Barry Glendenning on 30 January 2018
With a midweek round of Premier League matches inconveniently scheduled to clash with the final two days of the January transfer window, the Rumour Mill can’t help but ponder the notion that football has finally reached such a point of ludicrousness that there now exists a huge army of internet fanboys for whom the football played in the former is little more than a distraction from the white noise of the latter. For many, the frenzy surrounding the purchase of particular footballers has become more interesting than anything these guys actually do once they switch clubs.
Many, but not all. If nothing else, a lack of activity in the transfer market in recent weeks suggests Newcastle fans will be able to give their team’s match against Burnley on Wednesday their full attention. Having missed out on Daniel Sturridge despite labouring under the delusion they had a deal wrapped up, the Magpies are now being linked with Manchester City central defender Eliaquim Mangala, who will find himself surplus to requirements at the Etihad once Aymeric Laporte arrives from Athletic Bilbao for £57m. Feyenoord striker Nicolai Jorgensen has also been linked with a move to St James’ Park, where recent disappointments mean season ticket-holders are unlikely to be holding their breath waiting for any big – or even small – announcements.
In potentially good news for Peter Crouch, Fernando Llorente, Olivier Giroud and any other sentient male over 6ft tall who happens to be walking past Stamford Bridge at around 10.30pm (GMT) tomorrow, the mooted move of Edin Dzeko to Chelsea has fallen through after the Roma striker failed to agree personal terms on an 18-month contract. His Roma team-mate Emerson Palmieri will be flying in to cough for the Chelsea medics later today, after the two clubs agreed a fee of £17.6 plus £7m in add-ons for the left-back. Giroud remains the favourite to go to Chelsea instead of Dzeko, as Arsenal charitably bid to increase their London rivals’ chances of beating them to a Champions League qualification spot, while out-of-favour defender David Luiz could go the other way as a makeweight in any deal.
One of those players hailed as a real bargain when he was signed for £11m last summer, Swansea City flop Roque Mesa has gone to Sevilla on loan. Crystal Palace remain interested in Lille central defender Ibrahim Amadou and Getafe goalkeeper Vicente Guaita, while Burnley have made an audacious £10m bid for Nottingham Forest’s 21-year-old centre-half Joe Worrall. Relegation threatened Stoke are hoping to get their £14m deal for Galatasaray midfielder Badou Ndiaye over the line today, but will miss out on 21-year-old local lad-turned-New York City star, Jack Harrison, who is off to Manchester City and will promptly be shipped out on loan to Middlesbrough.
And finally, in dire need of a notoriously calming influence for the many overpaid and under-achieving troublemakers in their squad, Sunderland hope to sign Norn Iron and Hearts frontman Kyle Lafferty. Sunderland boss Chris Coleman had offered Chris Martin a loan deal, but decided the dithering Derby County striker wasn’t for him when he went all Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte by asking for 48 Hours and then Another 48 Hours to think about his decision.