Down to the Wire: With the window nearing its close, who will beat the clock?
With just three hours remaining in the January transfer window, it’s a race to the finish for many teams to try and secure the players they desire for the final half of the season.
The top clubs appear to be very quiet as we approach the moment of truth, but with 10 clubs within nine points of each other, the bottom half of the table has been a flurry today, and to no surprise, the pickings have gotten a bit slim.
As we race towards the home stretch, let’s take a look at who could make a play just before the deadline.
After all, that’s what Deadline Day is all about, right?
Lee Cattermole to Stoke City:
An on-again, off-again rumor, Stoke haven’t given up the fight just yet. Known for his crunching tackles, many are joking (with a hint of truth) that Cattermole would be a perfect fit for Stoke’s physical style.
Originally said to be nearing completion with Sunderland having accepted a bid for the midfielder (pictured, left), his current club is now insisting that the deal is dead. And yet it won’t go away...
According to Sky’s Rob Dorsett, Cattermole’s agent has arrived at the Stoke City training ground. We’ll see where it goes. I can’t imagine Sunderland would be too happy with that news. Chances of completion: 4/10
John Heitinga to Fulham:
The furious attempt by Shad Khan, Alistair Mackintosh, and Rene Meulensteen to keep their club up is far from over, with deals for Kostas Mitroglou and Lewis Holtby already done and dusted.
The Cottagers have conceded a Premier League-high 50 goals this year, 10 more than anyone else in the league. With that in mind, the club’s focus has now shifted to shoring up that back line.
With a serious need at left-back, Fulham first looked to Swansea’s Neil Taylor with a pair of bids, but amid reports that the defender’s wife has gone into labor today (typical Deadline Day!), the 24-year-old is apparently staying with Michael Laudrup.
Now, Fulham have turned their attention to the Everton central defender. Heitinga won the Toffees Player of the Year award as recently as the 2011/2012, but has been shoved aside by Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin, leaving the 30-year-old with just a single Premier League appearance this year
With Fulham out of domestic loan slots (you get 2, and they have Holtby and Darren Bent), the transfer would have to be a purchase of his contract, most likely on a free. Sky Sports are reporting he is having a medical at Fulham. From the sound of things, it’s a pretty likely possibility. Chances of completion: 7/10
Thomas Ince to Crystal Palace:
The Tom Ince Deadline Day Tour looks to have found a conclusion at Crystal Palace. This one has been in the reports for most of the day, but the longer these deals linger without confirmation, the more likely they are to have a twisted ending.
Slowly, news is trickling out that the move is nearing completion, with the Blackpool Gazette reporting that striker Stephen Dobbie will be sacrificed in the other direction to Blackpool.
Ince was rumored to be in contact with numerous Premier League clubs in the past week, and it would appear Crystal Palace are the winners. A very likely deal at this point, on a loan with a £1 million fee. Chances of completion: 8/10.
Jonathan Pitroipa to Stoke City:
It seems that Stoke aren’t finished, even if Lee Cattermole falls through. Sky Sports is reporting another target for Mark Hughes - Rennes striker Jonathan Pitroipa.
The striker market is beginning to dwindle, and Cardiff City, West Ham United, and other bottom-half clubs have missed out on key striker targets. So Hughes has targeted the 27-year-old Burkina Faso international for the job. French paper L’Equipe is reporting a loan deal with an option to buy has been agreed upon, but nobody else has taken that leap yet.
Unfortunately, his numbers are a bit ugly - no goals and four assists in 20 appearances (16 starts) - but he’s been playing mostly on the right wing. Also, that’s what happens when you wait until three hours left in the transfer window. Chance of completion: 5/10.
Ross McCormack to anybody:
With news that all hell has broken loose at Leeds United - they’ve shockingly sacked manager Brian McDermott on the heels of an Italian takeover - will anybody make a play for former Cardiff City striker Ross McCormack? The 27-year-old told Sky he was “gutted” by the news.
Ok, with 3 hours left that’s probably not likely, but hey, it’s Deadline Day. You never know! Right on cue, Sky reports SIX (!!) clubs have contacted Leeds about McCormack. Buckle up... Chances of completion: 2/10.