Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Nobody Enjoys Deadline Day, the Ultimate Stick or Twist Game of Blackjack

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Nobody Enjoys Deadline Day, the Ultimate Stick or Twist Game of Blackjack

Article excerpt

Byline: JamesOlley At the heart of London football @JamesOlley

WHATEVER happens in the final 36 hours of the transfer window is unlikely to surpass the deadline day drama of a deal that was completed 10 years ago this week.

Andrey Arshavin's PS15million move from Zenit St Petersburg to Arsenal was four seconds away from collapse.

The story involved two clubs doggedly sticking to their financial valuations, extreme weather postponing the deadline by an extra day, a broken fax machine putting everything in jeopardy and paperwork filed after the window's closure which later prompted the Premier League to introduce a "deal sheet" simplifying the process.

Arshavin spent his last night as a Zenit player housed in an Elstree hotel while those involved worked frantically to reach an agreement, coming with email conversation to confirm all parties were happy as Big Ben prepared to strike.

Nobody enjoys deadline day -- certainly nobody involved in it. Chief executives and chairmen face the ultimate stick-or-twist game of blackjack, with those lower down the food chain ever wary of going bust.

Agents worry, fans fret. Journalists try and separate fact from fiction in real time while the authors write the story. The only benefit is the appearance of a deadline, forcing players to show their hands. But value remains difficult to identify and harder to procure, especially in the mid-season window when replacements are harder to source and overstretching can lead to squads bloated by deadwood.

Chelsea moved to acquire Gonzalo Higuain on loan once receiving word a loan move for Alvaro Morata, now of Atletico Madrid, could be found.

The situation is different at Tottenham where Mauricio Pochettino would welcome further additions to bolster a squad exhibiting signs of wear and tear, but Daniel Levy is under constraints centring on the club's impending stadium move. …

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