Butler: Private planes, no time for trains or automobiles

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Noel Butler
2/1/2013 3:51:36 PM
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An extra strain was temporarily placed on aircraft control towers of certain European football cities Thursday as the Jan. 30 transfer window push came to a deadline day shove.

Or in Peter Odemwingie's case - shove off.

After world football's governing body blew the whistle on the traditional transfer system so many years ago, the 10th anniversary of the January transfer window certainly did not disappoint.

It was not ever going to reach the irrational exuberance of 2011's final day when El Nino got his wish and left Anfield only for Liverpool's owners to give all but £15 million of the Roman's £50 million to Newcastle in return for the damaged goods that are Andy Carroll.

This transfer window, just like in 2011, will be remembered for the movements of two players especially and the frenzied activity of a serial wheeling dealing denier whose club sits firmly rooted at the bottom of the Barclays Premier League.

Manchester City to their credit had given off all types of smoke signals they had no intention of offloading Balotelli following the Italian striker's latest indiscretion. The not-inconsiderable matter of a heated flare up in early January caught on camera between Roberto Mancini - the surrogate father - and his enfant terrible. 

Balotelli's time in England will be equally remembered for his on the pitch actions and his behaviour off it. There can be little doubt the maverick striker didn't come close to displaying his true potential on the consistent basis required at this level.

The correlation between his overwhelming underperformance this season especially with only the solitary league goal to his name and the controversies that constantly surrounded him we'll best leave to the cause and effect experts. However, the price that AC Milan paid for Balotelli certainly suggests a substantial discount on the full retail price.

It's not the first and certainly won't be the last time the Rossoneri have financially benefitted from the generosity of grotesquely wealthy BPL owners. Berlusconi, Balotelli and Bunga, the football world awaits with bated breath.

As one of the highest profiled footballers lay in bed yesterday morning recovering from the type of welcome only that wonderfully football divided city of Milan could have provided less than 400 miles away, the French capital was waking up to reports that the first family of English football would be in residence for the next five months.

Exactly a year later than expected, the coronation of Beckham and PSG was finally consummated. No confirmation yet on the role Zlatan played.

Benevolence from Beckham is one thing especially in a country that threatens to tax anyone who earns more than $1.5 million per year at 75 per cent. As equal to me is as all the opinion makers were about to press send on their Beckham's Enforced Retirement thesis, the ex-Galaxy man was disembarking from a private jet in the Paris outskirts and in doing so writing at least one more chapter on this most fascinating of football voyages.

Not only has Beckham become the first back to back MLS Cup winner to sign for a French club - his season, in fact quite likely his entire career could culminate with a trip to Wembley Stadium on May 25th for the Champion's League Final. How appropriate that could well be for the most capped outfield player in English football history.

The cynics will look at this as nothing more than a PR move for Beckham and PSG's Qatari owners. Those clever by half types we have to remember are largely made up from those who said his time in MLS would all end in tears.

Previously of course they had made similar prognostications when the Beckhams' pulled up sticks at the Santiago Barnebeau. Now the Parc des Princes awaits.

Speaking of PR how very clever of all concerned we weren't subjected to the let's pack the stadium with eagerly awaiting fans as Beckham in a PSG shirt played keepy uppy for the world's press.

As Beckham exited the press conference in south west Paris in west London Harry Redknapp was having his own Champions League Final.

Left alone in his office with nothing more than the check book of QPR owner Tony Fernandes for company - 'Arry made Milan's investment in Balotelli look like pocket change.

Flashing other people's cash maketh up the Redknapp legend but he may have even out done his wildest self yesterday when he persuaded Russia's FC Anzhi to part ways with striker Christopher Samba who this time last year was wearing a Blackburn Rovers shirt.

We all know how that ended. Likely little or no persuasion was needed for the Rubles committed. By noon time yesterday Tony Fernandes was on the hook for upwards of $55 million in transfer fee and salary for Samba.

Meanwhile Redknapp was just warming up his spare cell phone battery. At one point late yesterday afternoon there were so many footballers lined up outside the manager's office it seemed the club merchandise store wouldn't be able to cope with the obligatory shirt in hand photo ops.

Not content with a potential frontline pairing of Samba and Rémy, purchased earlier in the month for $12 million, Redknapp attempted to move heaven and earth but not Junior Hoilett in his attempt to bring in West Brom striker Peter Odemwingie.

But huff and puff all Redknapp could the Hawthorne's hierarchy were not going to be budged. Harry had finally met his match, the transfer window closed tight behind him.

Ah the life of a football manager - the damage to Tony Fernandes's wallet only to be fully revealed at season's end.

You can reach and follow Noel Butler at:
Noel.Butler@BellMedia.ca
@TheSoccerNoel on Twitter

Catch Newcastle v Chelsea live from St. James Park on the TSN and TEAM Radio Networks this Saturday, with coverage kicking off at 9:30am et/6:30am pt.

You can also catch QPR v Norwich Live on TSN - 7:30am et/4:30am pt.

Mario Balotelli (Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
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