Jan 142009

Halfway through the January transfer window, and barely a fiver has been handed over, Wayne Bridge’s move to City being the only deal of note so far. Of course, most clubs are waiting for the deadline to loom before driving a hard bargain, and we appear to be joining in.

I haven’t spoken about the Arshavin situation yet, but that’s mainly because it is fairly obvious what is going on. We’ve offered 10m, Zenit want a lot more than that, and both club and agent are desperately touting the player around to get a bigger bid. It is transparent stuff, not helped when the agent claims interest from 15-20 clubs only for Zenit to say only we’ve approached them.

One way or another, Arshavin is likely to leave this month, so the question remains – where will he go? We’re playing hardball with Zenit, which would save us plenty of cash as long as no one trumps our bid. And we’ve been here before – Ronaldo, Robinho and Baptista are among the names that were close to joining us before increased bids from elsewhere took them away.

And that is what Zenit are currently hoping for, their main target being cash rich Man City. Fortunately for us, City appear more concerned with paying ludicrous sums for unavailable players rather than focusing on those who would simply improve their situation. 90m for Kaka is insane, whereas they could probably offer 15-17m for Arshavin and get him quickly. Let’s hope they continue to have more money than sense.

It remains to be seen what the plan is at Eastlands. Abramovich certainly spent silly money when he arrived, paying way over the odds for some players before tightening up, but it seems that City want to make a worldwide statement, with money being no object. No doubt the mettle and integrity of some of the best players in world football will be tested, but while Chelsea mixed some loyal players with mercenaries, City’s league position means they are unlikely to get anyone to see past the bottom line at the end of the month. Expect a team of flash players with no love for the club.

That doesn’t mean they’ll be unsuccessful, it just means we’ll be even more glad of Cesc’s personality and loyalty when the inevitable bid arrives.

In the meantime, fingers crossed we can get our business done while City continue to be distracted by the bright lights of Milan.

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