Armchair Pundit

Deadline Day: What will happen

Alex Chick

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It's transfer deadline day tomorrow, and if it all feels a little wearingly familiar, there's a good reason for that.

The final day of every January and August should be made an official bank holiday for lovers of half-baked half-truths, baseless conjecture and outright lies.

A few deals will no doubt get done, and some of them might even be important.

But you can expect that same old feeling of anticlimax: like hanging around at a rubbish gig next to an excitable reveller who insists the Beatles are about to come on. Then finally, after hours of waiting, Kula Shaker take the stage and you realise you've been duped again.

In fact, you can expect the following:

06:00 - A bevvy reporters are up at the crack of dawn at Newcastle international airport to greet Davide Santon off the early-bird flight from Milan. The throng descends on a man in his early 20s, bombarding him with questions about his imminent move to the North-East. Only when the player pulls out a battered acoustic guitar does it become apparent that this is not Santon, but an aspiring busker looking to make his fortune crooning the hits of Zucchero around Bigg Market.

08:00 - Arsenal continue to be linked with Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka, Alex, Florent Malouda, Yann M'Vila and Eden Hazard. Owner Stan Kroenke issues a statement begging Arsene Wenger to "spend some freaking money already," adding: "We might have to get this guy drunk." Wenger remains steadfast: "We are working hard but we must find value."

09:00 - Harry Redknapp arrives at Spurs Lodge to take training. He insists that Tottenham's summer spending is done, and assures reporters Luka Modric is "one million per cent" staying at White Hart Lane.

10:00 - Everton's precarious financial situation puts paid to an audacious attempt by David Moyes to spend some money at last. When club creditors Barclays learn of Moyes's bid to upgrade the training ground biscuits from Rich Tea to Chocolate HobNobs, they pull the plug on the deal, saying the move can only be sanctioned if Everton first sell Leighton Baines.

10:15 - Aston Villa sign Leighton Baines for £15m.

11:30 - Barclays rule that, since part of the Baines fee takes the form of performance-related extras, they can only stretch to Custard Creams.

12:30 - With training over, Redknapp tells TV cameras his day's work is finished. "I'm off home!" he chirps before walking off in the opposite direction to his car while pulling four mobile phones out of his pocket.

14:00 - Sky Sports News's guff loudhailer Jim White announces that a massive new signing is on his way to Newcastle for a medical. "HOLD ON TO YOUR HATS!!!" he yells. Sixteen thousand teenage boys immediately head down to St James' Park, where they amuse themselves by standing behind reporters while on the phone to their mates, repeatedly asking: "Am I on the telly? Am I on the telly? Am I?"

15:30 - After three defeats in as many games, Steve Kean pulls a textbook panic buy move: sign a player who has scored a few goals somewhere - anywhere - else. It is a tactic that brought Afonso Alves and Mario Jardel to this shores, and one that saw ex-Blackburn boss Graeme Souness once order his scouts to: "Get me the best striker in Serie B." He ended up with Corrado Grabbi. A similar order from Steve Kean leads Rovers to the splendidly-named Elvis Abbruscato, who rattled in 19 goals for Vicenza last term. The 30-year-old proves a big hit, but only with headline writers when he inevitably leaves the club on loan in January.

16:30 - Fulham sign Mido. Martin Jol confesses he has no idea how: "I thought I was signing for delivery of a nest of tables. Then all of a sudden this shaggy haired-bloke bursts out of the packaging. I complained to the Premier League, but they said it's standard procedure for journeyman strikers."

18:00 - Back at Newcastle, a large blacked-out Mercedes pulls into St James' as the crowd swarms around expectantly. "IT'S THE MOMENT NEWCASTLE FANS HAVE BEEN WAITING ALL SUMMER FOR!!!" bellows White. A car door opens and out steps... Shefki Kuqi, there to sign his second short-term contract with the club.

19:00 - Redknapp emerges from his bunker with a cup of tea and a bawdy anecdote for the men from the press. He admits there were "a couple of possibilities" in the transfer market earlier but they have come to nothing.

20:00 - Desperate to leave Manchester City, Carlos Tevez does an impromptu guest presenter stint on Bid TV, attempting to hawk his services to a new owner. Sadly for Tevez, the highest bidder - 'Rednev' of Bury - turns out to be a hoaxer.

21:00 - Barcelona sign Giuseppe Rossi from Villarreal. Announcing the deal, Pep Guardiola smirks: "To be honest, the only reason we've done this is because we can. Look how many world-class players we've got. Rossi's got more chance of winning Miss New Jersey than he has of getting a game here. His primary role will be to aim provocative hand gestures at Jose Mourinho during Clasico matches."

22:00 - Arsenal confirm the big-name reinforcement fans have been crying out for... Jens Lehmann, brought out of retirement again, this time as a defender after proving more agile than Carl Jenkinson in a training session. "Jens is a big personality," says Arsene Wenger. "He could be the answer to our problems." The 41-year-old pledges to "kill with my bare hands" any team-mates guilty of basic errors. Wenger reminds him Arsenal's injury crisis is severe enough without half a dozen homicides every Saturday.

22:45 - With rumours flying that Spurs are about to pull off a deadline-busting coup, Redknapp denies all knowledge. "Daniel Levy deals with the transfers, and as far as I'm aware he's in bed with a cup of Horlicks and a Maeve Binchy novel."

23:00 - BONG! The transfer window is over. To mark the occasion, Sky Sports News slam shut a giant 200ft window specially-constructed in the car park of their West London studio,  The reverberations break QPR's fax machine, which was in the process of telling the FA they had signed Joe Cole. The move falls through.

23:30 - Tottenham announce the signings of Scott Parker, Yossi Benayoun, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Adam Johnson, Kaka, Carlos Tevez and Ferenc Puskas.

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