It’s hard to believe that it’s already February and we are one month into 2013. We covered a lot this past month so in time honoured tradition, here is the January recap. Much of the month was spent speculating around who would move where during this months transfer window. Fans and the media watch with anticipation as key players across Europe decided their next move. Spanish clubs were fairly quiet this month in the transfer market as most face up to the economic crisis that is gripping La Liga and its teams so it was left to other clubs to dip their toes into the market.
One club who did decide to take advantage of the transfer window was Manchester City as they finally called time on the much troubled stay of Mario Balotelli. The Italian striker moved by home to Italy to join AC Milan after City boss Roberto Mancini gave up hope of being able to tame him. The final straw appears to have been a sensational training ground bust up between the two, as described earlier this month on the blog. Dutch star Wesley Sneijder made a surprise move to Galatasaray mid month only to be joined later on by former Chelsea striker, Didier Drogba after he decided to end his Chinese experiment. Former teammate Frank Lampard looks likely to be joining LA Galaxy as they missed out on their first choice, Brazilian superstar, Kaka. Not a bad second choice option though for Bruce Arena’s men as the player still has plenty left to give.
Lampard will be joined in the MLS by QPR defender Ryan Nelsen, but not in a playing capacity as the New Zealander has decided to take on his first managerial post at Toronto FC. It was one of three management changes this month, the others being the long awaiting and much anticipated appointment of Gordon Strachan as Scotland manager and the surprise dismissal of Nigel Atkins from Southampton, with Mauricio Pochettino taking over immediately in a move that most presumed was weeks in the making. We also took a look at some top talent across the globe including Croatian wonderkid Alen Halilovic, Scotland’s Gary Mackay Steven and Paul Pogba, the talented French youngster setting Serie A alight, much to the disappointment of Manchester United boss, Sir Alex Ferguson. We featured a stunning goal from Colombian striker Carlos Bacca and an equally amazing double save from Peru Under 20 goalkeeper Angelo Campos, whilst taking a closer look at a ball boys acting skills during the Swansea vs Chelsea League Cup semi final game.
Speaking about Swansea, cup shocks made the news and we covered them all – Bradford, Leeds, Oldham and St Mirren. Ethiopia looked to cause a shock as they took part in the African Cup of Nations for the first time in 31 years. This is one tournament that so far Michel Platini has not been able to change, unlike Euro 2020 but there is still time for that to happen. Speaking of change, we looked at the options open to Rangers as they look to move to England and start afresh, as the SFA radically adjusts the Scottish league setup. Rangers owner Charles Green is clearly finding it difficult to forget how they were treated in the past by the SFA and SPL.
Finally we had some good news with three lighter pieces – Swansea’s homeless finds an Angel in Rangel, Elephants that play football in India and some dodgy free kick taking from Thailand all feature this month in what was yet again another action packed month in the blog.