It's been another weird week in the world of football
First off. Congratulations if you made it through Dry January… because the final weekend of the January transfer window was enough to drive anyone to drink.
If you were waiting patiently for your team to make that last-minute season-changing signing you were to be left disappointed as instead of the usual mad panicked rush to snap up any player in Europe who has two feet (not always a requirement). We instead got quite sensible loan acquisitions and financially prudent dealings… BORING!
I imagine even Jim White struggled to muster an enthusiastic “THE CLOCK IS TICKING” on Sky Sports News!
In fact, total deadline day spending was as little as £70million, the lowest since 2012 and barely enough to cover Lionel Messi’s tax bill (his official one) let alone his much talked about move to the Premier League.
Arsenal loaned out a few players, Everton continued their transfer policy of signing players who used to be good with the capture of Josh King, and Liverpool added some much-needed fit players to their defence.
You have to feel slightly for their new boy Ben Davies who the club signed from Preston… the ink was barely dry on his new contract and he was instantly bumped down the pecking order with the capture of Ozan Kabak. The way things are going at Anfield they’ll both be injured by the weekend anyway.
West Brom we’re probably one of the busiest clubs. First, they captured the brilliantly named Okay Yokuslu who no doubt inspired some hilarious exchanges in the West Midlands:
Baggie One: What’s the name of that new midfielder we signed?
Baggie Two: Okay?
Baggie: Yeah, I’m fine but what’s the name of that midfielder we signed?
And so on and so on.
The other interesting arrival at The Hawthorns was Ashley Maitland-Niles who joined on loan from the Gunners and chose West Brom as his destination as he believed the promised midfield role would give him his best chance of breaking into the England squad for the Euros (if they happen).
You would have to label his belief that playing six months of football under Sam Allardyce would get him into England set up as “Optimistic” at best. Perhaps he should set his sights slightly lower. Like, say, touching the ball at some point in a match rather than watching it sail over his head for 90 mins as Big Sam shouts at his back 8 to “HOOF IT CLEAR”. That at least feels achievable.
That flurry (ok, maybe not a flurry… what’s a level down from a flurry?) of activity meant a host of new faces were making their debut in the league in this weeks midweek games. It’s safe to say that none went quite as badly as that of Southampton youngster Alex Jankewitz. He featured for just 79 seconds of his teams game vs Manchester United.
Normally, a Premier League debut is short because the player in question has featured as a late substitute, but not here. Jankewitz was in Ralf Hasenhüttl’s starting line up at Old Trafford but was sent packing before two minutes were on the clock after treating Scott McTominay to a move more akin to something Conor McGregor might try in the ring than a tackle on a football pitch.
The good news is he spared himself from what was to come, which was a 9-0 mauling at the hands of the Red Devils and a result that saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer make his weekly flip from PE teacher to football genius.
The biggest victim of the night wasn’t manager Hasenhüttl though, who oversaw his second 9-0 thrashing in the Southampton dugout. It was the Fantasy Football managers who had selected Jan Bednarek in their defence. The player managed to post a record-breaking -7 points… you’d be better off picking a Manchester City player who then gets inexplicably dropped on match day (Damn you Pep Roulette).
It was a more positive week for Sean Dyche, who saw his Burnley side end Liverpool’s unbeaten home run. A record that went back to (I think) the Jurassic period when Carnivore FC got a win at Anfield Courtesy of a T.Rex header (the same week James Milner made his professional debut).
That record-ending win no doubt contributed to Dyche’s good mood when he went off the rails completely in his midweek press conference and started talking about looky-likeys.
Dyche confessed that (as well as Mick Hucknall) he had previously been told he looked like Chris Evans. Chris Evans? It’s such a bad look-a-like comparison that I’m not even sure WHICH Chris Evans he’s talking about?!
Either its the former Radio 1 DJ and star of TFI Friday, in which case whoever made the comparison needs to go to Specsavers. OR it’s the Chris Evans that play Captain America on the Marvel films, in which case its equally as bonkers! Unless that Chris Evans is preparing for a role where he plays a gruff Northern, worm-eating football manager?
Sounds like a crap film that doesn’t it. Still, probably more entertaining than watching Burnley!