Kagawa goes home, Rondon to River Plate and Zaniolo’s burnt bridges: What you missed on deadline day
Deadline Day put the melodrama on thick.
Tottenham waited all day to sign Pedro Porro – and release Matt Doherty – while Chelsea also stayed up late and threw money at Benfica until their resolve was eventually thwarted by Enzo Fernandez. Manchester United brought in Marcel Sabitzer from Germany which was exciting and (almost) the opposite direction, Joao Cancelo left Manchester for Munich, moving to Bayern on loan and leaving Pep Guardiola behind. Bournemouth signed a prodigy with the Football Manager stamp. Southampton could have found some goals. Jorginho managed to switch clubs without changing city.
But what else happened? Or not?
Here’s a recap of some of the day’s other events, most of which got lost in the depths of this Todd Boehly-shaped shadow.
Nicolo Zaniolo does not make new friends
Zaniolo has let his contract expire, much to the chagrin of the Roma leadership. With just 18 months left it was widely believed he would leave in that window and with a good enough reputation and a YouTube compilation worth watching there was a chance an English club would find some money they didn’t know about what to do with it and pay Roma’s asking price of £30m ($37m).
Tottenham appeared to have had a small glimpse but were put off by the fee and as the sun went down in another transfer window Zaniolo’s only viable option was Bournemouth – and he didn’t really like that.
And it would have been fine if he hadn’t burned down all his Roma bridges before that happened. Fans have been booing him for some time, but have taken a slightly more aggressive stance (see below) since it was announced he was about to leave. Unusually, Jose Mourinho also had his say, confirming to Italian media over the weekend that the player is keen to leave. All this leaves Zaniolo stuck on the shelf like an Easter egg in July.
Roma’s Curva Sud to Nicolo Zaniolo:
“Zaniolo, traitor and shit without honor.”
(via Calciomercato) pic.twitter.com/yvy6yzbjaP
— Get Italian football news (@_GIFN) January 29, 2023
Solomon Rondon to River Plate
Rondon, who was last found guilty in connection with Rafa Benitez at Everton, showed up quite unexpectedly at El Monumental to sign for River Plate on Monday.
What a career that is, by the way. Rondon forgets football for a second and his journey has allowed him to find his home in Maracay, Malaga, Saint Petersburg, Newcastle, Moscow, Liverpool and now Buenos Aires, among others. Imagine his Instagram account.
Hakim Ziyech goes to Paris. Might not come back
Big clubs snapping at each other is usually fun and it’s fair to say Paris Saint-Germain weren’t too happy with Chelsea after Ziyech’s loan deal collapsed.
On Tuesday morning, Ziyech’s move seemed like a formality. Chelsea had signed All The Footballers and needed to clean up their roster quickly; PSG hardly ran out of money. That was very much a tap-in.
Anyway… Take a deep breath, make yourself a cup of tea and read the inside story of Chelsea’s transfer window.
Wycombe to Aberdeen to… Milton Keynes?
A big thank you to the athlete‘s new signing Duncan Alexander, who points us to centre-back Anthony Stewart. Stewart had quite a few weeks. First he was sent off for the ensuing tackle when he captained Aberdeen in the Scottish League Cup semi-finals against Rangers. He was then part of the team that lost 1-0 to sixth-tier Darvel in the fourth round of the Scottish Cup and lost a 6-0 to Hibernian five days later – a defeat that saw his manager sacked in the immediate aftermath. Eventually he was loaned out to MK Dons on the due date itself.
An eventful stay in Scotland. Especially considering Stewart only joined Aberdeen in the summer from Wycombe Wanderers.
Aberdeen captain Anthony Stewart is shown a red card for this tackle against Rangers star Fashion Sakala 🟥 pic.twitter.com/oJIlqoXooQ
– Football Scotland (@Football_Scot) January 15, 2023
Everton fans at Finch Farm
There are only two reasons why fans turn up at a training ground on the day the transfer window closes. One good, one bad – and no prizes, to guess the mood as Everton fans gathered at Finch Farm on Tuesday night.
In a spectacular crescendo after an already disastrous month – on the pitch, off the pitch, football-wise and in just about every other capacity – Everton chairman Farhad Moshiri pledged that before dying the club will “get the striker that he needs”. the deadline.
Of course they didn’t. Olivier Giroud raised one of his perfect eyebrows presumably in response to Everton’s interest, while proposed deals for Lucas Moura and Arnaut Danjuma never materialised. This ultimately leaves new manager Sean Dyche with a hunted-looking Dominic Calvert-Lewin, a misplaced Neal Maupay and this statue of Dixie Dean as his main offensive weapons against the drop.
And they also sold Anthony Gordon to Newcastle – without managing to reinvest a penny of what they received.
RB Leipzig doesn’t feel any mood
For most of the winter in Germany, there was talk of Isco, currently the game’s best wandering free agent, signing for Union Berlin. For a tantalizing few hours on Deadline Day, it looked like it might actually happen. Isco was pictured in Koepenick and the expectation was he would help Urs Fischer’s side in an unlikely Champions League attack.
Unfortunately, it fell apart – much to the apparent delight of RB Leipzig, who thought it was a good idea:
— 1. FC Union Berlin (@fcunion) January 31, 2023
At least Mainz had a good time…
— 1. FSV Mainz 05 (@1FSVMainz05) January 31, 2023
From Luton to Lecce
Congratulations to Ed McJannet who completed the unlikely journey from Luton’s academy to Lecce on Tuesday despite still having to make his senior debut. The young midfielder has represented Ireland at youth level and will join the small community of Irish players who have made their mark in Italian football. John Ryan is currently at Sassuolo, Festy Ebosele and James Abankwah are in the Pozzo network at Udinese and Cathal Heffernan left Cork City last year to join AC Milan’s academy.
Marco van Ginkel is finally going home
A happy ending for injury-stricken Van Ginkel, who has spent much of the last decade under the Chelsea loan army banner.
Van Ginkel only officially left Chelsea in 2021, swapping his loaned membership card for a less transient life at PSV Eindhoven (where he was previously on loan, of course). Eighteen months later and after not really establishing himself he returned to Vitesse where he got his first degree as a player and from where Chelsea signed him for £8million in 2013.
… and Shinji Kagawa too
And another welcome home, this time for Kagawa. Even after all these years, the memory of those glorious two seasons with Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund remains bright and vivid, serving as a cautionary tale about not making trades too quickly. Manchester United wasn’t right for him, his return to Dortmund was never quite the same and his career remained a little unfulfilled. A lovable player, no doubt, but not for as long as most of us would like.
However, having roamed Greek, Turkish and Spanish football in recent years, he has recently been one of the most senior statesmen among the Japanese players at Belgium club Sint-Truidense. They have been targeting players from that country for some time: Daichi Kamada was there on loan before joining Eintracht Frankfurt, Takehiro Tomiyasu was there before joining Bologna and Premier League winner Shinji Okazaki still plays for you.
However, Kagawa is now returning to Japan. Thirteen years after leaving Germany, he has returned to Cerezo Osaka.
(Top Photo: Antonietta Baldassarre/Insidefoto/LightRocket via Getty Images)