Transfer Deadline Day – The Football League’s Headline Signings
With the big-money moves of Messrs Garcia, Dempsey and Maicon and the like stealing many of the headlines last week, perhaps now is a good time to look at the key deals made on transfer deadline day in the Football League. Whilst the clubs obviously don’t have the same level of money to spend (although evidently Blackburn found £8m to spend on Jordan Rhodes), a good signing can make a terrific effect on a team’s fortunes.
£8m is a stunning amount of money for two Championship-level sides to be paying each other, and is perhaps testament to how rich and popular the league is becoming (with supporter figures outstripping Serie A). But Blackburn Rovers evidently thought Huddersfield Town’s Scottish international Jordan Rhodes, who has admittedly scored a terrific amount of goals in the last few seasons (97 in 181 appearances for Huddersfield in all) was worth the expense, particularly as their other big summer signing, £3m Leon Best, will now be out of action for a significant period of time following an untimely knee injury. Rhodes definitely has great potential and should be a key part of Rovers’ attempt to regain Premiership status. Huddersfield have already moved to replace Rhodes by signing Wolves’ Adam Hammill (who previously excelled at this level with Barnsley) on loan.
Nottingham Forest have also spent big in the transfer window, and followed this up on deadline day by clinching the brilliant loan signing of Southampton’s Billy Sharp, who is a proven goalscorer at this level for the Saints and Scunthorpe. Sean O’Driscoll has also raided former club Doncaster for midfielder James Coppinger, who will also add steel and experience which should help their promotion push. A side effect of these signings is David McGoldrick leaving on loan to Coventry, who will welcome the Forest man’s striking prowess as they attempt to regain Championship status.
Watford’s creeping Udinese-isation continued too, with no fewer than five loan signings arriving from the Italian outfit, also owned by Hornets head honchos the Pozzo family. This brings the total of ex-Udinese players at Watford to 10, although the likes of Almen Abdi and Matej Vydra have already impressed.
Finally, as if they were not looking formidable enough following last week’s six goal tally at home to Ipswich, Blackpool have signed strikers Nathan Delfouneso and Nathan Eccleston. The latter arrives on a permanent deal from Liverpool, while the former has joined on a season-long loan from Aston Villa. Once again, Ian Holloway has shown himself to be extremely shrewd in the transfer market. However, he did miss out on one of his talismans of previous seasons, as striker Stephen Dobbie has joined Brighton.
In League One, Swindon Town have already shown their intentions following promotion form League Two last season. Paulo Di Canio’s men have exploded out of the blocks this season, and commendably triumphed over Stoke in the League Cup last week. They have also acquired some fantastic players over the summer, including John Bostwick (loan from Spurs), Darren Ward (Millwall) and one of Legaue One’s stars of last season, Andy Williams (ex-Yeovil Town). This intent was shown by a great deadline day showing, as Town loaned striker Adam Rooney from Birmingham, midfielder Giles Coke from Sheffield Wednesday, and former Swansea full-back Federico Bassone. All of these should ensure Swindon remain right in the thick of the League One action.
At the other end of League One, Portsmouth had a relatively quiet final day, although considering that Michael Appleton has had to completely re-build his squad from scratch (with one of the last stragglers, Dave Kitson, joining Sheffield United on a free transfer to replace the Hull-bound Stephen Quinn), this might not be surprising. Perhaps the most encouraging action from the last week is that all the bloated ex-Premier League contracts have finally left Pompey. Other key signings last night include last season’s fellow relegation candidates Doncaster Rovers signing Preston forward Iain Hume on loan until January, with the Canadian looking to further continue rebuilding his career following a horrific skull injury a few seasons ago. And in one of the more intriguing moves of deadline day, Bournemouth have signed the cousin of former Holland and Juventus star Edgar Davids, with midfielder Lorenzo joining from German side Augsburg on a two year deal.
League Two was also involved in some action, with the headlines moves unfortunately being players leaving the division. Most lucrative was Ashley Westwood’s move from Crewe to Aston Villa, rated by some as being near £2m, as he follows former team-mate Nick Powell to the Premiership. Chesterfield striker Jordan Bowery has also joined Villa for a fee of around £500,000, money which should prove vital to the Spireites as they bid to restructure following last year’s relegation. Finally, another Ferdinand joined a team managed by another Ferguson, as young midfielder Kane (cousin of Rio and Anton) joined Darren Ferguson’s Peterborough for £200,000. At just 19, if he can live up to the family pedigree, Ferdinand could prove a very astute signing.
So whilst the Premiership teams often take the limelight on transfer deadline day, it is still an extremely important day for the lower league clubs too, although with the loan window remaining open for a little while longer, expect to see plenty more activity soon.