THE transfer window opened on Tuesday, sparking a month-long flurry of truths, half-truths and downright lies that actually turn out to be more informative than the truths they relate to.
At each and every Premier League press conference, managers will be asked about their targets, the players they have been linked to and the players at their own club who could be on their way out of the door.
They will answer in ‘transferese’, a barely-decipherable language that is only heard twice a year and which is all-but-impenetrable to the untrained ear.
Thankfully, the column is here to help. So here are some tried-and-tested managerial phrases - and what they actually mean.
“Obviously, Joe Cole is someone I’m well aware of. Everybody knows what he’s capable of and I think it’s pretty obvious that we’re short of attacking options. But he’s a Liverpool player and I’m not going to talk about someone who’s at another club.”
Translated as: “I want to sign Joe Cole. We haven’t got any attacking midfielders and he’s pretty much the only one that’s going to be available this month. I’d like to know if Liverpool want to sell him, but I don’t really want to ask them myself. If you’re listening though Brendan, give me a ring.”
“I’ve always had a very close relationship with the chairman and we’ve had some productive discussions since the window opened. He knows where we’re short and he’s always been willing to help in the past. But we have to live within our means like everyone else.”
Translated as: “Bloody hell, that meeting with the chairman didn’t go very well. We don’t have a single full-back on the books, but I can’t seem to get that across to him. He’s spent a fortune in the past, but now it looks as though he’s skint.”
“I’ve sat down and talked to the player and at no stage has he ever said that he wants to leave this month. I’m aware of the stories that are out there, but it’s just pure speculation. There has been no formal offer from anyone and we wouldn’t want one anyway.”
Translated as: “Let’s be honest, he’s going. I know he’s going, he knows he’s going and you all know it as well. It’s true we haven’t had an offer yet, but that’s only because the other club are sorting everything out behind our back. Knowing our luck, the phone will probably ring at about 3pm on deadline day.”
“In an ideal world, you’d always want to get your business done as early in the window as possible. But it’s not always as simple as that and these days, transfers are extremely complex. If we have to wait until the last minute for the balls to fall into place, that’s just the way it’s going to have to be.”
Translated as: “We’ve ballsed this up, haven’t we? I chased a few players at the start, but let’s be honest, that was never going to happen, so here we are in the final week of the window desperately trying to squeeze an extra £1m out of Spurs. I know it all looks a bit desperate, but let’s keep our fingers crossed, eh?”
“Other people might be involved in the transfer process, but as the manager, the final say over any transfer either into or out of the club is mine. The board go out and get the deal done, and I leave the financial side of things to them. But nothing is done without my say so.”
Translated as: “I have absolutely nothing to do with what happens at this football club any more. To be honest, you probably know more than me. I’ve given the board a load of names, but since they brought in that new director of football, I don’t think they listen to a thing I tell them.”
“We’re all absolutely delighted to have signed Robbie Keane. We’ve got an experienced international who has been a success at every club he has played for. Yes, the fee might look big on paper, but you’re talking about a proven Premier League performer who can slot straight into the team and make a difference.”
Translated as: “Christ almighty, how on earth did we end up with Robbie Keane? I know I said I’d take pretty much anyone, but have you seen how old he is? And £12m? What on earth was the chairman thinking? Still, I’ll have to play him on Saturday so we’re going to have to all pretend he’s still really good.”
“To be honest, I hate the January transfer window. It’s really unsettling for everyone involved.”
Translated as: “To be honest, I hate the January transfer window. It’s really unsettling for everyone involved.”
“To be honest, I love the January transfer window. It’s my favourite time of the year.”
Translated as: “Hello, I’m Harry Redknapp. Pleased to meet you…”