Big clubs have missed a trick in the transfer market

By Barry Horne on Aug 29, 09 10:32 AM in Columnists

THE deadline for the transfer window approaches, and it looks like being a familiar scenario for David Moyes with a frantic scramble towards Tuesday's 5pm cut-off.

But there has already been some good business conducted elsewhere in the last few days.

I have commented already on the bargain Steve Bruce got in Lee Cattermole and I think that Tony Pulis has done an equally good piece of business in signing Robert Huth and Tuncay Sanli for a reported £10million.

I watched Middlesbrough many times last year and even at their grimmest Tuncay stood out like a beacon.

Robert Huth is undoubtedly a quality defender, too.

The combined fee for all three means that for £16m somebody could have bought a very strong spine for am decent Premier League team.

I was at Turf Moor last weekend when it wasn't just Everton's spine which was lacking.

But on what was obviously a bad for Evertonians, I had to admire the way Owen Coyle and Burnley went about their business.

Much has been said about the "spirit", the "pluckiness" and the "team spirit" of the Premier League new boys.

Very few articles that I have read or heard, however, commented on the bold tactics employed by Coyle and the fact that Burnley actually played good football - especially in the first half.

Burnley matched Everton's five in midfield and I was very impressed with the way their two full-backs followed Steven Pienaar and Leon Osman into very deep areas of the pitch.

It was a risky strategy, obviously leaving space, but Burnley's teamwork, organisation and tactics meant that they were getting men free in wide positions and it was from such overloads in those areas that Burnley should have made the game safe by half-time.

Having said that, the much maligned Tony Hibbert did well going forward putting in three excellent crosses over in the first half.

He also 'won' the penalty which meant Everton could quite easily have come away with an undeserved point.

There must be a huge improvement tomorrow.

I have also seen Wigan this season and while they try to play football, they are lightweight and lacking pace all over the pitch.

If Everton can improve - and they need to - they should have too much for Wigan.

European draws good for Britain

IT has been a good week for British clubs in Europe - in so much as the draw has been kind to our four Champions League representatives and ourselves in the Europa League.

Benfica are a pale shadow of the European force they once were, and while AEK Athens will pose a difficult tie away from home Everton should progress quite smoothly through the largely uninspiring and unecessary group stages.

I have no doubt that Everton fans will travel in their thousands to Portugal and Greece and will have a great time.

Possibly not quite as many will make the trip to Belorussia, but I am sure they will have an equally good time.

The Europa League only really begins in earnest when the group stages are done and the tournament reaches the last 32 stage.

But getting there can still very entertaining for the fans and good experience for the players in the latter stages of the competition

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