PATCHED UP, limping badly and well out of form… but we’ll give it a shot. The transfer window slams shut (it is mandatory to use that phraseology) at 11 o’clock tonight and we’ll be rolling along all the way to the bitter end with live updates, some jokes, a few envious glances at our rivals’ shiny new toys and a couple of bitter asides.
Feel free to chip in with rumours, sighting of cars with the number plate M3 SS1 outside the Tontine or Chris Morgan in Teesside Park, or if anyone knows someone who knows Keith Lamb’s sister, speak up.
As deadlines days go this is set to be the most disappointing ever. Once again we are waiting quivering and powerless and waiting to be pillaged by richer clubs and knowing that, in effect, everyone is for sale, and anyone that leaves will be replaced by cheaper makeshifts and stop-gap signings. How the mighty are fallen.
So far we have lost former England fringe defender David Wheater to Bolton, a seasoned battler leading the Gazette’s star chart by miles, to be replaced imminently by German third tier unknown Max von Tackle from Bayern Munchen II.
And we have lost Gary O’Neil, he of the industry, engines and wayward set-pieces, to be replaced imminently by Zammama’s the Daddy, a back from injury schemer from the SPL’s second bottom side but someone Mogga knows and like having signed him for Hibs.
The terms of both those deals (both permament signings, probably both an initial 18 months) have been all but agreed and pens should be wielded very soon. Zemmama would need a work permit if it is a new permament deal and it is suggested that an application has been made after broad agreement on terms over the weekend. Haas is an EU citizen so just needs his international clearance which would be a formality.
That will be that… unless someone better resourced decides to come and take one of our strikers. There is some desultory interest in all four of our front men, potential buyers have looked at them half-heartedly, tutted at the price and put them back over the past few days. As the clock ticks one of those customers may just come back.
Rangers may just be interested in taking Boyd on loan (if the money is right, ie, we pay half of his wages) to team him up with David Healey in an on-loan dream team that will tear up the SPL while CSKA and Spartak Moscow are also keen, although he doesn’t seem overly enthusastic. QPR may be interested in Leroy Lita as although they already have a minibus full of strikers Jamie Mackie is out for the season. Marvin Emnes is still spoken of in glowing terms at Swansea and if they find the funds may be seen as the final piece of their play-off jigsaw. And although Scott McDonald has been away all month in the Asian Nations Cup there may be some passing interest in him from those who have seen him in action from local clubs in Qater and the Emirates.
Club sources have admitted there is some muted interest in Yannick Djalo at Sporting but he was linked with Newcastle, Aston Villa and Spurs last summer and valued at Â£2.6m so will not come cheap, either in fee or wages. For that to come off Boyd and Lita would probably have to go.
More likely is that if any one of the strikers departs they will be replaced by cheaper, short-term, last minute replacements from Mogga’s little list, but probably not a Premier League benchwarmer unless the parent club are ready to pay all the wages. We are looking at a journeyman lower league/Championship hitman of the type we would have turned our nose up at 12 months ago. You think we could get Rob Hulse now?
It is a dangerous downshifting determined by harsh economics. You can’t help fearing that given the very flimsy and fragile gap between Boro and the bottom three that squad trimming now is another big gamble.
Watch this space….
Meanwhile, if you’ve got a few hours to spare (and you will have as you develop RSI flicking between here, my twitter, the official site, Sky Sports News, the BBC and FMTTM) why not look back at last year’s deadline day monster thread that went down to the wire.
A verbal bid of around Â£2m from QPR for Leroy Lita has been rejected because it doesn’t meet Boro’s valuation. As he is the only one of the four frontmen currently performing and who suits the shape of the team we can’t afford to lose him unless the fee is enough to replace him with an equally fitting player on a lower wage.
Meanwhile Boro have been linked with Conor Sammon, the current 18 goal SPL top scorer (*gulp*). He’s at Kilmarnock and has been courted by Derby. Nigel Clough is unwilling to go over Â£500k and admits he could be gazumped by a Championship rival.
Another name in the frame could be Adam Le Fondre of Rotherham. He has refused to sign a new deal and the League One club are now looking to cash in while rumours in South Yorkshire suggest a Championship club is poised to bid today.
And if comes to a loan ranger… Bristol have just had a move to take West Brom striker Roman Bednar on a short term switch rejected. The Baggies Czech striker has just come back from a loan spell at Leicester and is available and Mogga knows him well. Possible stop gap?
Elsewhere Paul Konchesky has joined Forest from Liverpool on-loan. Watch out for his mam’s twitter outburst about the City Ground crowd any day now.
MAXI HAAS CONFIRMED…. Bayern Munchen II stopper signed on 18 month deal.
From BBC website live rolling story:
From ned1984 on Twitter: “Emile Heskey has been spotted at Newcastle. Though, to be fair, he was probably aiming for Middlesbrough.”
Strong suggestions from Hertfordshire that Watford have made a new improved offer for Andrew Taylor. A Â£200k offer earlier this month was rejected by Boro as Mogga wanted to see in action and try to persude him to stay.
Mogga rates him and has told him he wants him to stay. He was keen to reject any offer and keep him until the summer no matter what but recognises the financial realities – Tayls is on relatively big money (*licks finger, holds aloft.. Â£15k per week?) and it is 20 weeks left on his contract… that’s Â£300k plus whatever Watford are offering that is at stake. The beancounters may believe it is too good to turn down.
Boro have offered him a new deal (with a big pay cut) that is more or less the same package as Watford are offering and Mogga was doing his best to sell Tayls a vision of a new Boro that he can be a key part of. Watford however believe that Tayls has now rejected Boro’s offer and so Mogga will be far more willing to cash in.
Meanwhile any (outlandish, deluded and wildly naive) hopes of getting fit again Jonathan Woodgate on loan have been scuppered by Michael Dawson’s red card yesterday against Fulham and more bits falling off permacrock Ledley King. Spurs boss Harry Redknapp has just said: “Jonathan Woodgate is going to be pushed into action quicker than expected. There is no chance of Jonathan going out on loan now. He is staying.”
Sunderland’s Andy Reid is poised to sign for Blackpool leaving Charlie Adam (a Â£3m transfer target for Gordon Strachan this time last year remember) to go to Liverpool. Strong suggestions from Merseyside that Liverpool have accepted a new Chelsea offer for Torres. Not that any of that bothers us.
Back in our universe Preston chairman Maurice Lindsay claims to have turned down offers for Billy Jones, Boro fans’ favourite Sean St Ledger and keeper Andy Lonergan.
BBC reports Liverpool have bid Â£30m for Andy Carroll with Torres going to Chelsea for Â£42m. Crazy, six months in the Prem, injured and with a chequered personal life and he is worth three-quarters of a Torres, or two Afonso Alves’… or six Midos.
Newcastle have rejected it. They’ll want ALL the Torres dosh.
So, what has been our best transfer deadline day signing? And the worse?
12 noon UPDATE…
Eric Paylor has been dispatched to Hurworth for a press conference with Tony Mowbray. No need to get excited, it is the regular pre-match presser for the Scunthorpe match tomorrow. They may double up with a brief Maxi Haas unveiling/shirt pic. He will certainly get updates on Zemmama, Taylor, Lita and/or Boyd.
Meanwhile Newcastle have switched their regular lunchtime presser from the training ground to a 3.30pm one at St James. Whatever for? Could it be to announce exit of Andy Carroll? Newcastle have been saying for weeks that Carroll wasn’t for sale, but that was when Spurs were talking about Â£10-12m plus serial schoolboy fan Robbie Keane. Now suddenly very big money is on the table and to turn it down would be totally at odds with the financial strategy Ashley has taken for the past three years.
Expect Geordies with pitchforks – and David Craig – to start gathering angrily on the Andy Cole Memorial Protest Steps long before then. If Carroll is sold it will be time to get the “Boycoutt” banners out again.
One time Teesside Turkish delight Tuncay is in Germany having a medical and having talks with “Steve McClaren’s Wolfsburg. Stoke have not yet formally accepted a Â£4m plus bid but expect to come to an agreement after a bit of haggling, some brinkmanship and a late fudge over increments and add-ons.
Some things of peripheral interest to Championship makeweights everywhere…
Forest striker Joe Garner has joined Scunthorpe on loan for the rest of the season. He was on loan at Huddersfield earlier this term…. Charlton have signed Federico Bessone on loan from Leeds… anonymous Aston Villa midfielder and one time Boro loanee Isaiah Osbourne has joined Sheff Wed on loan until the end of the season…Hibs have made a loan bid for Sheff United’s Maltese international striker Daniel Bogdanovic who used to torture us when he was at Barnsley…
Fernando Torres is reported to have left Liverpool training ground Melwood “in a helicopter” being whisked off to a bright new future, pausing only to get his “You’ll Never Walk Alone” tattoo doctored to “Chelsea Headhunters .
Leroy Lita leaves Boro training ground with his Range Rover behind a AA tow truck.
