Having completed their Sunderland tryouts, the players paused for a photo.
Phil Jones to Sign with Manchester United
It looks like we've had our first major day of transfer activity of the summer and if you are one who tends to call this silly season then you'll really have enjoyed today. Not because the rumors were silly but because the actual transfers were silly which is always more fun than commenting on how silly baseless speculation might be.
Henderson to Liverpool
Sure, I understand that Gerrard isn't getting any younger and that Liverpool are starting to prepare for life without their talisman (which probably SHOULD have started about two seasons ago when he still had some serious value left to cash in on). Regardless, I'm not as enamored with Henderson as Jeremy is but I recognize that he's a very good young player who, at least in theory, has some pretty strong upside. I suppose the question is whether that's worth as much as Liverpool paid. I don't know what Liverpool's transfer budget is but unless it includes a bunch more money for a winger (maybe two), a CB, and maybe even a LB then I'm not sure if spending that much money on Henderson was the way to go.
Are Liverpool better today for the switch than they were yesterday? Definitely. Are they any closer to winning a title? Probably not.
Analysis: Undecided. If they have a bunch of money to spend then I'm good with it as a way to build for the future. If not, then they'll look very Arsenal-like next season with a gaping hole that everyone knew they needed to fill while they spent their money on a luxury.
The United Poo Poo Platter (O'Shea, Brown, and Gibson) to Sunderland
OK, this one hasn't been officially announced yet but with Steve Bruce confirming that the offer was made on SoccerNet and my expectation that SAF will bit Bruce's hand off in his rush to take the money for these spare parts, I'll assume it will get done. Sunderland really do like this sort of move, don't they. Whether they are buying from United or Spurs they seem to make one blanket purchase of another, better team's spare parts each season. What it has led to is Sunderland having a lot of players who make you say "meh" and the United trio of Gibson, Brown, and O'Shea certainly don't do much to change that.
O'Shea and Brown at least have been useful parts in the past but I'm not sure if anyone knows what position either SHOULD be playing on a top-half Premier League side at this point in their careers. At least they have had places in the past, I'm not sure anyone is convinced that Gibson has anything more than an occasionally accurate rocket of a long-distance shot going for him. Maybe O'Shea and Brown will find the Fountain of Youth with more playing time and Gibson will show more with similarly more playing time. Still, if I had 12M to spend (plus the Darren Bent money) I'd certainly be looking to spend it on something better than these three.
Analysis: Just mind boggling unless there are also some loans coming Bruce's way as a gentleman's agreement to go along with the three permanent signings.
Phil Jones to United
You can read Jeremy's spot-on analysis of the situation for discussion of the move on its own merits. What has me even more amazed by this move is it in combination with the Spare Parts to Sunderland move above. If the reported information is true and Rovers are getting £16M for Jones while United are receiving £12M for the trio above the United are trading three spare parts and £4M for one of the more sought-after young English players in the league. Now THAT is some good business.
I don't know if Jones will end up being the long term replacement for Vidic or if he can replace Carrick as a holding midfielder even sooner than that. What I do know is that he is one of the high-priced players on the market this summer and United is getting him for peanuts thanks to the beneficence of Steve Bruce. This leaves them with a bunch of money to nail down de Gea and a Scholes replacement. Just exceptional stuff from United (and you all know how much it pains me to say that). Even worse, I've had to praise moves from BOTH United and Spurs (signing Friedel) so far this summer.
Analysis: Great move on the field and from a management standpoint.
Kid to Arsenal
I'm not going to bother learning his name until I think there's some chance that he'll actually play for the first team. There are only two reasons I'm mentioning this move at all:
- It is difficult for me to go an entire post without discussing Arsenal (it has happened but I can't say I enjoy it when it does).
- I'm at least happy that we're buying at positions of need rather than yet another undersized attacking midfielder without a defined position.
That's about it for an exhausting day of thinking about some pretty high profile transfers after some less fashionable sides were doing most of the buying early on including Billy Jones to WBA. I'm definitely looking forward to the activity picking up so we can start imagining who our enablers will be come Week 1 of the fantasy season. Right now it is looking like DDG, Billy Jones, Adel Taarabt, and Scott Sinclair are the leading contenders.