PSG: The January Transfer Window (2010)By: Brian | December 7th, 2009
Birds with arms. Always hilarious. Always.
As I said before, the January window for us is almost entirely about building for next year. That means poaching as many players on expiring contracts as possible. I am experiencing a minor dilemma, thanks to Cheik M’Bengué’s fragile achilles tendon. He damaged it in training during our winter break, and was lost for 3 months. You already know how hard it is to find a decent fullback in this game. In the end, I decided to let Dodô give it his best shot and if that doesn’t work Bassong or Sakho can fill in for (hopefully short) stretches. Since the injury, Dodô’s actually performed rather well, so I’m very hopeful for his future.
This is the second serious injury we’ve had in training this year, which is weird because I never even messed with the training program at all since the end of last season. Normally, I turn up the intensity during the summer and (maybe) during long breaks, but this year the players returned to training so close to the start of our friendly schedule that I decided against it. Last summer, with an intense training regimen, they were constantly tired and I actually had to give them a few days off. But now Sessegnon and M’Bengué have been lost for a while during normal training activity. I know it’s bad luck but I’m still pissed that I’m doing things the right way and still paying a penalty.
Anyway, a pro tip: set prices for your players! Seriously, folks, if you don’t want to lose them or upset them you’re much better off making sure other clubs know how much it’s going to cost to get their signature. Manchester United came calling for Vukcevic (who, you might recall, didn’t even cost me €2m) and offered €3.5m. Ha! I countered with €40m, they backed off, and now he’s upset with me just like Chantôme was, because I wouldn’t let him discuss terms with Man. U! Fergie then came back and decided to unsettle Anyukov, although he has yet to make a concrete offer. Chelsea also sniffed around and expressed interest in Kléber, but only to see if he might be available. I told them no, and I haven’t heard from them since. I’m glad my players are being noticed, because it means we’re doing something right.
I’m getting noticed too! I was considered a legitimate candidate for every opening in Serie A (and it’s Serie A, so there were a lot). Let’s see: Lazio, Cagliari, Catania, Sampdoria, and Roma have all changed managers and every time the press felt I was a likely choice. I said no to every one (although Roma made me pause for half a second). Also, hilariously, Chivas tried to entice me away with a contract worth half of what I’m currently making, a wage budget 1/3… who cares about the details!? I laughed and rejected them.
I’m also considering selling Blanco.
And by “considering” I mean, “offered him to clubs and accepted two offers.” He hasn’t been terrible for us when he’s played, but we have one too many non-EU players and he refused to go out on loan. We have 3 younger and more promising players who can play his position, and it’s just a matter of time before he becomes a royal pain. Fiorentina offered a €9.5m and Spartak Moscow proposed an €11.5m deal. I’ve accepted both and it’s just up to him now to decide if he’d like to go somewhere else. Apoula Edel is also most likely on the chopping block. He’s been clamoring for playing time despite being a) the third-best keeper on the squad and b) not very good. I’ll try to loan him out first, but his contract runs out at the end of the year anyway.
Two of our long-ago signings, Jano Ananidze and Armando Contreras, have finally turned 18 and joined us. Both project as future starters, which means I have two more potential club-trained first teamers (always critical for Champions League play). Contreras has the brighter future and better stats, but I have a special place in my heart for Ananidze. Why? Because the kid learned French before he came here! I have never had anyone be so dedicated. Armando did not learn French. I’m very disappointed in him.
Other than those two, and even if we get a fair amount of money for Blanco, I don’t see us adding anyone else for this season. We’re far from thin in the midfield now with Feghouli emerging and those two youngsters. Kléber and Erdinç probably aren’t getting the minutes they deserve, so adding another forward seems like a waste. At the back, as worried as I am about missing M’Bengué I think we have the players to fill in, and Dodô needs to develop at some point. Ligue 1 teams don’t play enough meaningless games against poor opposition for me to take a Wengerish approach very often. And so, planning for next year, I have signed on free transfers the following players, who will be joining the squad on the first of July.
Tafer is little more than promise and some younger legs. He may very well get loaned out at the first opportunity, but the allure of signing a promising youngster for free (and keeping away from Lyon) was too much to resist. Our next accepted offer is the one I’m happiest about, as Blaise Matuidi decided to sign on for next year. He’s better than Clément (who I think I’m going to sell next summer anyway), and he has enough talent to fill in in either role in the midfield. Finally, Rémy Riou will most likely be our backup keeper next season. Coupet is in decline and Akinfeev has put a stranglehold on the first team place. Our #3 next year will be Alphonse Aréola, who has attracted the attention of every big club in Europe, and my plan for his progression is to have him take over #2 when Riou’s contract is up (or when I sell Riou because he doesn’t understand that I signed him as a backup and thinks he should be playing over Akinfeev. Seriously, what’s the deal with keepers?) and eventually he will be good enough that I can sell Akinfeev and use that money elsewhere.
I’ve also put in an offer for Loïc Perrin, which, if accepted, probably signals the end of Daeseleire’s time he. Daeseleire hasn’t been bad at all, really, but he isn’t really developing at this point and is most likely gone even if Perrin chooses to go somewhere else.
It’s also worth remembering that at the end of the season €162,500 will be coming off of our weekly wage budget, and the players I’ve signed for next year don’t even cost half that.
Stay tuned for the next update, when we get back to the matches.