Deadline day once again produced its usual mix of excitement, hyperbole and confusion yesterday, with a standard assortment of a couple of ‘blockbuster’ moves and many, many loan deals done between Premier League teams and lower-league clubs.
As is our duty, though, we’ve dredged through the rumours, the hopes and the hogwash to bring you the ten most intriguing deals of yesterday’s shopping frenzy…
10. Christian Benteke to Aston Villa (estimated £10.6m)
And so another Belgian arrives in the Premier League. European football’s coming force is pumping out one highly-talented footballer after another. 21-year-old striker Benteke joins Villa after reportedly going on strike at his former club, Genk, to force through a deal. But he’s Villa’s only significant signing of the summer and with the team currently anchored to the bottom of the Premier League, Randy Lerner may just be throwing good money after bad with this deal.
9. Ashkan Dejagah to Fulham (undisclosed)
One of the least talked-about deals of deadline day was the arrival of winger/forward Dejagah at Craven Cottage. The technically gifted 26-year-old becomes just the second Iranian (after Andranik Teymourian, once of Bolton) to play in the Premier League and may go some way towards replacing departed Belgian Moussa Dembele. It’s been a frenetic summer for Fulham – they’ll be back on this list later – but the squad looks arguably as strong now as it ever has.
8. Stephane M’Bia to QPR (undisclosed)
Perhaps the most important part of this deal, as far as QPR fans are concerned, is that Joey Barton goes the other way on a season-long loan deal. That’s a massive relief for Mark Hughes and Tony Fernandes, who found an ever better option than sending Barton to Fleetwood by chucking him out of the country altogether.
M’Bia, meanwhile, is an experienced central midfielder whose passing and tackling are highly rated. Alongside recent arrival Esteban Granero, and the returning Alejandro Faurlin, he completes a more than adequate range of options for Hughes in the middle of the park.
7. Pablo Hernandez to Swansea (£5.5m)
Needing a replacement for want-away winger Scott Sinclair, Swansea have pulled off something of a coup in bringing in Valencia winger Hernandez as his replacement. Since returning to the club of his youth in 2008 Hernandez has made over a hundred appearances for Valencia, and learned his trade alongside the likes of David Villa and Juan Mata. If he turns out to be as good as either of those two, Swans fans will soon be struggling to remember the name of that lad they sold to City. The price is a steal for an established La Liga starter, but Valencia, as elsewhere in Spain, are financially troubled right now and had little choice but to accept.
6. Rafael van der Vaart to Hamburg (£10m)
Two years after joining Tottenham from Hamburg (for £8m), Dutchman van der Vaart was allowed to return to Germany yesterday – and despite the fact that he wasn’t in Andre Villas-Boas‘ plans and desperately wanted to go back to Germany for family reasons, Spurs still managed a £2m mark up on the price they paid Hamburg for the playmaker. Van der Vaart is, on his day, a formidable playmaker and a mercurially talented trequartista, but his day didn’t really come around often enough for Spurs over the last two years. Persistent hamstring injuries and his relative incompatibility with Harry Redknapp’s system limited his chances last year, and he fell foul of AVB’s extraordinary squad overhaul this summer.
5. Charlie Adam to Stoke (£5m)
Just £5m for a playmaker and set-piece specialist who seemed destined for greatness when he joined Liverpool 18 months ago? Well, former Rangers youth player Adam never quite lived up to the expectations placed on him by fellow Scotsman Kenny Dalglish after his arrival from Blackpool, and he’s one of many high-earning stars who clearly haven’t impressed new boss Brendan Rodgers in pre-season.
At Stoke, on the other hand, Adam has the potential to be a revelation, adding yet another set-piece threat to Tony Pulis’ arsenal (no pun intended). Oh, and the capture of Steven Nzonzi from Blackburn (£3.5m) shouldn’t go unmentioned, either. There, mentioned it.
4. Hugo Lloris to Tottenham (initial £9m)
The only reason Lloris isn’t higher on this list is the very strong selection of stoppers already on Tottenham’s books – the France captain will have to compete with Brad Friedel, Heurelho Gomes and Carlo Cudicini in the Premier League’s most talented goalkeeping crew. Chances are, though, that the former Lyon No.1 will go straight into the starting line-up. He’s considerably more reliable than Gomes and significantly younger than Cudicini or Friedel.
As new boss Villas-Boas looks to mould his Spurs side of the future, and boy has there been an upheaval at White Hart Lane this summer, Lloris looks set to become the undisputed first choice between the sticks.
3. Dimitar Berbatov to Fulham (estimated £4m)
Martin Jol has already called it the biggest deal in Fulham’s history, and he may well be spot on. At 31, there are several years of football left in Berbatov, especially considering he is retired from international football, and the Bulgarian’s two-year deal represents an extremely low-risk investment for Fulham. Jol can now pair his deadline-day signing with fellow newcomers Dejagah, Bryan Ruiz, Hugo Rodallega and Mladen Petric in a very deep, very talented front line.
2. Manchester City’s busy day
I’ve blatantly cheated here, but City’s deals would have clogged up half the article if I’d listed them all separately. In short, City signed Scott Sinclair (£6.2m), Maicon (estimated £8m) and Benfica defensive midfielder Javi Garcia (£16m), also bringing in Matija Nastasic, a young Serbian defender, from Fiorentina for £10m plus Stefan Savic.
Also going the other way was Nigel de Jong, who leaves City after four years to join AC Milan (£3.5m). Oh, and they signed free-agent goalkeeper Richard Wright. Yeah, that Richard Wright. No, I don’t know either, but good luck to him.
It’s tough to say what impact most of these signings will make at the Etihad; Garcia figures to challenge for a central midfield role alongside Gareth Barry or Yaya Toure, and Sinclair is a game-changer, but at 31, Maicon’s best days are behind him. Nastasic is one for the future.
1. Clint Dempsey to Tottenham (£6m)
While Fulham were salivating over Berbatov, they were finally wrapping up the problematic departure of talismanic American Dempsey, who was the third-leading scorer in the Premier League last season behind only Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney. Sold for a cut-price £6m, Dempsey leaves Fulham under a cloud – which is sad for a man who has contributed so much to the Cottagers’ success over the past five-and-a-half years, having scored 50 goals in 184 appearances and been a key cog in Roy Hodgson’s side which reached the Europa League Final.
He brings class and an eminent goal-scoring threat to the Spurs midfield, where he and ex-Fulham colleague Moussa Dembele, signed a couple of days ago, must attempt to replace the departed Luka Modric and van der Vaart.
P.S.: There was a loan market all of its own yesterday…
Plenty of names have come and gone over the course of the last 24 hours, and many have been on loan deals. A few highlights from yesterday’s temporary transfers include Yossi Benayoun joining West Ham, Roque Santa Cruz (he’s still on Manchester City’s books, if you were wondering) jetting off to Malaga, City defender Dedryck Boyata moving to Twente in Holland, Jay Spearing heading up the M62 to Bolton, Arsenal strikers Nicklas Bendtner and Park Chu-Young heading to Juventus and Celta Vigo, respectively, and former Chelsea stalwart Michael Essien being farmed out to .. er, Real Madrid.
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