Willian José's been in good form but his price-tag is a surprise.
The bargain basement

The bargain basement

This time of year always sees increasingly desperate clubs take a gamble or two

Rob Palmer

Friday, 24 January 2020, 15:42


It's that time again when football has a garage sale and the forgotten items are given a dusting, a modicum of marketing and then auctioned off to buyers who are desperate for a bargain.

There's the curious case of Willian José's link to Tottenham, Javier Hernández receiving a Hollywood A-lister reception in Los Angeles and Dani Ceballos looking for yet another new club to showcase his talents.

When £59 million was quoted for Willian José in the English newspapers, I thought there had been a typo and they'd missed out the decimal point? The Brazilian is a decent striker but if his agents can persuade Spurs to shell out that kind of money, they are geniuses.

Mind you, he is the player who signed for Deportivo Maldonado in 2011 yet never played a single game for the tiny Uruguayan club. They loaned him out seven times, presumably for a fee, before Real Sociedad finally bought him for around six million euros in 2016.

Ironically, he's followed the path of Jonathan Calleri from Maldonado to five different club, including West Ham. Hammers fans would be forgiven for not remembering him as he played only 725 minutes for the £4.25-million loan fee.

Talking of West Ham, former striker Javier Hernández was made to feel like David Beckham when he arrived in Los Angeles to sign for LA Galaxy. He's perfect for MLS football, there's a massive Mexican heritage and South American presence in the city. He even has a nickname, Chicharito, which the American marketing men will absolutely love.

He's one of those players who gets better as the transfer market edges towards a close. His moves to Real Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen and Sevilla all occurred as the windows were close to closure. His stay in Andalucía was marked by just four Liga starts and a single goal against Getafe. With a resigned air, he agreed to be a 'designated player' who can break the salary cap - a Galaxy Galáctico!

Dani Ceballos will be looking enviously at Chicharito finding a new home. The talented 23-year-old left the Spanish capital for London to seek fame, and probably a small fortune too. His motivation for leaving Real Madrid for Arsenal was to get game time. Initially it was swell, but he's now a forgotten man who hasn't kicked a match ball since 2 November. He's desperate for a club after going the full 90 minutes only twice in an undistinguished Premier League career.

His experience is similar to another youngster who left La Liga for the Premier League. Giovani Lo Celso has made little impression on Spurs supporters after a bright year at Real Betis. He's only started four Premier League games and made ten substitute appearances. Now Spurs must decide whether to pay a discounted £27 million now or wait until the summer to sign him with a price hike to a reported £34 million.

It's called a market for a reason, January is the time when there's a clearance of the clubs' bric-à-brac. "Roll up, roll up... get your bargain here!"

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