x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Prudence the keyword for Man City as transfer window closes

Roma midfielder David Pizarro moves to Etihad Stadium on loan until the end of the season, while QPR bolster an already bulging strike force with Djibril Cisse and Bobby Zamora.

David Pizarro was the only deadline-day addition to the Manchester City squad, brought in on loan from Roma.
David Pizarro was the only deadline-day addition to the Manchester City squad, brought in on loan from Roma.

If one deal epitomised the anaemia of the Premier League’s transfer window it was Manchester City restricting their recruitment to a 32-year-old Chilean whose last first-team appearance came in October. The wealthiest club in the country, berated for their “unfair” spending, has stuck to their strategy and restricted themselves to a loan deal.

Despite Roberto Mancini’s persistent attempts to persuade his employers to invest in securing a Premier League title, there would be no Daniel de Rossi arriving from Roma. No €8 million (Dh38.4m) salary and sizeable transfer fee to add to City’s accounts.

Instead Mancini was allowed only to borrow David Pizarro the Italian club, a £70,000 (Dh 404.981) wage the limit of City’s largesse.

As the club’s hierarchy had promised, this winter window was about improving the books. Nedum Onuoha brought a fee from Queens Park Rangers, the long idle Wayne Bridge had been loaned to Sunderland, covering some of the defender’s £90,000 weekly wage.

And there were ongoing efforts to extract the €30m as king price for Carlos Tevez, who was happily testing everyone’s patience by appealing a six-week fine for gross misconduct to the Premier League.

As The National went to press some three hours before the UK transfer deadline, the division’s entire 20 clubs combined had invested less in transfer fees than the £50m Roman Abramovich spent on Fernando Torres 12 months before.

Not a single fee had breached the £10m mark, television news coverage was forced to detail the minutiae of occasional Croatia striker Nikica Jelavic’s switch from Rangers to Everton.

With half the Premier League required to navigate evening fixtures last night as some tried to push small-scale deals over the line, their total spend was struggling to exceed a quarter of the unprecedented £225m total of the previous January.

There was certainly a lesson to be learned from the £100m-plus myopia of 2011’s final day on which £85m went on Torres sale to Chelsea and Liverpool’s purchase of Andy Carroll.

In the 12 months that followed English football’s two most expensive players ever had delivered seven League goals between them – Torres losing the confidence of two Chelsea managers and Carroll seeing himself offered to City in exchange for the unsettled Tevez.

Uncertainty usually provokes expenditure, the Premier League’s top six clubs all have a huge amount to play for (and lose), yet none were indulging themselves in the market. Manchester United held to Sir Alex Ferguson’s vow not to get involved in the mid-season midfield purchase a nervous support was calling for. Instead they tried to cash in on the highly talented, but equally troublesome, Ravel Morrison, who underwent a medical at West Ham United yesterday.

At Tottenham Hotspur they were conceding defeat to Blackburn Rovers, who refused to sell Christopher Samba while ensconced in a relegation battle – no matter how many angry interviews the agitated centre-back did.

The manager’s testimony that there would not be “an awful lot” happening at White Hart Lane was slightly undermined by his attempts to lure the injury-prone Everton striker Louis Saha, who was left out of the Toffess’ squad that faced Manchester City last night, and Milos Krasic from Juventus.

Arsene Wenger did what the Frenchman often does in January, acquiring a young attacking midfielder (in this case German teenager Thomas Eisfeld), after baulking at the inflated mid-season prices for the more experienced forwards he had targeted.

Working on a similarly tight budget, Liverpool failed in their attempt to sign Luc Castaignos on loan from Inter Milan.

Only Chelsea had spent any sort of significant money, taking the £7m Gary Cahill from Bolton to increase the homegrown headcount in their squad and securing Kevin De Bruyne's future by handing €7.5m to Genk.

There was also a typically hasty £1.5m offer to Nottingham Forest for Patrick Bamford after the teenage striker scored nine goals in two youth games.

Elsewhere Hugh Rodallega turned down a move to Fulham, preferring to run his contract down for a summer free transfer. Wigan Athletic in turn outbid Newcastle's £1.75m offer for Adrian Mariappa only to have the Watford defender decline to speak to them.

David Moyes spent as much of the money he had taken in on Diniyar Bilyaletdinov as possible before Everton's finance men thought the better of it.

Only at Queens Park Rangers did the spirit of 2011 persist. With Kia Joorabchian assisting him, Tony Fernandes added Djibril Cisse to an already voluminous collection of strikers.

Personal terms were also agreed with Bobby Zamora, who has hopes of making England’s European Championship squad this summer.