Sixer’s Soapbox: Deadline Day deals done

Now that the excitement is over – and with thanks to Jake for pulling together the images you now see in the banner – Pete Sixsmith takes a quick look at our transfer dealings.

Welcome to Wayne Bridge and Sotirios Kyrgiakos, who join the club from Manchester City and Wolfsburg respectively. Neither will give us much up front, but both should strengthen our impressive defence.

Neither has played much this season, with the Greek central defender having played seven times in the Bundesliga for Wolfsburg and Bridge turning out once for City and that in a Carling Cup tie.

There are some people questioning why we have signed two 30+ defenders on short term contracts when we may well have needed a striker in the lengthy absence of Nicholas Bendtner.

The answer to that is that when decent players are available, you sign them. Bridge is a good full back, good enough to play for two of the better sides in England and to represent his country 36 times. Clearly Mancini did not fancy him and has ignored him all season, but good players don’t become bad ones overnight.

We have not had a “proper” left back since George McCartney turned his back on Sunderland. The likes of Collins and Richardson have been stopgaps who have struggled with basic full back qualities. Bruce was pilloried for not bringing one in and now O’Neill has, let us hopeful, solved this particular problem.

It also gives O’Neill an option in midfield, where the absence of Vaughan will have a negative effect. Richardson could move into midfield and support whoever is playing up front, with any luck giving us a wee bit more of a presence.

As for the hairy Greek, he is a cert to play at Stoke on Saturday, where we will be subject to our usual aerial bombardment. He wasn’t rated at Liverpool, but he looks big and strong and will give us cover in the prolonged absence of Brown and Bramble.

I did think that Kevin Davies would have been a Sunderland player before 11.00pm but it appears not to be. Bolton looked as if they were going to sign Marvin Sordell from Watford, but that doesn’t appear to have happened. Had it done, it is very likely that Davies would have been ours.

We are light up front. Wickham had a poor game on Sunday while many of us remain to be convinced by Ji. That leaves Fraizer Campbell, back after a very long lay off, to play there with Sess. Fraizer did well on Sunday but can he show that pace and enthusiasm every game? Looks like we shall soon find out.

Some observations on the latest round of games; Manchester City sent back 900 tickets to Everton – I can’t imagine us doing that in the unlikely event of us being top of the league. Wolves defended as badly as any side I have seen this season and Mick may well be on his way – Steve Bruce to replace him? And Ashley Cole sent off – ha.ha.

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24 thoughts on “Sixer’s Soapbox: Deadline Day deals done”

  1. Looks like Campbell is just about there based on tonight’s performance and hasn’t far to go until he can last the 90 minutes. His return at this time is almost like having a new signing without the expense. At 3-0 up I also thought Ji gave us a glimpse of what he may be capable of. It seems the backroom staff have developed his physique and while he may not start much, if he can come on for 20 minutes or so then we have options.

    • I’m sure there are plenty of jobs shoveling in Bolton but i would rather keep him in his current employment. 😉

  2. Very true, especially about Davies. I’m just glad that O’Neill didn’t start shoveling at Bolton in the hopes of prying him loose. Some managers would have done just that.

  3. Well, Martin stated quite clearly when he first arrived that he didn’t like the Jan window, because he thinks that players moving then are complete mercenaries.

    At the same time I think he would very much have liked to have got Kevin Davies in, and that would probably have happened, had Bolton got their man from Watford. We are ridiculously light up front even with everyone (including Bendtner) fit, so it is very disappointing that nobody has arrived who can fit that gap.

    I think there’s a huge difference between a centre back playing as a makeshift striker and being sent up for high balls in the dying seconds of games. It’s not the same thing at all.

  4. Someone just reminded me of the old chant, to the tune of Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore:” “‘When you’re sat in Row Z
    and the ball hits your head, that’s Zamora…”

    • Saw Zamora late on Tuesday night on Sky Sports. Couldn’t get that blasted tune out of my head all day yesterday. Finally managed to shrug it off and “cheers Bill…When you’re sat in Row Z and the ball hits your head, that’s Zamora” is now hounding me once again.

  5. I don’t see it as the “inability” to sign a forward; I think O’Neill was looking at the situation quite dispassionately and deciding how much he was prepared to lay out and what he wanted for his money. If the deal wasn’t there then the deal wasn’t there.
    The January window is notorious for flurries of wild, last-minute spending — followed quite often, I’m sure, by buyer’s remorse. All credit to MON for staying out of that.

