Notes of a silent transfer window

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The football transfer window closed over a week ago, but I usually run this feature after the Super Bowl ends, so I decided to wait until Bruce Arians won his very first title. before blogging on this topic.

Why was this winter so calm?
Because no one has any money. The coronavirus pandemic has messed up everyone’s cash flow, so even the big spenders and teams that needed a midseason surge largely kept their wallets closed. The biggest moves have been mostly loans as Arsenal taking on former Norwegian prodigy Martin Ødegaard from Real Madrid for the remainder of the season.

Wait, can teams just borrow players from other teams like library books?
More or less. Such moves cost a small fee, and most come with a clause that allows the borrowing team to keep the player permanently if all parties agree. Theoretically, this ensures that everyone is doing well: the borrowing team gets the player’s services, the player gets playing time that he is unlikely to appreciate in his current squad, and the lending team gets the player’s services. a large sum of money and the ability to watch her man’s game. in a game situation. American sports leagues have something similar with teams trading for players on the trading deadline, but this market is generally limited to players whose contracts are expiring. In football, these loans can be given to anyone at any time, and they add a fascinating touch to running a team. Liverpool, for example, saw all of their center-backs get injured in the first part of the season, so they knocked out a few of those players at bargain prices until the end of the season in May. Even if Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak are just average, they may be able to keep the team afloat. (If either of them had played, they might have prevented Liverpool from being bombarded by Manchester City last Sunday.) Likewise, Arsenal struggle to score goals, and while Ødegaard does he hasn’t been able to break the starting lineup at Real, he has the talent to help create chances.

Why don’t all teams do it, especially now?
Loan moves generally don’t generate enthusiasm among fans or the press, even when superstars are on loan (like Real’s James Rodríguez to Bayern Munich a few years ago). Most loans are only for half a season, which can make it difficult to integrate the loaned players into their new environment. Still, it would be a potential boon for teams suffering from cash flow issues.

Like who?
Barcelona! This team is public, so their finances are common knowledge, and a recent report showed a large smoking crater where their money was located. They are now frantically trying to push back the due date on their $ 1.5 billion debt, and if they can’t, they may have to file for bankruptcy. Last October, I spoke about the mismanagement that alienated their biggest star, Lionel Messi, but neither of us had a clue how serious the situation was. It all makes you wonder why the club didn’t go ahead and sell Messi last summer when they wanted to. The fees they would have collected for him would not have erased that $ 1.5 billion (that’s more than the endowments from Baylor or Texas Tech), but it would have made a big dent. Today Barca are eating Atlético Madrid dust in the Spanish league after selling Luis Suárez to Atléti and seeing the Uruguayan striker regain his form. When Messi travels to Manchester City in June, the abyss will beckon Barcelona. The good news? Sergiño Dest seems to be paying off.

Speaking of him, which Americans have moved this year?
A lot ! DeAndre Yedlin has traveled from Newcastle to Galatasaray, so instead of spending the winter months watching the rain in the north of England, he will be at the heart of a fierce Turkish League title fight between the Lions. and their rivals, the Yellow Canaries of Fenerbahçe. (For some reason, the Turkish teams were the only ones spending the money this winter.) Meanwhile, speaking of loans, Chris Richards couldn’t break into the starting XI at Bayern Munich, so the German titans loaned it to TSG Hoffenheim. FC Dallas sold Richards to Bayern two years ago, but what everyone is talking about is that this quarter the Hoops sold Fort Worth’s Bryan Reynolds to AS Roma. The giallorossi have a great history, American ownership and an outside chance to reshuffle the two Milanese teams ahead of them in the title race. Two years ago Reynolds was touring for North Texas SC, and now he will play alongside Edin Džeko, Pedro and Chris Smalling.

Doesn’t FC Dallas want to keep its best players?
I’m sure the home side would like to be a financial and footballing giant like Manchester City or Real Madrid. At the moment, however, providing players for the best European teams is much better than being completely off their radar. Previously, the U.S. National Team would have a Dallas player in their lineup at best. Now FC Dallas is on the resumes of Richards, Reynolds and Weston McKennie, who, despite testing positive for COVID-19 in October, turned a bright spot in a hectic season for Juventus, and has been called theft from the last transfer window to Serie A. (This will take some of the sting away from the thieves who literally robbed his home in Turin recently.) The future of the USA team could have these guys who wore the red stripes and white team members.

What else happened in the Italian league?
The best-known name on Italian TV news was Romano Mussolini, the great-grandson of former dictator Benito Mussolini. He was playing defense for an under-18 team in the farming system, and now he’s been called up to Lazio’s senior squad, quite appropriately.

Why is this appropriate?
Lazio has a long history of rapprochement with the fascists in their fans and in politics. When I say “fascist” I don’t mean rude right-wingers, I mean real people who wear boots and armbands, carry Benito’s picture in their wallet, make Nazi salutes and make monkey noises. to opposing black players even if they have black players on their own team. Lazio matches are often accompanied by violence, especially when playing against Roma (their rivals across town whose fan base is the working class) or AS Livorno (whose fans are die-hard communists). Diplomatically, Romano said he was only there to work his game and not to discuss politics. Seeing that her mother is an active member of the Italian parliament who is dedicated to preserving her grandfather’s legacy (and feuding with Jim Carrey), we’ll see how well it turns out.

Nothing else?
The Dutch Cup tournament was considerably lively when second division team Den Bosch lost three goals against Excelsior Rotterdam, only to come back with four goals scored by striker Jizz Hornkamp, ​​whose name has, uh, caught the world’s attention. Jizz dribbles towards the goal! Jizz shoots! Jizz hits the target! The cum is hot tonight! The possibilities are limitless.

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