Dec 10 2018

Arsenal finally raid piggy bank

In a busy day of last-minute bargaining in the English Premier League, Arsenal pulled off a coup on Monday’s transfer deadline day, smashing their transfer record by signing German playmaker Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid for £42.4 million ($73 million).

The move came on the day Gareth Bale was presented as a Madrid player after leaving Arsenal rivals Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of about £80 million, paving the way for Ozil’s exit. Ozil underwent a medical examination in Munich and Arsenal said he had signed a “long-term contract”, reportedly lasting five years.

“We are extremely pleased to have signed Mesut Ozil,” said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who had never previously spent more than £15 million on a player. “We have watched and admired him for some time as he has all the attributes I look for in an Arsenal player.”

Ozil told the Arsenal website: “I am thrilled to be joining a club of the stature of Arsenal and am looking forward to playing in the Premier League.”

Ozil’s transfer was the most significant development on a day when gross spending by English Premier League clubs during the close-season window surpassed £500 million for the first time, according to financial consultants Deloitte.

Reigning champions Manchester United were thought to be pursuing a move for Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini late on Monday, amid reports he had submitted a transfer request. United manager David Moyes brought Fellaini to Britain during his time at Everton. His successor at Goodison Park, Roberto Martinez, has identified Wigan Athletic midfielder James McCarthy as his preferred replacement for the Belgian, according to Latics chairman Dave Whelan.

Moyes’ attempts to sign Leighton Baines from Everton and Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera by the deadline were reported to have failed, however.

During a day that bordered on farce, with reports in Spain that a group of “imposters” claiming to be United officials arrived at Spanish league headquarters to scupper the Herrera deal, Moyes finally secured his first major signing as manager by completing a deal for Belgian midfielder Fellaini.

Unlike Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham, all of whom have spent lavishly on new players, United’s only arrival to date is little-known Uruguayan full-back Guillermo Varela.

Liverpool completed three signings earlier on Monday. Defenders Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Ilori joined from Paris Saint-Germain and Sporting Lisbon respectively, while Victor Moses arrived on a season-long loan from Chelsea.

Liverpool reportedly paid a combined £25 million to sign Ilori and France international centre-back Sakho, who had fallen down the pecking order at PSG.

“I came here because the project that is in place at Liverpool interests me. I’m really looking forward to playing my first game,” Sakho, 23, told Liverpool’s website.

Ilori, 20, was born in London but raised in Portugal and is a Portuguese youth international, while 22-year-old Moses arrives after being crowded out at Chelsea.

Aston Villa made Czech international striker Libor Kozak their seventh new recruit of the close-season, signing him from Lazio on a four-year contract for a reported fee of about £7 million.Kind of a big deal: the key transfer  window dealings

Gareth Bale Tottenham  to Real Madrid, £77m ($138m)

For all the money lavished on new players in  the past three months, the most high-profile transfer involving an English club was a sale. Welsh forward Bale, 24, swapped White Hart Lane for the Bernabeu after a dazzling season with Tottenham in which he scored 26 league goals.

Mesut Ozil Real Madrid to Arsenal  £42.4m ($73.8m)

One downside of Bale’s move to Madrid for the selling club was that it persuaded the Spanish giants to allow the German international to leave for Spurs’ arch rivals Arsenal. Manager Arsene Wenger has been criticised by Arsenal’s fans for his reluctance to spend money on new players in recent years, but he smashed the club’s transfer record.

Erik Lamela Roma to Tottenham;  £30m ($52.21m)

After being pipped to a Champions League place by Arsenal last season, Spurs spent around £110 million on seven players, with Lamela the third  recruit to break the club’s transfer record. The 21-year-old Argentine attacking midfielder is a talented dribbler and will be expected to soften the blow of Bale’s departure.

Willian (Anzhi Makhachkala to Chelsea; £30m ($52.21m)

Tottenham also hoped to add Brazilian schemer Willian to their ranks, but after completing a medical at the club, his move was hijacked by Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea.

Marouane Fellaini (Everton to Manchester United; £27.5m  ($47.86m)

New Manchester United manager David Moyes saw approaches for several transfer targets rejected before finally turning to Fellaini, with whom he worked at previous club Everton. Will bring brawn and aerial presence.


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