It’s Deadline Day, Jim, But Not As We Know It

We saw distorted player valuations, bottled medicals and strange horse race shenanigans; and you’ll be surprised to hear that this actually isn’t a few story lines from a new drama series based on modern-day football.

First of all, Thomas Lemar. Second of all, what on EARTH were Arsenal thinking putting in a bid of 90m£ for this player. Lemar is the kind of player that people only know of because of FIFA, yet instantly rate him highly in reality, just because he scored a worldie on their career mode VS PSG and did a back-flip celebration.

On paper, the young Frenchman is not worth anywhere near this amount, considering he only scored 4 more goals last season than the comparatively cheap Gylfi Sigurdsson, yet played 15 more games than the Icelandic midfielder who cost Everton just 45m£. So what has Lemar done to be worth 90m£? Be younger? Well, yes. Youth is valued massively in the modern game. But no way does that merit such astronomical prices.

Now, on Alexis Sanchez-coloured paper, Lemar is even less worthy of this price tag. Arsenal rejected a 55m£ (rising to 60m£) bid from Manchester City as they valued him at 70m£. So why is Lemar worth 20m£ more? Sanchez is undeniably too good a player for Lemar’s relative youth to really suffice for the reason. Anyway, you’d say Messi and Ronaldo are worth more than Neymar, despite the age difference, wouldn’t you? Youth is overrated. Anyway, if it’s not his age, then what is it that made Arsenal think that Thomas Lemar is worth this staggering price tag? Certainly not his quality. Last season, Sanchez scored over twice as many goals as Lemar, and made fewer appearances than the Monaco winger. In fact, Alexis netted more goals last season that Lemar has in his entire career.
There simply is no explanation for this price tag, but it certainly has a flavour of being poorly thought-out, with a hint of desperation, and a strong, lingering, shameful aftertaste of the unfortunate way in which football (transfer prices particularly), is rapidly and scarily heading.

Somehow, even more bizarre than Lemar (I love poetry, you see) is the laughable story of Diafra Sakho’s day. On Wednesday he impulsively flew off to France and tried to force a move to Rennes, without permission from West Ham, by the way, and somehow managed to blag himself a bloody medical! To be honest, I didn’t know this was possible, but seeing as sneaky Sakho did it, I might as well jet off to Madrid to force a medical at the Bernabeu. You never know, I might be luckier than Diafra…
Despite his undeniable determination here, he was forced to return home to London, and probably given a smack on the bum by Slaven. Actually, Sakho intelligently avoided this punishment by his terrifying Croatian manager (which I don’t blame him for, in fairness) by dodging training on deadline day to spend the day at Chelmsford races instead, with his agent, Mark Mackay, whose horse actually won the race. Seemingly a pretty good choice since Sakho won 550£ by betting on Mackay’s runner, Siege of Boston. However, he’s unlikely to be holding onto his winnings long enough to spend them as a fine looks probable for the Senegalese striker, as he missed training on Wednesday and Thursday.

Adding to the comical, cartoony chaos of Diafra’s deadline day antics, he and his agent darted to the London Stadium after the races in a late attempt to talk about the player’s future, only to find that none of the West Ham big bosses were present. Can’t you just hear the Benny Hill theme tune in your head?
Anyway, to conclude this comic strip-worthy story, nothing other than a surprising plot twist is what we have for you! Are you ready? West Ham are reportedly not only offering Sakho a new contract, but a wage increase! INCREASE! Since when was it promotion-worthy to literally flee the country to get away from your club without permission, and then return to a cosy bed with a chocolate on the pillow and a bloody improved contract?!
The END (of the Sakho story).

On the other end of the medical-test spectrum is the mischievous, mind-boggling Ross Barkley. While Sakho forced, and passed, a medical in France, Ross rolled all the way down to London for a medical at Stamford Bridge after reportedly agreeing a 30m£ transfer to Chelsea. But not all went as planned. Brace yourself, this is funny… So, Ross Barkley spontaneously and ever-so conveniently changed his mind MID-MEDICAL and ran away back up to his home-land with the soul-haunting sound of the angry, Italian screaming of Antonio Conte following him all the way. Seriously though, can we please just take a minute to actually think about how childish this seems? I mean, half way through his medical to sign for the champions of England, he just goes ‘erm, sorry, erm, I wanna go home’. Or maybe, he just didn’t fancy paying 7£ for a bottle of water down there. I don’t know, but whatever his reason, surely he’d have considered it before bothering to pack his things and flee to London.

So, they’re the main highlights of deadline day for me. To sum up the day; shameful yet laughable. Who knows what we’ll see in January? Conte running up to Liverpool to finish Barkley’s medical? Andy Carroll spending deadline day at the races, not to watch but to compete? After this window’s events, I wouldn’t even be surprised if Santa Claus himself flies over to Old Trafford after Christmas to force a medical at Man United, without the permission of the North Pole FC chairman… After all, he already wears the colours and he’s certainly good in the air.



James Lawson X


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