By Teo Icliyurek
The transfer window is underway, and despite a lack of record-breaking sales, the mid-point marks quite a few notable exchanges. Two weeks ago, 5 transfer predictions were made. Of the 5, the only one rated as highly likely, Podolski to Inter, already occurred as a loan deal. Among other noteworthy transfers are the following:
- Xherdan Shaqiri (Bayern Munich to Inter Milan)
The Swiss international, once touted as the “Swiss Messi,” finally parted ways with the Bavarian club in a deal worth about 15 million euros. Long linked with Liverpool, the winger officially stated his disappointment in a failed transfer to the Anfield side due to disagreements between the clubs. Nevertheless, Inter will much appreciate the pace, skill, and power of their somewhat diminutive acquisition.
- Victor Valdes (FC Barcelona to Manchester United)
The first of two free transfers on the list, the Spanish #2 goalkeeper finally departed the side he came through the ranks in. With over 400 appearances for the Blaugranas, the winner of three champions leagues and six league trophies had been sent down the pecking order due to the arrival of 22 year-old German Marc Andre Ter Stegen. Due to the stellar form of current red devils keeper David De Gea, however, he has been clearly brought in to play a secondary role to his younger spanish counterpart.
- Matija Nastasic (Manchester City to Schalke)
The young serb completed a loan transfer from the sky blue citizens in Manchester to the darker blue side of Schalke. Having arrived as a 19 year-old from Fiorentina, the Serbia international had a wonderful first season, having been named Manchester City’s young player of the year and removing Joleon Lescott, a senior English defender, from the starting eleven. Due to missing most of last season through injury, however, he played in very few fixtures. Furthermore, the arrivals of Martin Demichelis and Eliaquim Mangala pushed the now-21 year-old down the city pecking order. His transfer should be an attempt to reignite his promising career.
- Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle to Nice)
The french phenomenon moved to Newcastle from Lyon on a loan deal in 2010. After a spell that involved magical skills (video below) multiple injuries and a loan spell to Hull City in the beginning of this season, the mercurial Lyon product has sealed a free transfer to Nice. There has been an issue, however, with his availability to play. FIFA rules state that a player may only represent a maximum of two sides in one season. Ben Arfa started the season playing with the Newcastle U21’s and then played 8 league games with Hull City, making him unavailable for his new side. The situation has been appealed, though, with reports that Ben Arfa expects to return to the field sometime in early 2015.
Among the four main high-profile transfers so far, those of Xherdan Shaqiri and Victor Valdes have been long-running transfer sagas, while that of Matija Nastasic is one that seeks development and that of Hatem Ben Arfa is the culmination of an inevitable departure from the toons. Among the transfers mentioned in the rumor article before the window opened ( https://myweeklysports.com/2015/01/01/january-transfer-rumors-5-stand-out-rumors/ ), Podoslki’s to Inter has been completed. Furthermore, the Manchester City for Mario Mandzukic deal seems awfully unlikely as City have set their sights on Swansea’s Ivorian hit-man, Wilfried Bony. On the other hand, Sami Khedira to Arsenal hasn’t surfaced, reinforcing the 3/10 prediction. Saido Berahino’s move to Liverpool is still hanging on the balance while Gareth Bale to Manchester United is one of those deals that can’t be taken seriously until either club releases information on the issue. Among other transfer rumors to keep an eye out for are that of Lionel Messi which, though unlikely, would considerably shift the power balance in European football (If Chelsea were to buy the Argentine, their reign in the premier league would be cemented for years to come). This concludes the mid-window transfer analysis. Below are highlight videos of some of the aforementioned players.
Hatem Ben Arfa Skills: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHAn0FNx16s
Xherdan Shaqiri Top 5 Goals: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NfkDwaRV7c
Lukas Podolski’s Goals for Arsenal 2013/14: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9e9UW2_hjJo