As the summer transfer window closes, clubs around Europe have been scrambling to fill their squads and unload excess.
Joe Cole has completed a loan move from Liverpool to French club Lille, the move should be good for Cole, who has struggled to find playing time at Liverpool. This move could also see Cole return to Champions League football with Lille playing in Group B along with Inter Milan, CSKA Moscow, and Trabzonspor.
Arsenal had been linked with a slew of players, and at the deadline was able so sign four of them. After failing in their bids for Eden Hazard and Yann M’Vila, Arsenal swooped in on Brazilian left back Andre Santos from Fenerbahce. As the time grew closer to deadline’s close, the club finalized a deal that had been rumored for 48 hours and signed Per Mertesacker from Werder Bremen. The club was not done yet though and was able to acquire disgruntled Chelsea midfielder Yossi Benayoun on a season long loan deal. Finally right at the deadline, after rumors had spread for the previous hour, Arsenal announced that they had signed Everton’s Mikel Arteta for a fee of £10 million. Arteta will certainly bolster the midfield that was simply overrun by Manchester United this past weekend, it makes you wonder if Arsenal would have made these deals if not for the drubbing they received at the hands of the Red Devils. Arsenal was also able to end its interminable transfer saga with forward Nicklas Bendtner, as the unhappy Danish forward made a season long loan move to Sunderland.
Chelsea reportedly made a £30 million bid for Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery, but the offer was turned down and Ribery’s transfer was categorically ruled out by Bayern. After this bid was turned down along with a reported £40 million offer for Tottenham’s Luka Modric, the club loaned out several players; Patrick van Aanholt to Wigan, Ulises Davila to Vitesse Arnhem, and Gael Kakuta to Bolton along with the previously mentioned Benayoun. However, it was reported to Sky Sports News only an hour before the deadline that Liverpool’s Raul Meireles had turned in a transfer request at Anfield. Talks were reportedly already taking place and Chelsea completed the £12 million switch before the deadline had passed. Meireles will be reunited at Stamford Bridge with his former Porto manager Andre Villas-Boas.
Liverpool remained active until the end of the window buying Villyan Bijev and loaning him to Fortuna Dusseldorf to follow up their loan of Joe Cole to Lille. They also signed Craig Bellamy on a free transfer from Manchester City. Midfielder Christian Poulsen has been sold to French club, Evian and David N’Gog was sold to Bolton for £4 million.
Aston Villa was on the receiving end of two players from Tottenham, receiving Jermaine Jenas on loan and Alan Hutton on a £3 million transfer.
Tottenham boosted their squad by adding West Ham’s Scott Parker, who will be sure to give them the added presence in midfield that they were lacking against Manchester City. However serious questions must be asked as it looked in the early season as though serious improvements were necessary at Spurs in order to challenge for a Champions League spot.
Blackburn turned out to be the winners in the Scott Dann sweepstakes, acquiring the defender from Birmingham for £6 million along with Everton’s veteran striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni on a loan.
Everton made two acquisitions despite their financial peril, swooping in on Real Madrid’s discontented Royston Drenthe on a loan deal along with psychotic looking Denis Straqualursi on loan from Tigre. Everton’s sale of Arteta as well as their inactivity during the entire window should be alarming to their fans.
Fulham made a spash in the transfer market, spending £10.3 on striker Bryan Ruiz from FC Twente. The Cottagers also scooped up Zdenek Grygera from Juventus and striker Orlando Sa.
Manchester City made yet another signing in this transfer window, acquiring Owen “Made of Glass” Hargreaves. Check out his new billboard courtesy of @BeardedGenius
Newcastle, Norwich, West Brom, Wolves, and Manchester United all remained inactive as buyers in the deadline day dealings. Newcastle’s inactivity remained a shock to many fans as their bid for Birmingham’s Liam Ridgewell was accepted, however it appears the transfer window closed before terms between the player and club could be agreed on.
Queens Park Rangers finally completed the signing of Shaun Wright-Philips from Manchester City. He will join fellow new arrival Anton Ferdinand who arrived for a fee of £3 million from Sunderland.
Stoke City were big buyers on deadline day making three big transfers. The Potters acquired Wilson Palacios and Peter Crouch from Tottenham who arrived for fees of £8 million and £12 million respectively. They also managed to sign striker Cameron Jerome from Birmingham for an undisclosed fee. These additions should add to the Potters attack, which has been lackluster in the leagues opening games.
Swansea’s only action on deadline day was acquiring Rafik Halliche on loan from Fulham.
Wigan only had two bits of business at the close of the window, finalizing a loan deal with Chelsea’s Patrick van Aanholt and a £1 million transfer of Shaun Maloney from Celtic.
Inter Milan considerably boosted their strike force during this transfer window, adding Diego Forlan from Athletico Madrid and scooping up Mauro Zarate on a loan from Lazio. These two should serve as suitable replacements for the recently exited Samuel Eto’o.
Juventus made a €9 million deal with Hamburg for pacey Dutch winger Eljero Elia.
Ronaldinho’s career may have stagnated with AC Milan, but since joining Brazilian club Flamengo Ronaldinho has been up to his old tricks. So far this season he has scored multiple goals from free kicks, including some underneath the wall, as well as this piece of beauty off a corner kick:
Euro 2012 Qualifiers
With most major European leagues off this weekend, qualifiers for Euro 2012 will continue. There are several matches of importance on Friday’s fixture list, as the battle for qualifying places intensifies during the last few matches in the group stage.
Austria need a result against Germany to keep up with Turkey and Belgium in the fight for Group A’s second spot. Group B has co-group leaders Ireland face off against Slovakia, while fellow co-leader Russia takes on European minnows Macedonia. Group C has Northern Ireland taking on Serbia, with the winner of that match poised to take the second spot off of Slovenia.
In Group D second place Belarus are facing off against third place Bosnia-Herzegovina. In Group E the Netherlands take on tiny San Marino while second place Sweden has a tough matchup against third place Hungary. Group F has table toppers Greece taking on third place Israel. Group G will see the leaders England take on fourth placed Bulgaria, while Wales will fight for their first points against second place Montenegro. In Group H Portugal take on Cyprus while Norway face off against Iceland in matches that will break the three way tie between Portugal, Norway, and Denmark. Group I’s only match will see two small sides Lithuania and Lichtenstein in that groups only game until Tuesday.
More qualifiers will take place on Tuesday.
The United States has two international friendlies in the following week. Friday night they will take on fellow CONCACAF members Costa Rica at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles. The match will kick off at 11PM, but will not feature American superstar Clint Dempsey who has been ruled out for the game in order to receive treatment for back spasms. He will rejoin the club on Tuesday when the USA will face a bigger test against Belgium. These friendly matches will see Jozy Altidore back in action for America after a hamstring injury ended his Gold Cup campaign early. Altidore has been on a good run of goalscoring with AZ Alkmaar, and it will mark his first appearance under new manager Jurgen Klinsmann.
That’s all for now, Denis Straqualursi gets the background because he just looks too damn creepy.