The Transfer Window Slams Shut – Football Banter Podcast

RVP hit a hat trick, Swansea and West Brom failed to go top, Joey Barton went to Marseille and it’s an international break that we’re struggling to get up for. Find out what the pod team have been enjoying this week!

Time To Step Up For England’s Fringe Players

England start off their qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup on Wednesday with a number of high profile absentees from the squad. Wayne Rooney, Ashley Cole, Scott Parker and Andy Carroll are not included leaving opportunities for players that have previously not had the opportunity to impress in an England shirt.

It seems strange to think of players such as Michael Carrick and Jermain Defoe as players short on opportunities – 72 caps between them suggests anything but. The reality paints a different picture though with both playing understudy to a string of players in front of them.

Wayne Rooney, never short of column inches misses the two qualifying games through injury but some will say this is a blessing in disguise. In his brief appearances this season Rooney has looked out of form and his seemingly untouchable position in the starting eleven is surely up for review following poor performances in the last two international tournaments.

Stoke Sign Michael Owen

Free agent Michael Owen has signed for Stoke City on a one year deal.

There had been speculation that Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers was interested in bringing Owen back to Anfield in an attempt to bolster their squad which is short in the striking position following Andy Carroll’s loan to West Ham and Liverpool’s failure to secure Clint Dempsey.

There will be mixed reactions from Stoke fans as Owen has been short on first team football over the past few years and has been plagued by injuries.

Ronaldo On His Way Back To The Premier League?

Rumours are spreading that Cristiano Ronaldo could be heading back to the Premier League following a press conference in which Ronaldo stated he is unhappy at Real Madrid. The Portuguese player is thought to be unhappy with progress on contract negotiations which have been ongoing since January.

Realistically the only two clubs in the Premier League that could afford both the fee and the wages of CR7 are Manchester City and Chelsea. Both clubs will be closely monitoring the situation over the coming weeks.

Wouldn’t it piss off Manchester United fans if City landed Ronaldo? It’ll never happen but we can dream!

Michael Owen to Liverpool

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers may be forced to turn to former Liverpool hero Michael Owen to solve the clubs current striker crisis. The Anfield club have just 2 senior strikers at the club in Luis Suarez and Fabio Borini – Suarez not known for his prolific strike rate in the Premier League and Borini as yet unproven.

Owen is currently out of contract since being released by Manchester United at the end of last season can still move outside of the transfer window and would surely welcome a move back to Anfield.

There will be mixed reactions from Liverpool fans should Liverpool move to bring Owen back as his injury record has been poor since leaving Anfield back in 2004 and a move for Owen doesn’t represent a step forward for a club aiming to get back into the Champions League.

Early Contenders For Best Transfer

Just a handful of games gone but we thought we’d take a look at the stand out transfers from the premier league this season…

Santi Cazorla
Arsenal
While Arsenal have struggled to find the net this season, Santi Cazorla has been Arsenal’s key creator – making chances that Giroud and Podolski need to start finishing. Cazorla probes, looking for the killer pass and always looks like he has time on the ball.

Eden Hazard
Chelsea
Hazard looked a little lightweight in the Charity Shield and there were fears that the Premier League would be too physical for him to hit the ground running. In truth, Hazard has been an assist machine – creating almost every goal that Chelsea have scored, something Fernando Torres will be very happy about.

Michu
Swansea
Very few people knew anything about Michu until Swansea’s opening game of the season against QPR. Michu weighed in with a couple of well taken goals and announced his arrival to the rest of the league, since then he’s scored in all Swansea’s games and continues to look very impressive.

Robin Van Persie
Manchester United
After a poor Euro 2012 with Holland, Van Persie had the small matter of sorting out his exit from Arsenal. RVP opted to join Manchester United and is fast becoming their main goal threat. Few will be surprised as RVP has scored goals throughout his career but it sure is taking some adjusting to seeing Van Persie in a United kit!

Shinji Kagawa
Manchester United
Playing in Manchester United’s midfield is not easy, you either follow in the footsteps of one of the greats or you disappear like one of the many flops. The early signs suggest that Kagawa could have a great career ahead of him at United. A midfielder that weighs in with his fair share of goals has been missing at Old Trafford in recent years. Is Kagawa the man to fill the void?