    • Bill – “inability” is probably the wrong word to use – but I think you know what I mean. An injury to Campbell (or Wickham or Ji) would leave us right in the brown and smelly stuff.

  6. I certainly hope the inability to sign a proven Premership centre forward/target man does not derail a promising last third of the season.

  7. There are non-specific references on-line, Jeremy, to Kyrgiakos being able to “operate as a makeshift centre-forward” or having been “deployed as a centre forward when his team have required an aerial threat in attack.” I also found a Wikipedia reference (which means it may not be gospel) to Kenny Dalglish last year playing him “up front as a target man at times when Liverpool has been down in the final minutes and has needed a goal.” And, fair play to
    the guy, he has scored one or two.
    Definitely an unknown quantity, though, and not in the prime of his career.

  8. I can see precisely why MON has gone for these two lads. Bridge coming in can do us no harm at all. As others have said, the LB position is something that we have been struggling to fill properly and consistently since Keane’s tenure, if not before that.

    I don’t rate the Greek fellah one bit. As someone said on Blackcats, he is a “Greek Nosworthy,” which is the perfect description of him.

    Not sure when he has played up front Davey. Can you tell us more about that? Maybe that’s one of the reasons MON has brought him in. That was what MON did with Matt Elliott a few years back to great effect.

  9. Shrude signings by O’Neill. Nothing flashy, just the right players to sure up the squad where it’s needed. And with City still paying the bulk of Bridge’s wages, what have we got to lose?

  10. Both are here only on loan until the end of the season so it seems pretty obvious that they have been signed to get us through the rest of this campaign. If the manager is to convince the Chairman/Owner that he is going to invest wisely, if and when suitable players become available, he will avoid the signing on fees, salaries etc. of bit part players who represent a poor investment.

    Short has been stung before – Angeleri, Riveros, Da Silva etc. and I am pretty certain that he will not be allowing that to happen again. If reports are correct SAFC are paying Bridge £20K a week whilst Man Citeh are still paying him the other £70K he is contracted for. This seems like a good bit of business if he does a job for us and you accept that Premiership clubs have to pay out that sort of extortionate money to attract players.

  11. I think that Kyraiako…..Kyrgiak…..the Greek bloke is an ideal sort of centre half we need in the sense that he’s the typical sort that O’Neill likes and uses in his system, think Collins and Dunne, and going back to his Leicester days people like Elliott, Walsh and Taggart. All O’Neill expects from a centre half is to be able to defend set pieces with physical and ariel presence, and attack from set pieces with the same attributes. Their time on the ball will be very limited with simple, quick passes to full backs being all thats expected of their distributional qualities, allowing others to take responsibilty in building our counter attacks. Not sure if i am trying to convince myself here but i can see my point, i think.

    • And the jury is out on Bridge as i feel he has lost his pace, the major factor in his effectiveness as a player during his prime. As i said on Twitter yesterday though, Martin O’Neill could come and have a s**t on my bed at this moment in time and i would trust his judgement so i’m gonna go with it.

  12. You’re right there, Tony! As I said on the previous string, MON obviously didn’t think it was worth throwing money away. QPR obviously believe they’ve bought their way out of trouble with Zamorra and Cissé, but time will tell.
    Kyrgiakos as a potential centre forward? Interesting concept. He can certainly get up and head the ball. But… well, let’s wait and see. Big and strong at the back may do for now. I’ve read some negative things about him but O’Neill obviously sees something there that the team needs, if only a bit of bench strengh.

  13. Allthough we’ve seen some excellent goals this season Frazier Campbell’s showed what we’ve been missing. So I’m unhappy we didn’t address this, especially as I thought it was stated as a priority when Gyan went. I hik it could cost us a up run.

    That all said, I think a prudent approach iis sensible and look forward to safety followed by a summer rebuild

  14. Good points all round . Bridge should do a good job for us at left back .
    And don’t forget Kyrgiaskos can play at centre forward

  15. Sensible signings to shore up potentially vulnerable areas of the team. Bridge may improve our ball retention on the left and Kyrgiakos’s physical presence will be useful in certain games.

    We should also not lose sight of three emerging players of our own i.e. Colback, McClean and Campbell. Colback has significantly improved this season. His holding skills are already good, and his confidence is growing in passing and creation. No need to say anything about McClean;he looks just the ticket. Campbell looked classy when he came on against ‘Boro and has retained his pace. If his body holds up he will make an impact in the remainder of the season as I believe he will link well with Sessegnon.

    I’m happy to be patient with the current position, and look forward to the rest of the season and the next stage of development in the summer.

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