x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Premier League: Unpleasant experience of shopping in the last minute

Happy managers are hard to find in this transfer window.

Brendan Rodgers faces many challenges as Liverpool manager, such as getting his squad right. David Moir / Reuters
Brendan Rodgers faces many challenges as Liverpool manager, such as getting his squad right. David Moir / Reuters

In the knee-jerk world of Premier League football embarrassment can quickly equal expense. One year ago, Arsenal imploded at Old Trafford, their eight goals conceded followed by four reconstructive transfers in.

On this campaign's first Saturday, Liverpool endured a less than ideal reign to life under Brendan Rodgers as they lost 3-0 to West Bromwich Albion.

Rodgers's response to the setback was to push aggressively on a loan signing who had appeared lost to Arsenal. Last Saturday morning, Nuri Sahin was on his way to London to replace Alex Song.

The Turkey international did not want to leave Madrid, but told he would have little playing time there he had chosen Arsenal over Liverpool for the opportunity to play Champions League football and work with Arsene Wenger. Real Madrid agreed to let him go.

A few days later the deal was off as Real asked for a larger loan fee for a player whose wages alone amounted to €3 million (Dh13.7) after tax.

Wenger baulked at the extra cost, his decision influenced by guidance that Jack Wilshere would soon be back in training and the idea that the funds could be directed to reinforcing elsewhere. Chastened by his opening weekend, Rodgers paid the premium for a player who "understands how to control games", with the season-long loan confirmed today.

Expectation and results are not the sole pressures playing on Liverpool's new manager. Committing Luiz Suarez to a contract extension was a success which reflected the forward's satisfaction with Rodgers's coaching, yet also came with the Uruguayan's demand that the quality of Liverpool's squad be markedly improved.

Andy Carroll has become a throbbing migraine. A striker Rodgers never wanted has set his heart on a return to Newcastle United, making it clear how difficult it will be should his wish not be granted. Though Rodgers says that "to even consider wanting to take him on loan is a liberty", he knows some form of analgesic is required.

Rodgers is not the only one with problems.

Queens Park Rangers lined up with four new signings (including an England international goalkeeper in Robert Green) against Swansea City and were on the receiving end of a 5-0 hiding.

Mark Hughes and Rangers reacted by going shopping for an entirely new centre to their defence. An offer worth up to £9 million (Dh52.2m) was accepted by Tottenham Hotspur for Michael Dawson, who subsequently decided he did not fancy Loftus Road and asked his agent to try to arrange him a transfer to Sunderland instead.

The London side even looked to take Ricardo Carvalho's hefty salary off Real Madrid's hands, but Real are waiting for compensation of their own before the player is allowed to depart.

To complete a trio of extraordinary measures, QPR opened negotiations to take Julio Cesar from Inter Milan.

The Champions League-winning Brazil goalkeeper is surplus to Inter's requirements precisely because he is so expensive. An after-tax salary of £3.1m to add to the chunky wages and agent's fees spent signing free agent Rob Green? It could be the definition of throwing money at a problem.

Happy managers are hard to find in this transfer window. Roman Abramovich has bought Chelsea four gaudy attacking midfielders in Eden Hazard, Oscar, Marko Marin and Victor Moses, leaving Roberto di Matteo to work out a means of combining a group not known for their defensive qualities while stopping opponents from scoring.

Manchester City may still be able to make some late moves following the departure of Adam Johnson to Sunderland and Emmanuel Adebayor to Tottenham this week, but their principal target, Roma's Daniel de Rossi, seems unlikely, while Robin van Persie signed for Manchester United last week.

That the latter ended up at Old Trafford can be partly attributed to Sir Alex Ferguson's own transfer market tribulations. Hazard was left to Chelsea because the £34m transfer fee, wages and £6m agent's fee were "absolutely ridiculous". A protracted pursuit of Lucas Moura ended when Paris Saint-Germain gazumped him by handing Sao Paulo €42m (£33.25m) for the Brazilian.

The last of the main Champions League contenders may have experienced the most frustrating summer of all. Andre Villas-Boas arrived at Tottenham bearing a plan to cash in on Luka Modric to buy the striker, winger, controlling midfielder and goalkeeper he wanted to rebalance their squad.

However, going into the window's final week, his Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is still pushing for maximum income on Modric, and firing iron upon iron as he seeks the best deals on incoming transfers. No one, not even Levy, knows what squad Villas-Boas will end up with on September 1.


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