Better Than Babel In His Helicopter
5:45, a disappointing transfer window. The promise of a big name transfer seemed dead in the water. Fans on the back of Daniel Levy and Harry Redknapp for failing to do any major business, for neglecting to bring in replacements and not selling any of the dead wood.
As ever there was the strange rumours, my favourite being the underrated Liverpool player Ryan Babel heading down to London on his helicopter. First he was off to Spurs, mixed reactions, then a change of mind, West Ham. It was never really happening and his helicopter was more than likely still in his back garden.
Then like a hammer, the ever excitable Jim White reveals a Dutch international could be making it to White Hart Lane. Suddenly everyone shuffles forward on their seats, who could it be? Has Harry pulled off a coup. But we have to wait, Sky Sports News heads off for a few adverts, and what feels like the longest ad break of all time.
Rafael van der Vaart. World Cup runner up. Surely not, we were after a big name star after all. Could we do it in time?
Hours, and hours, and hours of waiting. News dripping in. Harry reports the deal is at £8 million, Bayern Munich even had a deal collapsed at £18 million, a steal. It was all down to the Premier League now, all they need to do is ratify the transfer.
We find out the deal was done after the window was slammed shut, computing errors delayed the deal. But Wednesday comes, no news from the Premier League. Still waiting, waiting. Rumours from one side saying it was all set to be confirmed, the other side saying it was pretty much dead in the water.
And then, 3:16, the immortal words on the website ‘Van der Vaart Deal Confirmed’. Brilliant.
Cue going crazy for about five minutes, we have signed a world class player. Rafael van der Vaart, formally of Ajax, Hamburg and Real Madrid.
But after it sinking in, the heroics of signing a big name, there is considering the reality of this transfer.
Realistically, this isn’t down to the genius of Redknapp or Levy. This is a deal that was first heard of at 4pm, this was literally last minute. Daniel Levy hadn’t negotiated a beauty, Real Madrid were selling him on the cheap, no one else had moved in for him. Fair play, might as well have a go, and it indeed paid off in the end.
Secondly, do we really need another midfielder? In midfield we already have the option of Tom Huddlestone, Wilson Palacios, Luka Modric, Aaron Lennon, Niko Kranjcar, Jermaine Jenas, Gareth Bale and new signing Sandro. Where does he fit in? As far as I know he is an attacking midfield, someone in the mould of lets say, Niko Kranjcar. Both of who are bargains of the last two years, but is this making Kranjcar more of a backup rather than a rotated figure in the team?
But one thing is for certain is the legitimacy of the deal. Okay it was done after the window closed, but there was good reason. And the fact Arsenal fans are whining on their radio shows appear to be suffering from collective amnesia from the Andrei Arshavin deal a few years back. Did they forget the Premier League allowed them special dispensation to sign because all of that snow. I’ll let you answer that one.
Despite all my thoughts about it, I love the signing. Rafael van der Vaart at White Hart Lane in a Spurs shirt is just a brilliant thought.
And to think hours before we were all thinking we might have to settle with Ryan Babel.