Saturday, September 01, 2007

The transfer window shuts...

... and Blues sneak in a 12th summer signing minutes before the deadline. This summer, despite the money washing around the Premier League, Blues have spent around £10m in transfer fees on those players. Another promoted side - Sunderland - has spent £35m on 12 players. I should be hopping mad, right?

Wrong. The speculation surrounding the club's future ownership this summer has almost certainly resulted in Steve Bruce having to operate in a strait-jacket as far as the transfer market is concerned. Whatever the rights and wrongs of this approach - it's interesting how the £9m agreed with Spurs for two deals that fell through never materialised elsewhere - having to scratch around for players does bring out the best in Bruce. His 12 signings this summer - Kapo, Quedurue, Parnaby, Ridgewell, Schmitz, De Ridder, Djourou, O'Connor, Kingson, Muamba, Palacios and Oubina - have given us a fighting chance of Premiership survival. There's a lot of European pedigree in there, a smattering of Premiership experience, all are young and hungry to succeed, and in Kapo he's unearthed a real gem.

By contrast, Sunderland have spunked £35m on a string of Championship players and £7m on a Scottish goalkeeper. However good Craig Gordon is (he conceded two against Blues, so make up your own mind on that score!), Roy Keane has put his club in serious financial peril spending all that money on largely unproven talent. Obviously the season has a long way to go yet, but the omens aren't good for the Black Cats. Keane has yet to experience a bad run as manager, and this stage of the season isn't the time to do it - yet they've lost their last three games, including an embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Luton in the League Cup.

Blues travel to Middlesbrough today - an unhappy hunting ground, as we've yet to take a point from them at the Riverside in the Premiership in four attempts, and haven't recorded an away win on Teeside since 1981. I'm not expecting anything today, but I'm hoping we might sneak a draw.

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