Well, if there was a spirit animal to describe this week in transfers, it would be a turtle. Slow, and not very exciting. There weren’t any super blockbuster deals, and the most exciting news came out of Toronto, Canada. But you never know when a lowly-regarded prospect will make a huge impact at a new club, so here we go.
News From Canada
Jozy Altidore/Jermain Defoe Swap
We discussed some of the implications of this swap earlier on the Center Circle, but it was possibly the most exciting transfer of the week. Jozy Altidore and “an unspecified amount of cash” head to Toronto while Jermain Defoe heads to Sunderland. Altidore was in Toronto for a press conference, then headed off to the USMNT January camp. Defoe got his feet wet by jumping off the deep end, getting the start in a 2-1 loss against Tottenham.
This was a great move by Toronto FC and MLS to bring a bonafide player into the league during the prime of his career. The 5’5” striker is coming to Toronto after spending most of his career at Juventus or on loan in Serie A. The 27-year-old was lured by a big payday, with numbers suggesting he will be in the top 5 highest paid players in the league. A win for MLS, a win for Toronto, a loss for Brazilian Gilberto, who will be the odd man out if the league does not raise the amount of Designated Players for next season.
Don’t Call It a Comeback
Really, don’t call it a comeback. Ronaldo, the Brazilian one, has bought part of the NASL franchise in Ft. Lauderdale. He has expressed interest in playing for the club that he is now a minority owner of. The legendary striker is 38, bringing doubt to his ability to compete at the professional level. But, I guess he is looking for something to do besides play poker in his retirement.
Young Stars in the Making
The Spanish midfielder made the move from Liverpool to AC Milan. Suso has been the captain of various youth Spain national teams, including the U-20 side at the 2013 U-20 World Cup. Milan have been scrambling to match Inter in the transfer market, and getting Suso was a focal point for the Milan management. Suso was supposed to join in the summer after his contract with Liverpool was up, but the two clubs have made an agreement, and the 21-year old will join Milan immediately.
Jedvaj is one of Croatia’s stars in the making. Jedvaj had been on loan from Roma to Bayer Leverkusen when the German club decided to buy the player outright. Despite only being 19, Jedvaj has become a regular for Leverkusen in the Bundesliga, and appearing in multiple Champions League games. He has also represented Croatia at multiple youth and senior team levels, giving the teen plenty of matches.
Potential Big Move
When you are making over 200,000 pounds per week, your employers are going to expect an excellent result. That is not currently happening with Radamel Falcao at Manchester United, leading to questions about the striker’s future. United have the option to buy Falcao when his loan ends, but that is doubtful with his lack of scoring goals. Other teams who are rumored to have interest are Liverpool and Juventus. I really think Juventus just says that they are interested in every player in the world, regardless if they actually are. With Balotelli obviously not being the answer at Liverpool, my guess is Anfield is the landing spot for Falcao.
“Any Player is For Sale”
Those are manager Mauricio Pochettino’s words when it comes to the transfer of any of his players. Kyle Naughton has allegedly come to terms with Swansea City, and Roberto Soldado has been linked to a host of teams. Fans have expressed their displeasure with Emmanuel Adebayor, who also has been linked to various clubs. Anyway you put it, Tottenham has one of the deepest squads in the entire Premier League.The only players that seem safe at White Hart Lane are Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen.
There was plenty of talk that Brendan Rogers and Liverpool would recall the young striker early, but it seems that Origi is staying at Lille the second half of the season. The 19-year-old has plenty of fans excited for his future at Anfield, but for now he will be in France.
Louis van Gaal has made it relatively clear that the young Belgian is not in plans at the moment, and a loan move might be in the works. Januzaj was a favorite of David Moyes last season, so a stop at Moyes’ Real Sociedad is definitely an option. Januzaj wants to play first-team football, so look for a loan move before the transfer period is over.