Chelsea has made the first real high profile EPL transfer of the January window, securing prolific forward, Demba Ba from Newcastle. No doubt Ba is a terrific talent, but was this a good move for the team? Well, you could certainly make a lucid argument that Fernando Torres has been a disappointment, in terms of goals, since his move from Liverpool, so if the Blues were going to stay on the fringes of title competition, a striker wasn’t an out-of-line acquisition. But do you want one as… unsettled as Ba? Ba only spent a season and a half with Newcastle before essentially orchestrating his exit. Before that, a mere 12 games with West Ham. Sure, West Ham was relegated at the end of his tenure there so you can’t really be shocked that he wanted to remain in the top flight. Before that, his supporters may point to the four plus years he spent at Bundesliga side, Hoffenheim as a bit of a character booster, but in the middle of those four years, there was a failed transfer to fellow Bundesliga, side Stuttgart. And ultimately, he was the architect of his departure from Hoffenheim, alleging the team had gone back on a promised transfer to England. Bottom line, his talent comes with some baggage. It could work out… or you could have a conversation with Robert Mancini at City and see how that whole Balotelli thing is working out over there. Will Ba sulk if he is unable to continue his prolific scoring, or if he has to fight for his spot, given Chelsea’s other offensive talent? I would think mid-table clubs take chances on volatile players, or perhaps teams with bottomless pockets like City, who can write off any failed investment as a drop in the bucket. Believe it or not, we may have reached the stage where even Roman Abramovich may be paying closer attention to the bottom line.
Lewis Holtby going to Tottenham is a real coup for the North London side. Having watched Holtby consistently improve in his performances for Schalke over the past couple of years, he’s legitimate. And he should continue to improve. He’ll serve out the rest of the season with the German side and then join Tottenham for next season, so Spurs will have to wait to reap the benefits. But I’ll say it again, he’s a bargain.
I’m less than enthused about Daniel Sturridge’s move to Liverpool. With Luis Suarez, how badly did they need another attacking option? Now, I’m not a manager, but I’d probably have targeted someone to solidify the defense a bit… not that Dortmund would be in a hurry to sell Neven Subotic, but everyone has a price. Or, perhaps an upgrade over Stewart Downing, who has disappointed on the wing since his arrival.
You didn’t think you were getting out of here without a homer moment for my beloved Wigan Athletic, did ya? Dear Roberto Martinez, stop trying to get us excited about new boy Roger Espinoza. All it means is a confirmation of something we fans have long feared; James McCarthy’s departure for greener pastures, either this January or at the end of the season if we have any luck.
Yes, it’s still early so much of the movement is still to come. Rumors still abound with big names like Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, David Villa, Fernando Llorente, and others making frequent appearances in the gossip columns. So as those stories play out, I guess you’ll just have to tune in here again for more, ahem, expert analysis.