Thursday, March 20, 2008

The savior returns from West Brom

Barnsley's run in the FA Cup has been nothing short of remarkable, but an extra layer of magic was added by the heroics of their goalie, Luke Steele, who was signed just three days before the 2-1 win at Liverpool and who also kept Chelsea at bay in the quarter-finals.

However, his participation in the semis against Cardiff was thrown in doubt when his emergency loan deal expired on Monday. The team that owns Steele? Fellow FA Cup semi-finalists West Bromwich Albion. The two sides were dragging their heels on finalizing a permanent switch, and to the relief of Tykes fans everywhere, the deal was put through this morning, and Steele will be a full-time Barnsley keeper from this summer on.

You may recommence breathing.

The sticking point was the nature of the deal that both sides were looking for. According to the BBC, West Brom were keen on Steele joining Barnsley in a permanent deal, although they wanted more of a wage subsidy from Barnsley while he was there on loan. During the first loan spell, the Baggies paid 60% of his wages to help the Tykes deal with the extra expense, although now that Barnsley's collected a boatload of FA Cup money, the switch this time around is thought to be a lot more even.

Of course, Steele wouldn't be able to play against West Brom should both teams win their FA Cup semi-final games, but that's immaterial at this point.

Who knows, considering that EPL keepers are dropping like flies, and that most of the ones left standing simply aren't that good, Steele might well be auditioning for a bigger stage in the future.

Here's looking at you, Paul Robinson.

No comments: