Done Deal: Transfer activity from September 1


The penultimate day of Europe’s summer transfer season was about quality, not quantity. Instead of a slew of loan deals and squad player sales, Europe’s big five leagues saw only four deals completed, though three of them involved internationals. Particularly in a season before a World Cup, finding a place that guarantees playing time could be the difference between making your national team and being left at home.

Those details, however, are almost secondary, at this point. As of a few hours ago, it’s officially deadline day, with the chaos of inevitable transfer activity (real or rumored) guaranteed to lay siege to your sanity.

Every rumor’s an orc. Your Twitter timeline’s Helm’s Deep. (Jim White is Gandalf.)

For some of you, that means …

For others? The last day of a transfer window feels like …

Regardless, the whole thing will be over on Monday, 6:00 p.m. Eastern.

Here are the deals that went down on Sunday:


Crystal Palace Jimmy Kebe is back in the Premier League. After being relegated with Reading last year, the 29-year-old French winger has latched on with Crystal Palace, who signed him to a three-year deal for a reported $3.1 million.

Manchester City – City tried to hold out for a lower fee for Martín DeMichelis (pictured), who Atlético Madrid picked up from Málaga this summer. Ultimately, because of their minor crisis at the back, the Sky Blues agreed to pay off the Atleti, though whether Atlético’s €5 million price was hit remains undisclosed.


Real Madrid – Apparently rebuilding, the Merengues have elected to take on 24-year-old Gareth Bale, Tottenham’s defender-cum-attacker having lost his place in Spurs’ attack after the summer acquisitions of Nacer Chadli, Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen and Roberto Soldado. It remains to be seen whether Carlo Ancelotti can get the prodigious yet raw talent to finally tap into his potential, but for $132,000, Real president Florentino Perez is wagering a change of scenery will do wonders for the Southampton product. (Author’s note: Turns out the fee was actually $132 million, which is a world record, or something.)


Parma – Midfielder Walter Gargano, a regular for Internazionale last season, will spend the 2013-14 campaign at Parma, having finalized his loan on Sunday. The 29-year-old Uruguayan international will hope the switch ensures playing time ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

“Overweight” Costa comes to Mourinho’s defense

Diego Costa, Chelsea FC
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Diego Costa says he and his Chelsea teammates are to blame for Chelsea’s horrid start to the 2015-16 Premier League season.

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Speaking Thursday, during a bit of downtime over the current international break (Costa was left out of Vicente del Bosque’s squad for Spain’s final two EURO 2016 qualifiers this week), Costa placed the majority of blame at the feet of the entire team, but went on to most harshly critique himself for coming into the season unfocused and “overweight.”

Costa, on his lack of fitness and form to begin the season — quotes from the Guardian:

“We know we’re not in the form we were supposed to be at the beginning of the season. We need to blame the players because we came back from holiday very confident, thinking we could go back into how it was last season, and then realized the team was already in a bad situation.

“I’m going to be very honest: maybe a few weeks ago, five or six weeks ago, I was not on top of my game. At least physically. We talk within the players and we know that, maybe at the beginning, we were not 100 percent as we were supposed to be when we got here. I got injured at the end of last season and then I went on holiday. Maybe I got out of my diet and, when I came back, I was not the way I was supposed to be. I was a little bit overweight. That affected my game. You can be selfish and blame it on the manager but I’m not going to do that. I’m responsible 100%, and so are the other guys.

Given that Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said on Thursday he doesn’t quite know what’s wrong with the defending Premier League champions, hearing someone — anyone — speak up and explain the club’s worst start to a season in 37 years will surely be a welcome sound to any Blues supporter’s ears.

[ MORE: Liverpool appoint Klopp as manager | Allardyce to Sunderland? ]

Costa, who is eligible to return from suspension next weekend when Aston Villa visit Stamford Bridge, has scored just one goal in league play this season (six appearances) after scoring 20 in 26 games last season.

Sam Allardyce to open talks with Sunderland

Sam Allardyce, West Ham United FC
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Now that Liverpool have selected and named their new manager, it appears Sunderland are finally ready to move forward with their own managerial search. (That’s clearly a joke, because it implies Liverpool and Sunderland ever duke it out for the same managerial candidate.)

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Anyway, the Black Cats will have to hire someone to replace the recently-departed Dick Advocaat at some point. We all knew that, despite the fact he’s probably earned a shot at that level, Bob Bradley was never really going to be considered for the job. With that in mind, if you’re not going to endear yourself to the entire United States of America with this hire, you might as well go for the best unemployed manager who’ll actually consider your approach.

That’s what Sunderland chairman Ellis Short appears to have done, as it was reported Thursday that despite an initial reluctance from Sam Allardyce — let’s be honest, he actually was holding out hope for the Liverpool job — the 60-year-old most recently in charge of West Ham United was willing and ready to enter into negotiations with the northeastern club.

One of the major sticking points during Sunderland’s courting of Allardyce is expected to be his demand for autonomy in the transfer market as well as a sizable transfer budget to sign his own players during the January window.

[ MORE: Advocaat: Sunderland squad too thin, chairman to blame ]

Allardyce seems like the no. 1 guy you’d like to bring in to steady a capsized ship — cough Sunderland cough — in any situation. Not only does he have a successful track record in the Premier League, but he’s the kind of no-nonsense leader a club like Sunderland so desperately needs as they find themselves in yet another relegation battle just eight games into the new season.

Short hopes to have Allardyce signed, sealed and delivered when the Premier League returns to action next weekend. In that event, Allardyce’s first game in charge of Sunderland would be a trip to West Bromwich Albion. His first home fixture? Home to Tyne-Wear derby rivals Newcastle United, a club whose boisterous fanbase still holds a great deal of disdain for Big Sam. Sometimes the football gods really are looking out for us.