Transfer Window Review

Transfer Deadline Day has become as much a part of English football as FA Cup Final Day, shameful as it is to admit.  The latest one did not disappoint the lovers of this unique occasion – Jim White holding court on Sky Sports News, big named players arriving in private jets, and 2 hour extension to allow the last few deals to go through.

But what actually happened? Manchester United were the big players in this transfer window, bringing in some stellar names – Radamel Falcao, Angel Di Maria, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw.  The signing of Angel Di Maria broke the British transfer record at £59m, but the biggest scoop was attracting Radamel Falcao to the club with only minutes remaining.  Falcao and his agent have spent all Summer trying to attract the attention of Real Madrid, but when it became obvious they weren’t interested, he decided to accept the consolation prize of picking up £345,000 a week at Old Trafford.

Apart from over £150m worth of transfer fees, what also left Old Trafford was their reputation of being a club that wouldn’t ‘buy trophies‘ and that would always promote youth.  The signs were good when they appointed Louis Van Gaal, who has a record of elevating young players to the first team, and yet within 10 weeks he’d decided to forget all that and become the 5th highest spending Premier League manager of all time – quite some achievement, given what’s gone before!

Radamel Falcao Trophies

Will Radamel Falcao be the biggest coup of the Transfer Window?

So what of the other big clubs?  Arsenal brought in Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona, and also Danny Welbeck, who was considered surplus to requirements at Manchester United.  Many Twitter wags were quick to pounce on the fact that he will be the only player in the Arsenal dressing room with a Premier League Winners Medal!!

Liverpool appeared to buy most of Southampton’s team – Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren.  They also added the new clown prince of British football – Mario Balotelli, so one way or another he will make Match of the Day more entertaining!  Slightly under the radar they picked up Alberto Moreno who looks capable of being a star turn from left back.

Manchester City were pretty quiet in their dealings, but with the talent already in their squad and the restrictions of Financial Fair Play, it’s probably little wonder they were quiet.

Chelsea were active quite early, picking up Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa, who looks like providing the goals that they needed last year.  They still had time to let a few old favourites go, Ashley Cole left for Roma and Frank Lampard for a stint in the MLS.  To balance this out they brought another old favourite Didier Drogba back to the club.  Their final bit of business was to wave goodbye to the now usurped ‘most expensive player in British football’ Fernando Torres.  He’s decided to carry on missing from 5 yards in Milan rather than West London!

An awful lot of comings and goings, but we’ve got a long wait before we see how this will effect the destination of all the silverware!

 

Real Madrid Honour Alfredo Di Stefano with Trophy Display

Before last nights Spanish Super Cup First Leg against local rivals Athletic Madrid, Real paid tribute to club legend Alfredo Di Stefano who passed away last month.

The club organised a display of all the trophies he won whilst playing for Real Madrid.  He was also honoured with a huge number 9 shirt on the pitch and several banners in the stand.

Trophies

Alfredo Di Stefano with his some of his trophy haul

In total his collection of silverware included an incredible five European Cups, eight La Liga Trophies, two Ballon D’ors and five La Pichichi Trophies for being La Liga’s Top Goalscorer.

The man was an absolute legend at Real Madrid, and that feat won’t be matched there or anywhere else you wouldn’t think.

 

Team GB’s Top 5 medal hopes in Zurich

  1. Christine Ohuruogu

The reigning world champion begins her campaign for a European Gold this afternoon in the opening rounds of the 400m. Although she has admitted that her year’s break may not have been the best idea, she will go into the event as the favourite but does she have enough in her locker to go all the way? We feel that her absence from major competitions recently may cause her trouble, but hopefully she will prove the doubters wrong.

 

 

  1. Mo Farah

Mo is expected to run in both the 5,000m and the 10,000m in Zurich, giving him two chances to win a European medal and prove that he is back to fitness after pulling out of the Commonwealth Games.  The field in the 10,000m looks to be slightly weaker than that of his previous triumphs and it will be a slight disappointment if he doesn’t make the podium.

 Mo Farah

 

 

  1. Jodie Williams

Williams is currently ranked as Europe’s second best in the women’s 200m, behind Daphne Schippers of the Netherlands, and therefore is looking to win a medal this week. She will be looking to build on her Commonwealth silver and put her past injury worries behind her. Her form certainly looks good of late and she is a strong contender for a gold.

 

  1. Greg Rutherford

The challenge of being up against world champion Aleksandr Menkov is something that may spur Greg Rutherford on to beat his own personal best, something that he admits may be needed if he wants to come out on top in the long jump. It will be a tough test but we certainly expect Rutherford to finish with a medal in these Championships, we just have to hope it will be gold.

 

  1. Lynsey Sharp

One of Scotland’s brightest stars in Athletics, Lynsey Sharp, will be taking to the track just a couple of weeks after picking up a silver in the 800m in Glasgow. She set herself a big target at the Commonwealth games and was struck with illness just beforehand. Sharp will hope to put these worries, and the controversy over her medal behind her and finish with a European medal.


Van Gaal secures first trophy

International Champions Cup

 

 

He only took over the club at the beginning of July, but Louis Van Gaal has already secured his first trophy as Manchester United manager, and he will be hoping that this isn’t the only one this season.

Manchester United fans will remember that, just under a year ago, David Moyes got off to a trophy-winning start with victory in the Community Shield, which then turned out to be the only silverware of a very disappointing campaign.

This year, the red devils have started off the campaign by winning the International Champions Cup after beating rivals Liverpool 3-1 in Miami.

Wayne Rooney was handed the captains armband for the game, and he led by example, scoring the equaliser after his team’s underwhelming start to the game. Juan Mata then grabbed the second goal, before Jessie Lingard rounded off the victory and secured the cup.

United have looked impressive throughout this tournament, thrashing LA Galaxy before overcoming Roma and Inter Milan as well as Champions League winners Real Madrid.

Van Gaal will now be looking to build on this success by mounting a major title challenge this season.


England Leading The Way

To be quite honest, it’s not been a great summer for English sport has it? But finally it looks like we have something to cheer about!

 

Medal Table

 

At this current moment in time, England are leading the medal table at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, bypassing Australia’s total, as Greg Rutherford added a Commonwealth gold to his collection and Emma Pooley picked up a silver medal in the cycling yesterday, whilst today Jack Laughter won his second medal of the games, picking up the gold medal for the synchronised 3m springboard (along with Chris Mears).
It’s great news for British athletics and a host of other sports – with Scotland also appearing high up the table, giving promising signs for the upcoming European Championships as well the Olympics in 2014.

There are still 2 more days to go in the games, and therefore lots of chances for more medals to be won in a host of sports – so let’s hope we can finish the summer on a high!


What’s Next – A Medal In Batter?!!

Glasgow hosted the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony last night and it was no surprise to see a very clichéd representation of Scotland.

I can’t confess to seeing it all, but what I did witness was Scotty Dogs, Kilts, a Caber, Bagpipes, Mull of Kintyre, Rod Stewart, the Loch Ness Monster and enough tartan to make you dizzy!!  I didn’t see the Krankies or Russ Abbott, but maybe they’re being saved for the closing ceremony!

All that remains is for the medals to be deep fried in batter!!

Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony