My marathon effort has ended. I set myself the task of making a transfer window blog on Boxing Day and finally it is complete with this last entry: the Forwards. Countless hours of poring over form books, tipster sites, videos.....anybody need a new upcoming scout? Seriously though I hope somebody has enjoyed it and maybe learnt something new, or rediscovered an old gem.
Once again I shall begin with a little story. On my final leg of research I was popping by the FIFA website. I know, UEFA yesterday, now FIFA. Anyway I spotted an interesting headline:
Eto'o demands results over style
Er yes. Quite. The Barcelona forward, aptly enough, has decided winning is sometimes more important than pure football. The Cameroonian international has had this epiphany after finding Barcelona seven points behind league leaders Real Madrid. The maxim is eerily familiar to students of Jose Mourinho and his verbal philosophys. Samuel Eto'o's take on the situation was
"We haven't always done things well. At times we are obsessed with passes and maintaining the ball. But if you do not score, it does not matter what else you have done,"
Mourinho's maxim of course was the succinct "Look, we're not entertaining? I don't care; we win."
Perhaps Eto'o has some insider knowledge.......
Ahem, back to the forwards:
26 year old Brazilian international currently on loan at VfB Stuttgart who have the option to sign him permanently this January. Real Zaragoza holds the player’s registration but his loan was nothing to do with his ability; Ewerthon scored 12 goals in his first 37 league games for Zaragoza. That left him alongside Fernando Torres in the scoring charts for the 2005/06 season. Ewerthon was simply pushed out as Sergio Garcia hit form; the sublime Pablo Aimar was signed by the club and then along came Oliveira. A return to the Bundesliga would certainly bring back fond memories. Ewerthon spent four seasons at Borussia Dortmund, scoring 47 goals in 119 league games and winning the Bundesliga along the way. However, he might wish to chance his arm in the Premiership and would certainly interest a few clubs. Sunderland are said to be interested but with Jeremie Aliadiere’s stuttering form and injury woes Middlesbrough could be tempted. Portsmouth, Man City and Bolton could also be in the running particularly if the latter sell Anelka.
Lightning quick German international wing forward who is currently at Real Betis since his £4million pound move from Borussia Dortmund in 2006. He has not had the best of times in La Liga with only 20 appearances due to injuries. However he should be back to his best come the middle of January after an op back in November kept him out for two months. Odonkor, still only 23 is surely too fast for the more technically minded Spanish league. He was once reported as running 100 metres in 10.9 seconds. A move to the Premiership may suit his talents as a flying winger who can cut inside. While the big four might be reluctant to angle for him Everton could certainly add him to the team of youthful attacking effervescence David Moyes is beginning to erect. Odonkor might also interest Manchester City, Newcastle United and Portsmouth. Real Betis would be reluctant to sell and Odonkor might want to finish the season to prove himself in Spain first. The big plus for any interested team though is Betis are down in 18th in the table and a £6million pound bid could land one a most promising young international.
The younger brother of Fulham’s Shefki Kuqi, Njazi has some Premiership experience albeit a bad one. Signed by Birmingham in 2005 he left in 2006 after failing to dislodge Mikael Forsell and Emile Heskey. Kuqi is still 24 but his temperament still seems on the immature side, which has led him to be dismissed by Groningen in August 2006. Kuqi currently plays for FC Carl Zeiss Jena in the second Bundesliga but has failed to settle. He would be a cheap addition too as a squad player at a bottom Premiership or top Championship side. Fulham could pair the brothers together. With his brother guiding him and Roy Hodgson, a former Finnish manager, not to mention fellow countryman Antti Niemi, Njazi Kuqi might settle down. The Finnish striker can then show why he was Finland’s under 21 player of the year a mere three years ago.
Uzbek international forward who has been voted as one of the top three Asian players in 2005. Shatskikh, besides being a nightmare for commentators to pronounce, scored 27 goals in 35 internationals. He has also scored 87 times in 186 league games (47%) for current club Dynamo Kyiv. That compares fairly well with Kyiv’s most famous export Andriy Shevchenko, who scored 60 times in 117 league games (51%). Shatskikh was ironically the man who replaced Shevchenko when the Ukrainian left for Ac Milan. The 29 year old has also equalled Serhiy Rebrov’s goal scoring record for a season with 22 in the 2002/03 season. The question mark is whether he would move, but at 29 he still has the time to play for several seasons and a chance to play in a top European league might be hard to resist. The 6ft 1.6-inch striker was once coveted by West Brom in 2005 but Uzbekistan’s ranking made a work permit impossible. With Uzbekistan being as high as 45 in December 2006 the Uzbek forward would be eligible this time round for a fee of around £4million. Birmingham, Derby and Sunderland take note.
A 26-year-old Italian on loan at Genoa from Juventus. A former U-21 star he is unlikely to feature for the Juventus first team. However, good positional sense to create space and a powerful header of the ball should see him as a good buy for a promotion chasing Championship outfit. With QPR’s Italian connections they would be in pole position to land Sculli but Crystal Palace and Charlton Athletic could start nosing around.
Future Transfers but unlikely in January.
Originally I would not have mentioned the former Crewe and Norwich striker. Recent speculation has suggested that Ashton might be heading out of the Boleyn ground and on to pastures new. The spectre was raised after the West Ham player began to feel restless after coming back from injury and not starting as often as he liked. West Ham’s manager Alan Curbishley has dismissed talk of a rift with the player. Chances are the tension, if any, between club and the 24 year old would be full England international will be smoothed over during this transfer window. The situation will be monitored closely though and if Ashton continues to play cameo roles the vultures might swoop in the summer.
24-year-old Argentine former starlet, scoring 57 goals in 84 league appearances for River Plate. Now at Bordeaux via Spartak Moscow Cavenaghi has scored 6 goals in 18 league games. Cavenaghi can play with both feet, with a good header. He has good positioning sense and a bit of pace but will need to keep an eye on the physical element of the game but certainly a fox in the box player. Cavenaghi also has that ability, like Eduardo for example, to stroke the ball home with finesse. The Argentinean’s next move may well be a big one.
Pacy Portugese powerhouse at 6ft 3, Almeida plays for Werder Bremen. He has scored 7 goals in 12 league matches for Werder and could star at Euro 2008. Yet Almeida is only 23 and like Miroslav Klose may eventually move on to a European giant.