Friday, February 01, 2013

La fenetre est fermee

C'est fini.

That is to say, the transfer window has finished - closed until the summer, by which time we'll know whether QPR's decision to splurge a vast fortune on players was a gamble worth taking.

Closer to home, when reflecting on the transfer window it's difficult not to feel pretty pleased with the job done by Graham Carr, Jabba, Llambiarse and the Silver Fox.

As I suggested at the start of the month, in addition to Dreamboat's bff Mathieu Debuchy who joined us when Christmas trees were still to be taken down, we needed to add a striker and centre-half as a minimum.

Once the inevitable happened and Demba Ba went to Chelski, the need for a striker increased and we turned our attentions to Loic £emy, only to be jilted by the player in favour of Droopy's big bags of cash.

Our nose bloodied in the transfer scuffle, we nonetheless came out fighting and in one miraculous week effectively signed a player a day, all from France, all representing seemingly decent value in the market and all, apparently, committed to getting us out of the relegation scrap we'd managed to land ourselves in.

First we added MYM, the strong centre-half we'd been craving - although, after our experiences with £emy, there were a few nervous people on Tyneside watching the skies for his plane to arrive, after snow reportedly pushed the transfer back a day and with Arsenal reportedly hovering in the wings.

Then, with the ink still drying on MYM's contract, we replaced Demba Ba with Goofy, the player effectively eschewing Bordeaux for Brown Ale.

The next day saw confirmation of Massadio Haidara coming in to challenge Davide Santon for left-back and then the cherry on the icing of a very large gateau was the arrival of Moussa Sissoko. Like Goofy, Sissoko would have been out of contract in the summer, but prudently we opted to spend a little money to ensure he joined us now, in our hour of need.

With Swiss teenager Kevin Mbabu joining us at the end of the month we have, at the very least, increased the pool of available talent from which the Silver Fox can draw as he attempts to pilot us to safety.

On the departure front, the loss of Ba was the most significant, as our leading striker took his goals to Stamford Bridge. The only other permanent departure this month saw the Xisco Kid, that most extravagant of the Poison Dwarf's follies, finally leave for pastures undoubtedly less well-paid. Otherwise, a number of reserves were packed off to gain more first-team experience.

In an ideal world, we'd have added a further striker to the squad, as we're reliant on Goofy hitting the ground running to share the burden with Papiss Cisse and Big Lad, so from that point of view we could have done slightly better.

However, the addition of three full French internationals and two highly promising youngsters is a staggeringly good recruitment drive. Coupled with our retention of Sideshow Bob, the squad looks significantly stronger now than it did 31 days ago and should hopefully prove itself more than capable of hauling us to safety and giving the Europa League a good go.

Credit for this month has to go to Graham Carr for once again identifying a clutch of promising players available at sensible prices and also to Jabba and Llambiarse for managing to get the deals (£emy aside) across the line.

The baton now passes to the Silver Fox to quickly bed the players into the side and get them playing well.




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