Torres moving for £50 million, Carroll to Newcastle for £35 million, Luis Suarez’s multi million pound move to Anfield. So who got the best deals on the most bizarre and memorable of transfer deadline days?
Much speculation has surrounded whether it was Mike Ashley who forced Andy Carroll out of Newcastle United last week, or if it was the Englishman’s demand for a new contract which led to the move.
All I know is that if I was Mr Ashley, I would have done everything I could to force the player out of the club. I would have spent a night on the town with Joey Barton if necessary.
It is not that Carroll is not a good player; he clearly is an excellent player, and for one so young he has much to give. And it is not his lack of discipline off the pitch motivating me to say that. It is because £35 million is a price reserved usually for the genuinely great players of their time. Andy Carroll is not, and probably will not be, one of those.
A good, lumbering traditional English centre-forward from the 70s combined with the technique of the foreigners who have streamed into the Premier League since, he has everything you would want from a forward. But as Michael Ricketts will tell you, one good season in the Championship followed by an impressive start to life in the Premier League is no guarantee of a glittering future.
The paths that one so young can take are numerous; and the chances of a player taking the correct path are largely determined by their mental attributes. It is the mental attributes of a player that are most important when separating the good from the great. The formative years of a player’s development, up to the age of 14, are dependent on the ability of a player. If the player has enough ability, he will then have to adapt and mature physically until the end of his teenage years when he is ready to make the breakthrough. Once the breakthrough has been made, maturity and mentality are the most important aspects of a player’s development, and given Carroll’s off field behaviour, there is a question mark over his head to doubt whether he is mentally capable of justifying his large transfer fee.
But Newcastle must be laughing. Not only did they get £35 million for a player worth arguably half the fee they have received for him, but they did not have the time to spend it on the last day of the transfer window. Given that the club seem good enough without Carroll if last Saturday’s comeback against Arsenal is anything to go by to survive in the Premier League this season, they have little else to play for and therefore, no need for an immediate replacement. At the end of the season there will be plenty of time to pick a bargain from the transfer market ready for next year.
Newcastle’s neighbours, Sunderland, were similarly grateful beneficiaries of a generous transfer fee for Darren Bent, the prolific striker who netted the club an initial £18 million. Whilst a good Premier League player, it was again another fee which many believe to be excessive and not a true reflection of Bent’s true worth. A fast striker who can score goals, but Bent can do little else.
It is ironic that the two best signings of the season so far up front have been by the two clubs at the top of the league, bringing in Marouane Chamakh and Javier Hernandez at the start of the season for a combined £6 million. When the two top teams in the country can buy two top class strikers between them for a seventh of what Carroll and Bent’s joint fees cost Liverpool and Aston Villa, it is right to question the wisdom of such large transfer fees. The teams from the North East have done terrific business, and are surely the winners from this most bizarre of transfer windows.