An extreme case of transfer mania has finally hit Plymouth Argyle FC! Since losing our ‘crown jewels’ in the last year (Ebanks Blake, Norris, Halmosi, Buzsaky), and major squad players (Wotton, Nalis, Connolly) in the Summer, Argyle fans have been hit by doom and gloom syndrome. Replacements hadn’t set the pulse racing, with former Colchester man Karl Duguid, Barnet winger Jason Puncheon, ‘development’ players like Craig Noone, Craig Cathcart and Yala Bolasie, and (not yet match fit) QPR players Simon Walton & Chris Barker joining up. And the season has started badly! Really badly.
Suddenly though, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Promising left winger/striker Paul Gallagher signed on a season long loan from Blackburn Rovers in time to play at Burnley on Saturday and people started to sit up and take notice. And on what must be the most crazy transfer deadline in years (Robinho to Manchester City and Berbatov to Manchester Utd, each for over Â£30million, amongst others), Argyle sneaked in and picked up bleach-blonde French right winger Nicolas Marin from Lorient, also on a season long loan. But rumours of the biggest deal yet were rife, and today (Tuesday) it was confirmed that Belgian international and former Manchester City, Hamburg SV, Schalke and Standard Liege striker Emile Mpenza had signed on a free transfer!! Now, ‘free transfer’ is a misleading term I feel – even without a transfer fee I expect the signing on fee and weekly wages paid for a player of his calibre are eye watering. But the money was there from the sales of Ebanks-Blake, Halmosi, Gosling et al. and the club are willing to take the gamble. Fair play.
I have to admit, I haven’t been as excited about a signing since the ill fated transfer of Taribo (or Terrible, as he became known) West. And that’s just Mpenza! With Gallagher on his left and Marin on his right as a three pronged attack, they are likely to be as much of a handful as any strike force in the division. Could the season be about to start properly? Hopefully we’ll see on the 13th Sept at home to Norwich!