The importance of stats
Football is flooded with data now and no signing tells this story better than Gabriel Paulista. Arsenal paid Villarreal £12m for the Brazilian defender after he registered especially high scores on their own American analytics system, StatDNA. There will only be more transfers like this.
Authorities face thorny issue
Two Premier League players tried to move to France this month but ran into an unexpected technical hitch. Hatem Ben Arfa joined Nice, and Nathaniel Chalobah was nearly loaned to Bordeaux, but Fifa ruled that their appearances for Newcastle Under-21s and Chelsea Under-21s respectively were official games. The English authorities see things differently and would not count those U-21 matches as “official”. Chalobah is now on loan at Reading, but Ben Arfa is in legal limbo.
Chelsea know how to sell
In the era of FFP, big clubs need to bring in all the money they can to finance purchases. And no-one is better at it than Chelsea, who continue to negotiate remarkable prices for players they do not want. They have done it with Juan Mata, David Luiz, Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, for a total of £140m, and this month it was André Schürrle, who Wolfsburg bought for £24m.
Fernandes keeps the faith
This time two years ago Queen’s Park Rangers spent £20m on fees for Loïc Rémy and Christopher Samba and still went down. They may well go down again this year but at least they will not get into an even bigger hole. “No more cheque book,” said chairman Tony Fernandes.
Pochettino tried to prune
Half a season into his Tottenham Hotspur tenure, Mauricio Pochettino has clearly decided which players he likes and which he does not. Aaron Lennon joined Everton, while Younes Kaboul, Emmanuel Adebayor and Etienne Capoue were offered around.
Partners in Twitter
If footballer’s social media accounts were an important part of transfer stories in 2014, there is a new front in 2015: the accounts of their partners. Davide Santon’s English fiancée railed against Newcastle United pushing him to go back to Internazionale. “They are a business not a club,” tweeted Chloe Sanderson, as part of a long explanation of what had happened. The tweets were later deleted.
United resisted temptation
Manchester United bought five players last summer and so it was a little surprise to see them spend nothing this month, bringing in only Victor Valdes for free. The evidence of the last few years is that January solutions are just as likely to be found internally as on the transfer market.
Anderson prised off
Some players are more movable than others. Manchester United finally got rid of Anderson this month, seven and a half disappointing years after they signed him from Porto. He goes to Internacional presumably wondering what he could have achieved with a bit more application.
Lafferty likes the exotic
Farewell Kyle Lafferty, whose most recent spell in the English game with Norwich lasted just six months, and included one goal. He is remarkably well-travelled, his curious moves giving deadline day an exotic twist. He has joined Caykur Rizespor on loan.
Sky’s element of surprise
Sky Sports News is not often accused of having too much self-awareness but they are certainly committed to surprising everyone. Whether they are being ironic, with their coordinated colours, adverts and in-jokes, is unclear. But when Chris Kamara does his Jim White impression you wonder how much further they can go.
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