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Winter transfer 2009- the tide shifts?



THIS year Football leagues from Spain to England have been anything but predictable. Liverpool's fall from grace, a Chelsea side in shambles, Barcelona on the Rampage and Hoffeimien's sudden rise has all captured the imagination of fans all around the world. With so much going on, the winter transfer window was ripe with rumors of big deals with Kaka's $260 million move to Manchester City topping the charts. Well, even though that didn't go through, the window still showed some shrewd movements. Let's highlight the top 10 Winter Transfers 2009.

10. Nikola Zigic- Another striker returned to his old home, as Nikola went back to Racing from Valencia after a disappointing season at the former. One goal in 15 appearances didn't do justice to his reputation as one of Serbia's top scorers during his Red Star days. Now by securing a loan move back to Racing, the 6 feet 8 inches giant has already five times in seven appearances and the dividends are surely being paid.

9. Carlo Cudicini- At 35, many may have already discarded any thoughts regarding him. But a goal-keeping crisis saw Tottenham luring the stopper away from Chelsea after almost a decade of brilliant service and in recognition of that Chelsea allowed him to leave on a free transfer. Hungry for more action, Cudicini now stands between the posts for Hotspurs, and being a previous Golden Glove winner and having 101 clean sheets coupled with the recognition of being one of the best penalty stoppers, Cudicini is a really smart move. Let's see whether the magic still remains.

8. Klaas Jan Huntelaar- This 25-year old Netherlands international may have been hyped as being potentially the best signing of the season but Juandes Ramos has yet to let him make the promised impact. Thus he drops down in our list. Worth 20 million euros and still rising, the former Ajax hitman scored 76 times in 96 appearances but has only scored once in the famous white shirt. Already to be left out of the Champion's league, Huntelaar must now work harder to live up to the hype.

7. Nigel De Jong- This defensive midfielder needs just the stumbling block for counter-strikes against Manchester City. With almost uncountable wealth at Richard Hughes disposal, this is his first move in a list of many such moves to follow. The former star of Hamburg has fitted in with ease at City and already become a force to be reckoned with.

6. Sylvain Wiltord- Wiltord never found the success he craved in Rennes and the team didn't seem to progress much for him. Days of playing for Arsenal and Lyon had made this champion realize that he needed another challenge and Marseille provided just that when they came knocking. Wiltord switched sides for an undisclosed amount and has so far found much praises for his rejuvenated performances.

5. Robbie Keane- Already running out options and Bent's inconsistency becoming unbearable day by day, plus Tottenham's current position in the league, Robbie Keane was just what they needed. The inspirational captain returns for a second stint at White Heart Lane and already seems indispensable. Bringing a determination with him that has become stronger after rejections at Liverpool, Keane may provide just the boost Tottenham needs, specially as he re-unites with Defoe. Tottenham buy back the striker they just sold and still make a good profit.

4. Shay Given- Shay Given has always had a lot to prove and with Newcastle just not being able to provide a great future, City came calling and Given answered. Although the answer was pried after dishing out some 8 million pounds many feel it to be worth it. Given has always been a big game performer and a great goal-keeper and one of the reasons why Newcastle is still highly-regarded. Manchester City has indeed made a great buy once more.

3. Ricardo Quaresma- After Joe Cole's injury and Robinho's snub, Chelsea lacked imagination more than ever. Than Inter gave Quaresma on loan and on his debut, he showed sparks of what he is capable of. Chelsea fans are drooling at the prospect of a potential superstar. At 25, Quaresma is already well traveled. Having shone at Porto and Sporting and flopped at Barca and Inter, this attacking winger has a lot to prove. Speed, technical ability and killer crosses, make him a truly exciting prospect.

2. David Beckham- A.C. Milan were under no illusions when they opted to gain Beckham for a loan. 2 Goals and 2 Assists later, now they want to keep the man, affectionately known as 'Golden Balls'. Manchester United, Real Madrid and L.A. Galaxy later, Beckham is now looking for a fresh challenge and Milan could surely use his services. Is this match made in heaven supposed to last? The saga continues and Beckham almost tops the crop even at the age of 33.

1. Andrei Arshavin- This versatile midfielder was Euro 2008's revelation. Chased by the top clubs in the world, Arshavin had a lot of options. However the former Zenit star was being held tight by his beloved club. 15 million pounds by Barcelona and 16 million pounds by Hotspurs were turned down, as the asking price remained 22 million pounds. But finally the saga ended, when Arsenal tied down this star for an undisclosed fee. With Arsenal falling down the EPL's top clubs pecking order, can Arshavin be the Messiah they need? Arsene surely thinks so. But only time will tell.

