Wednesday, December 31, 2008

EPL January Tranfser Window Oddsmaker

January 1st means only one thing around here: the start of the January transfer window! It’s like Christmas, Hanukkah and your birthday all wrapped up in one!

Looking ahead to the end of January, the British press's rumor pages will have managed to link every single player with a move to every single team. But the press isn't really to blame. They’re just catering to fans who are desperate for any sign that their team will be improved for the second half of the season.

In our own amateurish way, after the jump is a little run down of what yours truly thinks might actually happen in the English Premier League (suck it, Barclay’s!). Please don’t accuse me of pretending to have any special insight. I'm just making stuff up like the professional journos do.

Blackburn’s Roque Santa Cruz to Manchester City

Santa Cruz is unhappy, hasn’t been scoring goals this season, and the Big Fat Walrus could use some added cash to help Blackburn avoid relegation. Man City has There Will Be Blood-style oil-laden billions of cash to spend, even if Mark Hughes is warning that they actually won't be spending money like the proverbial drunken sailors (nice try convincing anyone one of that). As the BBC noted, Citeh have now set their sights slightly lower than Kaka, Torres and Buffon. Santa Cruz seems about right, especially with Jo stuttering badly. This one might seem fait accompli, but the gods of the transfer market are fickle, so we are going no higher than 75%.

Everton’s Mikel Arteta to Arsenal

A mighty cheer went up from the Gooner masses when the always-reliable Guardian reported that Arsenal are interested in signing Arteta. As the Arseblog explains far better than I could, Arteta fits the bill for what Arsenal need most desperately at the moment: an experienced midfielder with a great workrate who can stabilize the team while Fabregas is recuperating and can also play beside him down the road. That said, the question is whether Everton would sell, which really means whether Arteta will demand the move. The upside is an increased wage and Champion’s League play, and yes he can play this season (Rules 17.17 and 17.18). Moyes should be able to cover up for Arteta’s absence with some spackle and a couple 2-million-pound replacements, and could then use the extra cash on a badly needed striker. However, Arteta might choose loyalty to Everton above all else, and might figure that with Everton he’ll at least get UEFA Cup competition and the continued loving adoration of the supporters. This one gets a very non-committal 50%.

Emile Heskey Leaving Wigan

Poor Wigan, who in American terms are the quintessential small market team. They have a fantastic track record of bringing in talent, even if that talent is often in the form of much-traveled castoffs. And they have absolutely no ability to keep the players who develop into solid contributors. In many ways, it’s a tribute to Wigan’s management that they’ve remained viable in the Premiership for as long as they have when their stadium routinely draws no more than 18,000 attendees and most players available on the transfer market have no interest in joining the Latics. So now you have 50-year-old Emile Heskey, who has occasionally played himself back into international contention, who much like the Costello to a team's Abbott can be paired up to do a lot of the physical work up front, and who is out of a contract this summer and sure to leave for nothing. So, the chances of his departure in January are 100%. As for where, I'd reckon 30% to Aston Villa, who are in need of strengthening if they're serious about contending for Champion's League, 35% to Liverpool, who are in need of strengthening if they're serious about winning the Premiership, and 20% Spurs, especially if they don't land Defoe (see below). And yeah, I've left myself 15% for Heskey going somewhere else. It's called "hedging!"

Pompey's Jermaine Defoe returning to Spurs

This one has been talked about so much, it has to happen, right? Right?? Well, maybe. Defoe would return to Spurs after a pretty disappointing spell with Portsmouth, and would return to 'Arry's tutelage, who arguably did a decent job of getting Defoe to play up to his potential. The biggest hindrance appears to be Pompey's insistence on a large cash windfall, which according to the Independent would include wiping out the 7 million quid still owed plus a wheelbarrow full of cash. So, I rate this one at 35%. It just seems too cute and too perfect, and hence one of those deals that are destined to fall through.

West Ham Fire Sale

West Ham is royally fuxxored (I know, but we're trying to keep it clean around here). Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson has lost quadrillions thanks to the collapse of Iceland's economy, and they and they still have l'affair de Tevez floating around. And so, West Ham appear to be a selling club, despite Gianfranco Zola's best efforts to the contrary. The question is just how many first team players will find the exit door... Bellamy, Parker, Upson, Behrami and Green have all tipped. I'd say there is a 40% chance of at least three starters leaving, and 66% of at least two starters leaving. Any more than that and West Ham risk losing whatever modicum of respectability and stability they might have, as well as losing Zola. I wouldn't be surprised if Bellamy ends up staying through the end of the season, with Upson and Parker the likeliest pair to leave.

And I'm surely leaving out lots more, such as Keano going back to Spurs... so please have your say in the ol' comments


Ibracadabra said...

Very interesting. As a Pompey fan, I'd hate Defoe to go. I also have to disagree that he has had "a pretty disappointing spell" at Portsmouth - in fact - it's been the best move of his career:

Defoe ended last season with 8 goals in 12 appearances for Pompey.

He was initially overlooked for England by Capello at Tottenham, but after he joined Portsmouth - he has been a regular in Capello's England squads ever since.

Lastly, he may be in a bit of a slump now - but he does have 8 Premier League goals already this season - the same amount as Cristiano Ronaldo - and more than Adebayor, Michael Owen, Robbie Keane, Wayne Rooney, or Dimitar Berbatov.

Happy New Year!

Mike Georger said...

I for one can't wait to see how much United spend as SAF has already said twice they won't be buying, which guarantees they already have deals done.

Andrew said...

I actually wikipedia'd 'Emile Heskey' just to make sure he wasn't 50 years old.

Arshavin and Arteta arrive at Arsene's Arsenal. Arsome!

Precious Roy said...

And Toure leaves. Less Awesome.

Andrew said...

Toure isn't leaving, is he? He's been marginal this year, but all I found on his transfer is some bullshit in the Sun.

Precious Roy said...

Word is that he and Willie Gallas hate each other and had a dust up in the locker room. Since Arsene is wed to Willie, Toure looks to be leaving.

The Fan's Attic said...

I just noticed it, but I like the typo in the headline.

Mike Georger said...