Friday, February 01, 2008

That's all, folks

And so January's over, managers and chairmen alike have finished acting like panicked and giddy students suddenly realising there's a deadline looming, and the rumour mill can stop grinding for a bit. The transfer window has slammed shut on a day of feverish activity - feverish, that is, for pretty much every Premier League side other than us.

Prior to today, the only movement all month in terms of playing staff concerned the arrival of a 17-year-old from Swindon Town. And now, the dust having had two and a half hours to settle, it seems as though the only deal involving us was the one which has taken David Rozehnal to Lazio on loan, with a view to a permanent move in the summer.

That Rozehnal has been defenestrated isn't really a great surprise. The Czech international arrived in the close season with a good reputation, but, after a fairly promising opening few games, his form soon dipped, he lost his place to the likes of Steven Taylor, Abdoulaye Faye and Cacapa, and he's most recently has found himself pressed into action in an unfamiliar defensive midfield role, a situation with which he recently declared his dissatisfaction. With his Bambi-esque legs, inability to stay on his feet and utter ineffectuality in stopping opponents, he had started to resemble Jean-Alain Boumsong - though mercifully he was a fraction of Boumsong's price, at least.

So, no other defensive reinforcements (our plans no doubt scuppered by Jonathan Woodgate's decision to swap Smogside for the Big Smoke and Spurs), no new creative influence in midfield, and no significant bolstering of a shot-shy attack that hasn't scored in the league since Nicky Butt's fortunate equaliser at Stamford Bridge on 29th December - not even 15-year-old striker Luke Freeman, who was met at the school gates by Arsene Wenger before we had the opportunity to bundle him into the car.

Time and again, in spite of ourselves, we look on the mid-season transfer window - and the summer - as our salvation, and time and again those hopes are dashed. We may have got what we wanted in January in terms of a change of management, but that's about all.


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