A Transfer Window For The Ages

Oft-maligned, and for good reason, January transfer windows typically bring about much speculation and no shortage of hot air, but little by way of tangible product.

The first business of 2011 has blown that out of the water.

An unusually busy few weeks for Chelsea saw the club set a new British transfer record, acquire one of the world’s brightest young defensive talents, and allow a number of youngsters to take the next steps in their development.

Fernando Torres has been an unabashed object of Roman Abramovich’s affection for some time now, but the Russian’s advances had repeatedly been knocked back by Liverpool.

So when news broke on Friday of another failed bid, many Blues supporters simply put the news aside with previous stories and consigned it to history.

A whirlwind weekend later, and Torres had put pen to paper on a five year deal to take his game to the next level.

It took £50m to bring the Spaniard to West London, but the club’s new number nine brings undoubted pedigree and could become an instant hit on his debut against his previous employers.

Whilst Chelsea followers were dizzy at keeping up with the rapid pace of the Torres drama, they also grew frustrated and impatient at the ongoing saga surrounding Benfica’s Brazilian defender David Luiz.

A summer target which failed to materialise, Luiz was subject of further interest at the turn of the year, but his Portuguese club proved themselves to be amongst the toughest trading partners in European football, up alongside the likes of Jean-Michel Aulas and Lyon.

In the past seven days we went from being close to a deal, to being finalised, to being dead in the water and back to the start – and then the same again.

Even at the eleventh hour, news of Luiz being called back from a flight to England caused panic. However, it was merely a false alarm, with the decision being taken to file paperwork in Portugal and not risk a delay to his arrival in England with the clock ticking towards 11pm.

Nemanja Matic will join the Lisbon side in the summer, whilst they will also receive €25m and host a friendly between the clubs in June.

With over £70m spent on strengthening the first team squad, the opportunity to take stock of the state of the club’s youngsters became available, and as a result, some have found temporary homes for the rest of the season.

Gael Kakuta will head down the Fulham Road to play for the Cottagers of SW6, whilst Daniel Sturridge will return to the North West and settle at Bolton until the end of May.

Patrick van Aanholt will link up with Sven-Goran Eriksson at promotion-chasing Leicester City, and he may yet be joined by Jeffrey Bruma. The Dutch international was set to make a last-minute move but paperwork was bungled and that deal may now have to wait.

Jacob Mellis, fresh from signing a new two-year contract, will get regular first team football at Barnsley meanwhile.

There is, however, just one headline story from this transfer window. David Luiz will prove to be an inspirational signing for the years to come, but talk to a Chelsea fan this morning, and there’ll be only one word on their lips.


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