BREAKING NEWS SSN!: Manchester United insist Howard Webb is not for sale….. (nicked shamelessly from bobcarolgees on FMTTM)
SSN reports one time Boro boo boy target Jonathan Greening on way from Fulham to Hull on loan. He’d walk into our team now.
Gareth Southgate is confirmed as the FA’s new head of elite development. Before people lace into him about being a crap manager, the job entails communicating and co-ordinating between clubs and academies and the England junior teams right up to Stuart Pearce Under-21s as part of the (latest) Trevor Brooking youth development programme to put in place a coaching strategy that will save England from a technical desert. He gets to keep his other pinmoney job as ITV expert summariser.
Here’s one for nostalgists… two time Boro target USA schemer Michael Bradley is having a medical at Aston Villa and is expected to quickly complete a loan deal from Borussia Monchengladbach. Both he and the Gooch almost joined Boro in 2006.
And a three time former target James Beattie (he snubbed Robbo once, we dropped our interest in him to pursue Mido a second time and then we went for Alves when he was available a third time) is having a medical at Blackpool at looks set for a loan deal. Are Rangers freeing up space on their wage bill for a Boyd bid?
Come on Eric! Don’t be stood there at Hurworth all day chatting. Get yo sorry ass back here with all that red hot soccer chat. Nothing from Boro yet, other than Kris Boyd was still at the training ground when the presser kicked off at 1pm and didn’t look like he was about to be rushed off to Glasgow. Unless he was going by helicopter obviously.
Zemmama is in the building… just waiting for a few bits of red tape before he signs.
Nothing new yet on Lita. If QPR are going to do it, we need them to do it soon. What we don’t need is a late, late bid for Lita that cracks our resolve leaving Boro with no time to get in a replacement. We are already struggling for goal without being left with just Boyd, McDonald and Emnes to choose from. Charlie Wyke, come on down.
Meanwhile fellow strugglers Bristol City have signed Andy Keogh on loan from Wolves and Martin Woolford from Scunthorpe – he was fantastic in the second half down there. At least he won’t be playing tomorrow. Incidentally, there is no truth in the rumour that Boro’s loan of Lee Miller to Scunny included a stipulation that he MUST play against us.
Uncle Eric reports… Haas has impeccable English… “Although I may initially struggle with some of your colloquilisms”… Zemmama still not done but no sense of anxiety over it, just waiting for some paperwork… Mogga insists there is no plans to sell Lita and that QPR’s initial offer was dismissed out of hand and no further bids will be entertained (unless they are “silly money,” which obviously is the recognised unit of currency on deadline day)… Similarly with Taylor, Watford have been told he is not for sale, he will be staying at least until summer and Mogga will hope to persuade him to sign a new deal.
So barring a silly late bid for Lita (which would be resisted by the boss) or for Boyd (which probably wouldn’t) that’s it for the day. Put the kettle on.
Meanwhile, Newcastle have now postponed the press conference planned for today. Looks like they are working hard on getting a replacement in before they unveil the bad news to the ugly mob gathering outside the Strawberry. Flip-flops ahoy.
Zemmama has signed. Three and a half year deal. He has passed his medical and a work permit has been granted but now he has to leave the country and return to Morocco in order to apply for a new visa. A formality apparently.
Elsewhere Sunderland have agreed a Â£1m fee with Blackpool for Andy Reid… looks like that opens the door for Charlie Adam to Liverpool. Or Man United, now being mentioned.
Sources close to Newcastle (no, honestly, we really do have contacts) suggest the club is now in lockdown – presser cancelled, reception doors locked, phones off the hook, Ashley hidden behind the sofa with the lights off – after accepting a Â£35m Liverpool bid for Andy Carroll. Protests are expected. I mean, it’s not going to be like Egypt after Mido turned up or anything but you know, phone boxes beware. Meanwhile Andy Carroll left after training today believed to be heading towards Merseyside.
Blimey, six month in the PL and a thigh injury and he’s worth Â£35m. It would make him the eighth most expensive player EVER! That’s more than Blackburn Rovers was worth. Insert your own joke here. And if he keeps up his colourful personal life he could be the most expensive player ever banged up. Possibly even before his injury clears.
The other half of that money-go-round is Torres to Chelsea for a package “worth up to Â£50m”. Chris Kamara says on his twitter it may include Anelka going the other way but no-one else has mentioned that. Suarez is poised to finally sign for Liverpool from Ajax too for Â£23m… and we all know how well it can work when the Dutch top striker joins a Prem Side (Alves, Kezman etc). That could leave Liverpool down on the deal and with an untried frontline. Or if Suarez falls through, David N’Gog.
