It’s that time of the year again, when managers take stock of their squad and ponder over possible signings keeping in mind injuries and off-form of the current crop. Add a defender here, move a striker there, and voila! you have a winning combination on your hands. Tinkering with squads is possible only twice a year, so every club jumps at the opportunity to get hold of that elusive signature which would lead them to domestic and European glory. Unfortunately, cup-tied players find it difficult to move during this January transfer window. TheHardTackle takes a look at five such possible transfers about to happen.
Roque Santa Cruz
Bio and stats:
He is the second most prolific scorer in Paraguay’s history. He made his name initially by playing for Olimpia, at the very young age of 9. He won back to back titles with Olimpia in 1998-99 and was also chosen as Paraguay’s player of the year. His rise was noticed by Bayern Munich who snapped up the youngster in 1999.
But despite his meteoric rise, he was often sidelined at Munich due to injuries and also due to bad relationship with coaches. He switched to Blackburn Rovers in the year 2007. His prowess in front of goal brought him as many as 23 goals in just 54 games, compared to 31 in over 146 games for Munich. Finally he ended up at Manchester City, when they went on a shopping spree and bought players left and right. Injuries continued to plague him in his first season at Eastlands and he found it increasingly difficult to earn a first team place.
Style of playing: His biggest strength is his height which he uses effectively to play an aerial game.
Play-time in 2010-11 season: 1 game for Manchester City, where he came on as a substitute.
Possible destinations: AC Milan, Everton, Blackburn, Fulham
Bio and stats:
A legend of the game in his own way. This buck-toothed magician began his extraordinary journey at Gremio. However, his first brush with media came at a ripe age of 13, when he scored all 23 goals in a 23-0 victory over a local club. His stint at Gremio was noticed by Paris Saint-Germain, who snapped up this prodigy for a mere 5.1 million Euros.
His 21 goals at Gremio was followed by a 17 goals stint at Saint-Germain, and he got himself transferred to Barcelona in 2003, when Saint-Germain finished as low as 11th and hence failed to qualify for any European competition. His dream journey with Barcelona brought him awards by the handful and joy to millions worldwide. He remains one of the few players to have received a standing ovation at Santiago Bernabeu after 2005-06 El Classico.
His fame brought him many suitors but he stayed put at Camp Nou, till July 2008. Health troubles, injuries and off-form resulted in him being put on the bench on too many occasions to his liking. Milan procured his famed signature. However, fitness troubles caught up with him once again. Party-life wasn’t helping him either and Milan coach Allegri benched him often. He scored only 20 goals in the 3 seasons with the Rossoneri.
Style of playing: An exceptional dribbler of the ball, he also is a free-kick specialist. His main strength is his ball-control.
Play-time in 2010-11 season: 3 matches where he had 2 assists.
Possible destinations: Flamengo, Palmeiras, Fenerbahce
Bio and stats:
He started off his career at Bari in the year 1999, which produced 48 appearances and only 6 goals. Later, AS Roma came calling and obtained his transfer for a fee of 60 billion Italian lire. While at Roma, he first clashed with coach Fabio Capello, but this was not a one-off thing, as he would repeat the same in time to come. His hot-headedness got the better of his talents on many occasions, one such being in the 2003 Italian Cup final against AC Milan. He was even made captain of Roma in the absence of Francesco Totti.
But his stay didn’t last too long, and in the year 2005-06, he made his move to Real Madrid after notching up 39 goals for Roma, the maximum he scored for a single club. He was following in the footsteps of Christian Panucci as he became only the second ever Italian player to have signed for the Blancos. He was suspended there when he showed disrespect towards Capello once again following a heated dressing room argument. His career never really blossomed at the Bernabeu and he contemplated a move back to Roma.
Subsequently he moved to Sampdoria, first on loan and then on a permanent basis. But he was fined by the club and also had his salaries cut to 50% due to disciplinary reasons.
Style of playing: He mainly plays as a second striker.
Play-time in 2010-11 season: 7 matches for Sampdoria where he scored 4 goals and had 2 assists.
Possible destination: AC Milan
Bio and stats:
Adebayor came into the football spotlight while he was at FC Metz. He notched up 15 goals there at the young age of 17. His prowess was noticed by Monaco, who signed this youngster. He was a part of the 2004 Monaco team that reached the Champions League final. He was excluded from the team for repeatedly missing training sessions which led to a difficult relationship with coach Francesco Guidolin.
After spending 2 years at Monaco and scoring 21 goals, Adebayor moved to Arsenal in 2006 for 7 million pounds. He was seen as a player in the mould of Thierry Henry, a Gunner legend. He somehow lived up to that reputation, scoring 46 goals during his stay at the Emirates. Finally, he arrived at Manchester City in July 2009. He has scored a total of 15 goals in 34 starts for Manchester City.
Style of playing: He uses his height and strength mainly inside the box. A pacy, skillful all-round striker.
Play-time in 2010-11 season: 8 matches for Manchester City scoring only 1 goal
Possible destinations: Everton, loan move to Tottenham Hotspurs
Bio and stats: Mertesacker started his career in his native home-town club, Hannover 96 in the year 2003. He went on for a record 31 consecutive matches without being booked, an extreme rarity keeping in mind the position where he plies his trade.
Per scored a total of 7 goals during his stay there before moving to Werder Bremen in the summer of 2006 for a fee of 5 million Euros, following his impressive performances in the 2006 World Cup. Injury hampered his progress there but he soon struck a rich vein of form and gradually started to own the center back position. This young defender has scored 10 goals in 126 starts for Bremen so far.
Style of playing: A clean defender with relatively less number of bookings and uses his height for scoring headers from set-pieces
Play-time in 2010-11 season: 14 matches for Werder Bremen
Possible destination: Arsenal