The morning after the night before and a few loose ends were still being tied up transfer-wise ahead of City’s return to Premier League action this weekend and the trip to a newly-revamped QPR – the last of the big, super-spenders in an otherwise calm market.
It was almost inevitable that Rs boss Harry Redknapp would be the biggest wheeler and dealer in January as the West London club desperately look for a way off the bottom rung of the Premier League; that said, old ‘H’ wasn’t a big fan of the way in which players’ agents were trying to run the show as Loftus Road prepared to welcome four new players to the fold.
“Every agent seems to be trying to screw each other,” said Redknapp, after deploying owner Tony Fernandes’ millions to bring in the likes of Jermain Jenas and Andros Townsend out of Spurs and the £12.5 million signing of centre-half Christopher Samba.
“It is scary,” added Redknapp, who also stole in ahead of Newcastle to bag Loic Remy for £8 million earlier this month – one of agent Willie Mackay’s stable of young French talent. Not that Redknapp appeared a fan of the agent breed after this season’s winter window will be forever remembered for the deal that never happened – that of Peter Odemwingie.
Word was that Remy was on a £75,000-a-week basic at Loftus Road; in a deal that will eventually cost Rangers’ upwards of £22 million. Eye-watering stuff when you are 20th in the table and not far from needing snookers to stay with your nose in the TV rights trough.
Which is exactly where the agents want to keep themselves. Or rather their clients. “It’s like gang warfare,” was almost Redknapp’s last word on the subject.
“If you’ve got a deal for a player, another agent will try to scupper that deal if he is not involved in it. It’s unreal. It’s unbelievable what’s going on. They’re all fighting for big money, that’s the problem,” he said.
Big money…. as in that offered by Rangers’ own owner, for example.
The trick now, of course, is to turn such largesse into Premier League points – starting with this weekend’s game against the Canaries.
“It’s going to be difficult but we’re bang in there,” said Redknapp. “We’ve still got a big chance. We just need to put a little run together, get back-to-back wins, starting with Norwich on Saturday.”
Back in Norfolk, the Canaries had to settle for a mere straight swap deal involving Leeds’ top-scorer Luciano Becchio going one way; Steve Morison the other. The Argentinian’s arrival also made the decision to despatch Spurs youngster Harry Kane back to White Hart Lane five months early that much easier.
It probably said more about Tottenham’s own dire striker shortage than it did about the 19-year-old’s form and fortune in Norfolk. As Norwich proved in the 1-1 draw against Spurs this week, field their strongest XI and they can still compete with their supposed peers. Kane is unlikely to be missed, in short.
But Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas appeared happy enough to welcome the prodigal back to North London.
“It was in both teams’ interests and the player’s interests too, to be fair,” said Villas-Boas. “Norwich have moved on and have found a striker so they didn’t have the necessity to hold on to Harry and for us it gives us another option that has come through our youth level, so it’s a common decision.”
Back in Scotland and Bhoys boss Neil Lennon confirmed again that they had received a further ‘substantial’ bid for Gary Hooper – the fourth, apparently.
Someone’s agent won’t be a happy bunny that the deal never materialised as Celtic stayed true to their world and held firm.
“There was another bid in yesterday (for Hooper), again, an improved offer,” Lennon said today. “I am not going to go into the figures but it was substantial. We made our position clear and we stuck to that.
“I knew what was happening so it wasn’t nervy for me. It might have been for supporters, but there was a lot of rubbish and speculation being bandied about, a lot of nonsense, but I suppose that comes with the fun of it all.”