— Chapter One —
Meet Dave Thumper
— Chapter Two —
The Clubs Know About Thumper
— Chapter Three —
— Chapter Four —
Negotiating for Thumper
— Chapter Five —
— Chapter Six —
Meet Dave Thumper
No club wants to lose its best players in January without time to replace them, so you often pay a premium. But if you're clever, opportunities may present themselves. Leagues that run through their season within the calendar year might have players available for a move: Clint Dempsey swapped Major League Soccer for Fulham in 2007 while Nemanja Vidic left Russia (a March-November season at the time) to join Manchester United in 2006.
You can also find under-appreciated talent as clubs try to shed wages or players who aren't getting on the pitch: witness Daniel Sturridge's move from Chelsea to Liverpool in 2013.
The biggest January transfer was Fernando Torres (Liverpool to Chelsea, 50 million pounds) but the biggest ever happened during the 2013 summer window, when Real Madrid paid 85.3 million pounds for Gareth Bale and eclipsed the previous record, also set by Real Madrid, of 80 million pounds for Cristiano Ronaldo. In fact, Real Madrid has set the record five times when you throw in Kaka in 2009, Zinedine Zidane in 2001 and Luis Figo in 2000.
Dave Thumper wheeled away from goal and ran to the travelling supporters, kissing the badge and celebrating wildly in the corner of the stadium, tightly wrapped up against the freezing night air.
"Yes, Thumper! YEEEEEES!" roared supporter Kevin, as he leapt in the air. "What a hit!"
"Aye, enjoy it while it lasts, young man," said Derek. "He's not long for us."
"Not this again, dad!" laughed Kevin. "Dave Thumper is Crumpleton through and through. He'll never leave!"
Derek smiled ruefully. "Aye, they always say that. They say it right before they sign for someone else."
"Not Thumper," grinned Kevin. "Besides, who's going to take a chance on a second flight English striker? He'll be here for years yet."