Ronsealed blabbermouth Phil Brown has booted relegation bound Preston’s squad by signing his veteran former Hull man Ian Ashbee, a player who is only 34 but disconcertingly actually look’s like Brown’s older brother.
Another former Hull player – and a target for Boro just 18 months ago – Bryan Hughes has joined non-league outfit Grimsby after a spell with MLS side Real Salt Lake.
Kilmarnock have released not only former Boro junior Graeme Owens but also faded former superhero Danny Invincible.
Numbercrunchers Opta say this season Andy Carroll has more goals than Torres (11 to nine), more assists (three to two) and scores more frequently (148 mins per goal compared to 211 mins). The Newcastle striker’s shooting accuracy is worse than Torres however, with 43% of his shots hitting the target compared to the Spaniard’s 52%.
Tuncay has joined Steve McClaren’s Wolfsburg for an undisclosed fee (said to be Â£4m). No doubt he will soon settle into his usual role of 20m cameos from the bench.
Meanwhile Newcastle have told SSN a second improved Liverpool bid has been rejected – although well placed sources at both ends say it has been accepted and he is en route to Anfield. Is Ashley playing games to squeeze a few bob more out of the Scousers? Or playing politics with the crowd gathering outside the Gallowgate? Or playing for time to get a big enough name replacement to appease the Geordie crowd? Liverpool sources insist private jet is en route to Tyneside to pick Carroll up. Adamant the deal is done.
News on Adam Le Fondre – linked with Boro and a dozen other clubs in the past few weeks: according to BBC Radio Sheffield Rotherham have rejected a bid from Huddersfield for their wantaway striker.
Nothing Boro wise. Remember this time last year when the news had just come through that Jonn had left and it looked like we had missed out on McDonald and Charlie Adam but managed to secure Lee Miller?
David Craig spinning furiously on behalf of Newcastle board, pedalling the official party line about them fighting to keep Carroll, bravely turning down the offers but that it is only when the player put in a transfer request – presumably by phone midair from the jet bound for John Lennon Airport – that they reluctantly accepted.
Well I broke the cycle of autocue abuse and switched SSN off for an hour or so while I did some basic interaction with the family (“yes dear”) and made an 11th hour bid for some food. I paid well over the odds in a panic swoop for a journeyman dish. But it will do a job. So what have I missed? Very little. Chelsea, Liverpool and Newcastle continue their collective attempt to kick-start the economy. Chelsea have teed up a Â£21m plus Nemanja Matic move for Benfica defender David Luiz as well. Why not. In for a penny…
What about Boro related tit-bits? Well, briefly-tenously-linked-as-part-of-the-deadline-day-footsie striker Conor Sammon could now do what so many others have done in recent years and skip past Boro to sign for Wigan. Kilmarnock turned down a Â£425k bid from Derby, who said another Championship side were lurking and there was some twoplustwoin that suggested it may be Boro, if Lita or Boyd went. He looks close to agreeing a move to the JJB.
And optimists will be hearted by the news that Charlie Adam may soon join Liverpool for a fee variously said to be between Â£7-14m. So what? Well, Rangers have a 15% sell on clause … which would fund them making a move for misfiring McMarkman Kris Boyd to replace Blackpool bound James Beattie. Well, it works on paper.
That would leave Boro looking for a stop-gap striker replacement and if nothing else keep us interested until 11pm. Roman Bednar anyone?
Alan Shearer admit she has talked to Kenny Daglish about Andy Carroll and bigs him up but them points to the elephant in the room and says: “off the field he has been in trouble once or twice before – that would be the major area of concern for me.”
Fair point. Given his chequered legal past Liverpool are paying Â£35m for a fiery bloke who could be banged up next time he lets his fists do the talking in a nightclub. He could be Liverpool’s Duncan Ferguson in more ways than one.
Elsewhere James Beattie has passed a medical at Blackpool, agreed terms and signed a loan deal until the end of the season. That clears a space in the Rangers wagebill. Where are they going to find a player who can score goals in the SPL?
The Beeb live feed reports Daily Telegraph reporter Rory Smith quipping on Twitter: “James Beattie and Andy Reid? Get on Blackpool to do brilliantly in Championship Manager 2003.”
Crazy money latest… with wages and image rights Fernando Torres is poised to sign a deal worth Â£175k a week…. and could make his debut against Liverpool on Sunday.
**top wild speculation on FMTTM**
A poster not known for flights of fancy has just posted …
“Just received an e-mail from a guy I know at the Football League. I’ll just paste it in, you decide:
“Basically it’s a big deal that will only come off if it’s absolutely right for both clubs. The
transfer fee is a bit of a sticking point of course, because of the state of Boro’s finances, but they think they can make it happen.
