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April 10 2020 4.34am

Closing the curtains on the transfer window

February 2 2005

FA Premiership

FA Premiership

So the window closed with all the usual last minute transfer activitiy that we have come to expect in recent seasons, writes Simon Pophale.

The difference being, that this season our own beloved Palace could and the general concensus of opinion was that ,should be involved in the window. So with that in mind, read on...

Wednesdays only action was when Richard Duffy moved from Portsmouth to Coventry on loan. Thursday and the Midlanders were at it again, this time getting Christian Negouai from Manchester City.

City themselves added Kiki Musampa from Atletico Madrid to bolster thier squad, as they look to finish as high as possible in the Premiership. Tottenham added to thier burgeoning squad by getting Mounir El Hamdoui a Dutch U-21 International from Excelsior Rotterdam.

Meanwhile, Blackburn bagged Alex Bruce from Birmingham, while Charlton let Neil MacCafferty go out on loan to Rushden, probably for experience.

Friday was the busiest day in the window so far, with clubs frantically trying to avoid last minute panic buys on Monday. Again, Portsmouth and Spurs led the way being more active than anyone else. Pompey let Mark Burchill leave for Hearts in Scotland, while getting in 2 Greek players - Giannis Skopelitis and Konstantinos Chalikias from Egaleo and Panathinkaikos respectively for just over 1 Million pounds combined.

Tottenham added Ahmed Mido, a long rumoured target from AS Roma on loan while adding Radek Cerny, the reserve to Petr Cech in the Czech national team, for a nominal fee. Other clubs however fared well too, Blackburn seeming more like Piccadilly Circus of late, with David Yelldale going on loan to Brighton.

Fulham let 2 more players go out on loan in Ross Flitney and Liam Fontaine. Everton made a move in the market as well, getting little-known Frenchman Gillaume Plessis after a successful trial while the red half of Merseyside waved farewell to Stephane He nchoz, who moved onto Celtic on a free transfer. We still remember his helping hands in the FA Cup win at Anfield some years ago.

The weekend was always going to be a "calm before the storm" situation and there was only one deal completed over the weekend and it was a bit of an eye catcher.

Kieran Richardson, who played so well in the Carling Cup game against us for Manchester United moved on loan to West Brom. No doubt that Bryan Robson used his considerable influence to persuade Ferguson to let him move. Clearly Monday was going to be the usual last minute rush.

Which is totally proved to be. Birmingham, who has seen some high profile losses during the window managed to replace them with a trio of loan signings. Jermaine Pennant from Arsenal, Walter Pandiani from Deportivo La Coruna and Mehdi Nafti from Racing Santander.

Indeed, this seasons window saw more loans than ever before, Harry Redknapp adding to his new Southampton outfit Henri Camara from Wolves via Celtic, while Celtic replaced him with Newcastles' resident troublemaker Craig Bellamy.

Everton added Mikel Arteta from Real Sociedad and from Toffee David Unsworth is now deemed surplus to requirements at Fratton Park and has gone to boost Ipswichs Championship bid. Fulham allowed Elvis Hammond to go to RBC Roosendal, in trouble at the bottom 3 of the Eredivisie for 1st team experience.

While loans are seen to be more financially safe,the good old free transfer is a great way to boost flagging squads and the deadline day was no different. Redknapp brought in Olivier Bernard on a free (how did he manage to do that!) from Newcastle and Norwich added Graham Stuart from Charlton,adding experience to a young midfield.

Sam Allardyce continued his raid on the free market with Vicent Candela from AS Roma, while across Lancashire Blackburn let Javier De Pedro go after an unproductive spell, which yielded only 2 appearances. Tottenham found a way to cut thier (what now must be) massive wage bill by letting Edson Silva Sousa move to Holland to join Den Haag.

But there are always those that will spend big and Tottenham are no exception. They spent 8 Million pounds on 2 players from Nottingham Forest, Andy Reid and Micheal Dawson. The largest amount spent in the window to date. Second in the spending was Fenerbache, who bought serially unhappy striker Nicolas Anelka for 7 Million.

Rangers secured the services of Blackburns wantaway Captain Barry Ferguson for 4.5 Million while there are a few sub 2 million pound deals, with Aston Villa getting Eric Djemba Djemba and West Brom spending 1.5 Million for rising star Richard Chaplow from Burnley.

Finally, a couple of undisclosed deals were Ronald Wattereus going on a short term basis to Rangers from Manchester City and Portsmouth signing Aleksander Rodic, after talks with Dmitri Bulykins agent broke down in a row over agents fees (sound familiar to us Palace fans....)

With this action, it is hard that we seem to be on the outside of the window, looking in at a shop full of goodies that it seems, we cannot afford. We will have to make do with what we have and over the course of time between now and the closing the full transfer window in the UK in March, I think that there could possibly still be some more departures, albeit low profile moves with players going from Premiership to Championship clubs.

Shaun Derry and Darren Moore of West Brom have been linked to Forest, with Derry on loan there and Forest having some money to spend, Megson might want to add to his new club, a face from his old.

But there is no doubt that disappointment will be felt around all corners of Selhurst, that we did not add a few personnel to our ranks, given that all of our relegation cohorts, did do that.

Time will tell if it was a prudent decision, or one that will leave us knowing that if we do go down by the slenderest of margins, we could have done something about it.

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