This wraps up our countdown of the top 10 transfers of this winter. There are notable exceptions but the list has been purely made considering a player's possible impact and need at the clubs in question. Otherwise Heskey, Diarra and Wilson Palacios would surely have been considered with the Honduran almost sealing a 4th place spot. This second half proves to be perhaps even more exciting than the first half. Let's see what more surprises, twists and turns are left to be witnessed!

By Osama Rahman


Into the Sun

I wake up, and outside the city is shrouded in pre-dawn mist. It is a sight I have missed out in many, many months, so I take a moment to stand by the window with the curtains parted and take in the early morning air before grabbing my box of tissues and shuffling off to the sitting room, where the dalas of pitha lie waiting to be broken into.

I open the door to the room I am sharing with my two aunts, and find that my brother has beaten me to the pitha. He is already camping out on one of the sofas, pillow and blanket and all, wide awake.

We look at each other, my brother and I, and we can only smile and shrug our shoulders. The last two weeks have been nothing short of madness. Guests and phone calls and wedding invitations, the two closets in my mother room groaning under the weight of her purchases. Receipts and due dates and bills accumulate on every spare surface. The spare bedroom of my brother's apartment, already small to begin with, soon becomes hard to navigate with all the bags and boxes that mount up.

And now we are here. Seven years, an engagement and a ten-hour long train journey to Chittagong later, we are finally here. The wedding is tonight. In a few hours, the various members of our extended family who have decided to take the trip to Chittagong with us will be waking up, the spacious sitting room of the golf club's guest house filling up with their banter. For now, though, it is only my brother and me.

I crawl under my brother's blanket, and as is custom he protests. 'Get your own blanket,' he says, and even though he is soon to be a married man for that moment we could have been the sibling duo of our childhood days, back when he still played with action figures and I doodled over his comics. I dig into the dala and come out with a handful of pitha. We have our trademark stop-touching-my-food argument, something that back in the day would end in a fight. Not this morning, though. This morning all that sinks in is the incredulity. That in a few short hours my parents will have a new daughter, I a new sister, and my brother a wife.

It is the first time since I came back to Dhaka that my brother and I are truly alone. The excitement almost rests the air. So, to while away the brief hour between now and the sun coming up we talk of how our days have gone by, our lives split between Dallas and Dhaka by the immigration.

And even though I have been gone for almost a year, in that moment it feels like I had never boarded that plane bound to Texas. His work and my school and our family are all under the same sun. And as the sky lightens outside the years melt away and it is almost as though he is not twenty-five and about to be married, and I am not seventeen with an American driver's permit and a junior in high school to boot. For that one pre-dawn hour we get some of our days back. But then the sun comes up, and the doors to the bedrooms start to open, and the moment is gone.

By Shehtaz Huq


Expressez-Vous

IT isn't everyday that you would find ordinary teenagers asking for 'change'. They may want it but how many actually have the vision to strive for it? Nowadays we see youngsters too tied up with their own lives and activities. They forget that as citizens of the world, they have certain responsibilities towards it. As the revolutionary transformation of leadership in the United States was about to take place, a Nepali boy was inspired and wondered on how to bring about change in his country and other developing ones. What best option would he get other than writing to express himself? Thus Abhinav Khanal along with Hansha Sanjyal who had similar ideas together established the blog Expressez-Vous (EV).

Okay so they created a blog, no big deal right? Yet the unique aspect of this blog was that it provided a platform not only for the Nepalese but for youngsters worldwide to convey their messages on issues that were significant to them. With the help of advertisements through various media from which Facebook proved to be the most useful, a total of seventeen innovative youths got involved in the upbringing of EV. These people are your average girls and boys-next-door who 'think' about their surroundings and are aware of global issues that are worth addressing. The countries that they represent are surely an eclectic variety including Nepal, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, India, England, Saudi Arabia and China.

As they say that diversity adds richness to anything, in a similar manner the fact that writers from so many nations contribute to the blog has become its forte. Topics such as politics, world affairs, climate change, entertainment and even those regarding daily life activities have already been posted. Each writer blends in their cultures and news from their countries into their writings. And the fun fact is anyone can comment on these posts sharing their own views and ideas. Probably this is why the site currently has 3,081 hits and is still counting. That too only in a matter of two months! The list of countries from which people are visiting is pretty large as well I must say!

EV aims to broaden its missions and make itself an international youth organization. The plan is to start this from the 1st of July with Bangladesh, Nepal and Afghanistan as the founding nations. When asked the motive behind this idea, Abhinav replied “I know talking and writing an essay on Global Warming and Poverty is easy, but working to change them is difficult. And we, the Expressez-Vous team, want to do the hard work.” So the main intention of the organization would be to put its words into action. The EV team very well understands that it's not any big-shot NGO so they want to start from the grass-root level and carry out small changes one step at a time so that the later impact is big. Volunteers who want to write or support the team are most welcome.

By Faria Sanjana
The site can be viewed at
http://expressezvous.wordpress.com/


 

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