Another problem is the travel arrangements now we’re this close to the deadline. There’s
only one flight available I think, and Keith Lamb is trying to sort it as we speak.
Don’t know if they’re going to get away with it in time but if they do manage it it will be a huge shock, if only because nobody has seen it coming. It’s all been massive deals all day and nothing really doing just underneath that level. ”
Well that will keep the pot bubbling anyway. I’m off for a bottle of Ruddles County.
Rangers have signed El-Hadj Diouf to fill the Beatttie shaped gap probably slamming the door on a late loan move for Kris Boyd.. although Blackburn still seem to be vaguely interested around and now have a vacancy for a benchwarming striker with an ability to divide fans.
Perhaps more pertinent for Boro is the movement at Stoke. Turkish delight Tuncay has joined SMW (Steve McClaren’s Wolfsburg) and big earning fringe forward Eidur Gudjonsson is set to join Fulham on loan… leaving a vacancy for at least one striker – and Tony Pulis was very keen on Leroy Lita last week and Stoke based media blew on the embers of that one earlier today. is there still some mileage there?
It would have to be done quickly, it doesn’t leave much time for medicals and haggling. That would have had to have been at least broadly agreed before now, even just provisionally, as would a Boro replacement. Possible moves for Boro at this stage: someone that Mogga knows, Roman Bednar say, and/or a cheapish, hungry proven lower league striker with not long left on his deal, for example Adam Le Fondre.
Elsewhere Reading have confirmed the double signing of Ethan Gage and Erik Opsahl… that’s got to just be a collection of left over Scrabble tiles surely.
I’m here until 11. Another trip to the fridge anyone?
*pfftssssssst* A bottle of Tanglefoot this time. And a cheese and crisp sandwich. This transfer deadline thing isn’t good for you.
Nothing has happened for ages now although Jim White is twitching towards a meltdown of some sort. The overly exciteable sycophantobot is set to blow. Sometimes I think he an android and is one big yellow rolling ticker tape shocker away from his face swinging slowly open to reveal circuitboards and flashing lights. Who knows what will happen if the Torres move breaks down? My money is on a overload of his central processor and the sight of him running amok in the studio taking out Dowie and Cascarino before waging finally bloody ultimate warfare on all humankind. On the red button.
All the big moves have been made now and the per centages and offshore image rights are being fine-tuned via multi-party conference calls behind closed doors. And none of the biggies have been completed yet so that leaves the tabloids – who’s deadline will be about now – having to guess for tomorrows back pages. I don’t think the last gasp round of cattle-trading will involve us, unless Pulis or Warnock get a move on.
Comically Newcastle have had a window dressing Â£10m bid for Wigan’s left winger/back Charles N’Zogbia – who stomped off from the club in a bridge burning huff – rejected by Dave Whelan leaving Mike Ashley with a lot of money in his gambling fund and Alan Pardew with Nile Ranger, Leon Best and Shola Ameobi up front. They could be the richest team in the Championship (again) next season.
The “in the know” biggie on the Fly Me board has been revealed as a leg-pull. The author has ‘fessed up and even admitted it was a repeat of last year. Still, it kept us interested for an hour and played on our colllective wishful thinking/gullibility.
That said, anyone still hoping for a late, late burst of Lambtastic wheeler dealing can take heart… Gudjonsson to Fulham has been done leaving Stoke a striker light. Watch this space.
Torres done… Carroll imminent… Suarez done… the Newcastle N’Zogbia bid was Â£12m… which is 20% more comical than previously.
New tweeter Adam Johnson: “Seen the specialist today, not having an operation thankfully !! Thanks for all your support messages.”
Well that’s that then. There’s the bongs. Jim White just stayed this side of spontaneous human combustion. But wait up… remember, just because the window has “slammed shut” doesn’t mean someone hasn’t sneaked in the backdoor when we weren’t watching (or were getting another beer) with the news to leak out later.
Remember that year when we celebrated the 11.58pm signings of Christie and Riggott from Derby AND Michael Ricketts from Bolton then woke up in the morning to find that there was also a little Doriva tucked away in the bottom of the box. Result.
Then there was the year that the Robert Huth transfer paperwork was found all signed and sealed but an hour late was found down the back of the FA settee in the chaos after they powers that be let Arsenal and Chelsea swap Gallas and Cole after the deadline.
So who knows….
And besides, the emergency loan market opens again in a week.
Anorak alert…. here’s a comprehensive list of ALL January’s English transfers from Blue Square Prem upwards.