ANOTHER DAY DEADLINE IN CAN
Jim White’s yellow tie was nowhere to be found. WhatsApp has long since killed the trick of having two cellphones on the desk. Fans hanging out at a training ground cheering on a new, beefy signing are just another casualty of Covid-19. Things aren’t what they used to be. But, as he slammed shut, The Fiver had to admit that the January 2022 transfer window had actually been almost interesting. Among the big boys, Manchester City have signed new Sergio Agüero/Vicente Matías Vuoso in Julián Álvarez. Liverpool have landed Luis Díaz and are likely to return this summer for Fabio Carvalho from Fulham, although the paperwork has not been completed in time. Chelsea haven’t signed anyone. Manchester United got rid of Anthony Martial but Jesse Lingard was retained.
The battle down below hinges on whether Newcastle dropped their pants by splashing out £85million of Saudi plunder on Kieran Tripper, Chris Wood, Bruno Guimarães and Dan Burn, with Matt Targett on loan from Villa. At Watford, Mr Roy has to make do with the regenerative talents the Pozzo family expected Claudio Ranieri to do better with. Norwich bought nobody, their only business at the deadline being the loan of heavy Pantene user Todd Cantwell to Bournemouth. And with Wood cashed in, Burnley can now throw him over Dutch mountain Wout Weghorst. There’s Frank Lampard’s The Ev, of course, who upholds the club’s proud traditions by acting as a repository of fallen talent by borrowing Donny van de Beek and signing Dele Alli. Will this be enough to reach the heights of the 13th? A club needs ambitions, after all something unfortunate the Hammers are lamenting after David Moyes added precisely zero to his squad.
The cries of ‘spending money effing’ are even louder at Arsenal, louder even than at Tottenham, two Juventus players good and with Antonio Conte appeased for this week at least. A thin squad unable to meet their commitments a few weeks ago have lost even more players, with Calum Chambers joining Villa. Then there’s Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, who, while taking what his people called a ‘family vacation’ in the Catalan capital, ended up becoming a Barcelona player. What are the chances? For a while, a 2022 reboot of caper Peter Odemwingie, using a private jet rather than a Range Rover, looked on the cards.
Aubameyang joined Barcelona less than a club, now more a Catalan recreation of Arry Redknapp’s Portsmouth of the late 2000s, where top players show up for no particular reason despite finances tighter than The Fiver’s overalls after another lockdown Christmas. Chambers and Aubameyang joined a roster of Sokratis, Shkodran Mustafi, Sead Kolašinac, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Mesut Özil in receiving the icy shoulder from Mikel Arteta. That lot cost £194million, with Arsenal not benefiting from a transfer strategy that resembles a market stall handing out gifts at closing time.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“My gang and I have taken a path and we won’t stop until we’re in every stomach and baked in every oven at some point! One man! One pizza! Let’s see how far UEFA will go BUY THE HOTTEST MUSHROOM PIZZA IN THE WORLD, everyone!- the owners of Pizza Wolke, a small restaurant in Germany, are reacting to news that UEFA are taking legal action against them for selling a pizza called “The Mushroom League.” Keep up the good fight, Aleksander.
The $exy Beast Reboot You Didn’t Know You Needed, by David Squires.
“Didn’t think Friday’s slogan of ‘Five Letters on Your Own Winter Vacation’ was serious on Friday? Why is Fiver Letters taking a winter break? It’s not like they do a lot of work. Or did I miss something in yesterday’s Fiver? And now I just used the word “missed”, which may imply a personal attachment to The Fiver, which isn’t what I mean at all!” – Katie Maddock.
“I noticed that Frank Lampard’s Everton manager, Frank Lampard, referred to FLE as a ‘unique’ club in his announcement speech, instead of the usual platitude of ‘huge’. to set the stage for when it all goes horribly wrong?–Gerry Rickard.
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
Police have been given more time to question Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood on suspicion of rape and sexual assault.
Tyler Rattray, the captain of the Raith Rovers women’s team, has quit and crime writer Val McDermid has ended her sponsorship in protest at the signing of David Goodwillie, who was found guilty of raping a woman by civil court in 2017. any claim to be a community or family club,” McDermid said. “Goodwillie has never expressed any remorse for the rape he committed. His presence at Starks Park is a stain on the club. I will also tear up my subscription. It’s heartbreaking for me and for many other fans, I know.
The PFA has warned that there is still a long way to go to achieve parity between male and female players, despite “significant” changes in new contracts for women’s football. In the meantime, the NWSL has reached a collective agreement with the players’ association which includes a minimum wage of €35,000.
Aaron Ramsey says he chose to join Pope’s Newc O’Rangers because they are so big. “I had a number of offers on the table, but none matched the magnitude of this club,” cooed the Juve midfielder on loan.
Barca chief Joan Laporta has directed another ray of blame at his predecessor Josep Bartomeu for the club’s dire financial situation. “Our audit revealed that the payments which we understand were mismanagement of club funds,” he said, handing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang €1 and an official Barcelona pen as payment for his first day of work. .
Cork City defender Cathal Heffernan, 16, has just signed for Milan. “Words cannot describe how happy I am,” the month-old defender applauded.
Takumi Minamino and Junya Ito scored the goals as Japan beat Saudi Arabia 2-0 to boost their own – and Australia’s – hopes of qualifying for the Human Rights World Cup.
Dele Alli can’t wait to take his flask and lunch box to Finch Farm to start working at Frank Lampard’s Everton. “I can’t wait to get started and I can’t wait to play my first game in a [Frank Lampard’s] Everton shirt,” applauded the midfielder, who will cost between £10m and £40m depending on how useful he is in said shirt.
And Jermain Defoe is ready to give League One defenses sleepless nights after joining Sunderland.
WANT EVEN MORE?
The final transfer window verdict: how each Premier League club fared in January. And for added fun, why not run through every move in Europe’s top leagues.
Ben McAleer picks 10 great deals across Europe so you don’t have to.
Eddie Howe needs to show the Newcastle transfer tax was worth paying, writes Louise Taylor.
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