright-Phillips, Kalou, Sinclair, Geremi and Joey Cole – a flank- heavy squad more suited to playing on a futuristic hexagonal pitch.
Textbook Example – Alexis Sanchez (again) to Man United (not City).
7. The Championship Hitman
Some of the more astute managers in the Prem often identify a “lack of goals” as a key reason for their team not being top of the league as half-arsed renditions of Auld Lang Syne are croaked out across the nation.
Armed with a kitty consisting of a WH Smiths book voucher, they’re forced to look down the divisions for someone who “knows where the goal is.”
Unfortunately for the honest Championship net botherers fingered in times of need, it’s behind a defence with a bigger budget than most governments. Cue six miserable months where everyone quickly remembers that they were loitering around the second tier for very good reason indeed.
Textbook Example – Benik Afobe to Bournemouth.
8. The Usual Suspect
Much like poorly poured pints of stout and dyed-in-the-wool womanisers, some things simply never settle. Quality footballers who are not quite cut out for the elite level are no different, often existing in a weird limbo – always in just about in demand but with one foot permanently out of the door.
Every transfer window, your club will be linked to one of these lads, almost always a shady agent-driven palaver that falls through at the last minute. Rumour has it Dicky Quaresma has been trying to sign for your club since 2007, but he simply cannot write his own name.
Textbook Example – Michy Batshuayi
9. Panic Stations!
Carrying the unmistakeable stench of chairman’s chunder in a pub fireplace, these transfers happen when the Sugar Daddy cracks.
After endless nagging from miserable supporters, greedy agents and a manager who spent his playing career headering himself senile, your chairman will end up signing literally anybody for a few weeks peace and quiet.
Tunisian U-20 international? Perfect. Scored a hat-trick of penalties in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy? Sign him up. Seen his 40-second ‘Tricks ‘n’ Flicks’ YouTube reel accompanied by the Titanic soundtrack? Fine, have him, whatever. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?
Textbook Example – Jordan Hugill to West Ham
11. Rage Against The Dying Of The Light
Knackered vet who's realised he's got about 18 months left in him and is terrified of the prospect of spending any longer with his family than he already does.
Textbook Example - Joe Cole to Coventry
12. Nigel Quashie
There was a time when no self-respecting club could drop out of the Prem without acquiring the services of the human yo-yo in January. Still only 40, he’s surely done enough to earn himself a last-minute helicopter ride to Cardiff.
Textbook Example – Nigel Quashie
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