Deadline day is a funny old thing. By funny I mean irritating, annoying, exasperating and a recipe for disappointment.
That Sky Sports see fit to make it into an occasion is, for me, doubly irksome. The average royal wedding tends to pass off with less hullabaloo. And don’t even get me started on Jim bloody White.
But, in the final analysis, once the window had ‘slammed shut’ (ggrrrr…), it was just a case of one in and one out. Nothing earth shattering but the arrival of one who Alex Neil clearly knows and trusts and the exit of one he probably doesn’t.
While the name Tony Andreu is fairly new to most of us, the good old internet gives us an insight into his abilities and, while the Scottish Premier League is a notoriously unreliable barometer, there is little to see or read that is not to like.
An attacking-midfielder with an eye for goal, Andreu has spent the last three seasons in Scottish football. Initially with Livingstone, the Frenchman later moved to Hamilton in 2013 where he has clearly been an important cog in their unfolding success story.
Neil, as an even more pivotal cog in that charge to the SPL, will be well versed in Andreu’s technique and ability to mix it when needed, and is clearly of the view that he has what it takes to succeed south of the border. Frankie McAvoy undoubtedly agrees.
Some – mainly the usual suspects – have scoffed at the signing, many citing the reported ‘in excess of £1million’ fee as further confirmation of City “doing it on the cheap”, but to me that potentially looks a bargain for one with an impressive goals per game ratio. Especially when those goals have come from midfield – something largely missing from the current armoury.
The day’s big story – the one that had Jim and his colleagues salivating – was the ultimately ill-fated trade of West Brom’s Graham Dorrans plus cash for Martin Olsson.
As we understand now, the Swede’s desire for his Baggies’ contract to include a ‘relegation’ clause appears to scuppered the deal, but for most of the day it appeared a goer.
Olsson, judging by his demeanour of late and according to the Daily Mail, has been unsettled and clearly harbours desires to return to the Premier League. For most of January his likely destination appeared to be Swansea but the late intervention of Tony Pulis, with the added enticement in the form of Dorrans, appeared to tip the balance significantly.
That the deal didn’t happen was the fault of no-one, except Olsson and his agent. And that’s fine. As is his right, he decided that the deal had to be right for him and his family, and it wasn’t. Whether the issue, as reported, was really the ‘relegation clause’ or something entirely different will remain a secret but the final answer was ‘no’ and the deal was off.
For City’s part it was disappointing because in Dorrans they would have acquired one with skills that would have added something a little different to the existing group. In addition to goals from midfield, the Scot is renowned as a good passer of the ball, one who can ping it short or long.
In his Baggies’ heyday his bursts from midfield were also a feature of his game along with his ability from set pieces – another void in the current armoury since the departure of Robert Snodgrass. But it wasn’t to be.
Only time will tell if Alex Neil is able to resurrect the deal in the form of a temporary loan.
Another name that passed through the lips of Murdoch’s finest was that of Cardiff’s Craig Noone. Aside from the obvious ‘no-one’ joke it was a proposed move that made logical sense.
With Kyle Lafferty heading out on a four-month tour of Turkey the need to bring in a more conventional wide player was clear. Noone ticked that box.
Despite Sky doing their very best to push the deal through – reported to be around £2million – Jim finally called time on the deal with about an hour of the window left. In truth the reason for its collapse appeared to be ‘logistical’ and may simply have boiled down to a lack of time to complete the formalities.
Again, this may be one that Neil revisits when the loan window opens.
Other rumours that circulated during the day were Wes to Celtic, Bradley Johnson to Burnley, Russ Martin to Burnley and Luciano Becchio to just about everyone. As it transpired, none came to fruition. And neither did City’s apparent desire to bring Tim Cahill to the Fine City!
As ever, the aforementioned usual suspects were quick to pour scorn on the days events but to have emerged with Messrs Redmond, Ruddy, Howson, Jerome, Tettey and Hooper in situ and to have added a goalscoring midfielder to the group strikes me as a decent return.
Yes Dorrans would have been useful and yes, Noone would have been a good addition, but such is life on Deadline Day. When deals are being forced through in such ridiculously short and needless timescales that’s often the outcome.
But they didn’t not happen because City are trying to ‘do in on the cheap’ or because ‘the money has dried up’. They collapsed because the deals were not right for everybody concerned. And nothing more.
So, we move on. The challenge now is to galvanise the group in a way that will drive them headlong into a promotion charge. Whether or not that will include Master Olsson will be interesting.
Good luck with that one Alex.