Arsenal Signs Arteta, Benayoun Before Trade Deadline; Spurs Let Six Depart
Arsenal signed midfielders Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun, along with defenders Andre Santos and Per Mertesacker before European soccer’s trade deadline. London rival Tottenham added one player and let six leave.
Everton said Arsenal will pay 10 million pounds ($16.2 million) for Arteta after the clubs agreed on a deal last night in the final hours of the transfer window, which ended at 11 p.m. London time. Arteta, 29, signed a four-year contract.
“Mikel indicated to me that he wished to join Arsenal if a bid came in,” Everton manager David Moyes told his team’s website. “I am very disappointed to lose him.”
Premier League clubs spent about 485 million pounds ($786 million) during the summer transfer period, a 33 percent increase over last year, accountant Deloitte LLP said in a statement. Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United combined for about 66 percent of the total, with each spending over 50 millions pounds
“This summer’s spending is largely focused amongst the top end Premier League clubs most strongly competing for domestic and European success and the consequent financial rewards,” said Dan Jones, a partner with Deloitte’s Sporting Business Group.
Arteta, who started as a trainee with Barcelona, followed Israel captain Benayoun, Brazil full-back Santos and Germany’s Mertesacker in joining Arsenal yesterday as manager Arsene Wenger rebuilds after selling Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Eboue and Gael Clichy since the end of last season.
The Gunners lost 8-2 at Manchester United four days ago, their worst league defeat since 1896, and have one point from their first three Premier League games.
Benayoun, 31, signed on loan from Chelsea for the rest of the season. Santos joined from Turkey’s Fenerbahce, where the 28-year-old scored 10 goals in 52 league games.
Mertesacker, a 6-foot-6 center-back who’s made 75 appearances for Germany, signed a “long-term contract” after moving from Werder Bremen for an undisclosed fee.
Mertesacker, 26, has “vast experience and strength and is good on the floor and in the air,” Wenger told his team’s website. “He will be well-suited to the Premier League and a tremendous asset to the team.”
Four players left Arsenal yesterday, three on season-long loans. Henri Lansbury moved to West Ham and Joel Campbell went to France’s Lorient, where fellow youngster Gilles Sunu completed a permanent transfer.
Denmark striker Nicklas Bendtner went on a season-long loan to Sunderland, which sold defender Anton Ferdinand to Queens Park Rangers for as much as 3 million pounds. QPR also signed Manchester City winger Shaun Wright-Phillips on a three-year contract. Craig Bellamy also left City after signing a contract with Liverpool, where he played in the 2006-07 season.
City signed former England midfielder Owen Hargreaves on a one-year deal. Hargreaves, 30, was released by Manchester United in June after knee injuries restricted him to four appearances in three seasons.
Following the return of Welsh striker Bellamy, Liverpool sold Raul Meireles to Chelsea after he submitted a written transfer request. The Portuguese midfielder signed a four-year contract, Chelsea said on its website without disclosing the transfer fee. Liverpool will get 12 million pounds for the player, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported.
Tottenham signed West Ham midfielder Scott Parker and let six players leave White Hart Lane. Neither club disclosed the fee for Parker, which U.K. media reported was about 6 million pounds. Spurs lost their opening two Premier League games.
The 30-year-old Parker, last season’s Football Writers’ Association player of the year, handed in a transfer request two days ago stating that he wanted to play in the top flight.
“He’s what we need,” Spurs manager Harry Redknapp told reporters. “He’s a good lad, great attitude. He’ll be great around the place for us.”
Leaving the Lane
Spurs striker Peter Crouch and midfielder Wilson Palacios moved to Stoke. Defender Alan Hutton signed a contract until 2015 with Aston Villa, who also took midfielder Jermaine Jenas on a season-long loan. David Bentley went to West Ham on loan and academy midfielder Callum Tapping completed the Spurs exodus by joining Scottish team Hearts.
“I was shocked at the quantity of players Tottenham got rid of,” former England defender Martin Keown told the BBC. “Judging by the number they shipped out and the fact that they haven’t been replaced, Spurs are obviously trying to reduce the size of their wage bill.”
Stoke, which is playing in Europe’s Europa League this season, said it paid a club-record 10 million pounds, which could rise to 12 million pounds, for 6-foot-7 (2 meter) frontman Crouch. Stoke also signed Birmingham striker Cameron Jerome.
“These fantastic deals are a statement of this football club’s intent,” Stoke Chief Executive Officer Tony Scholes said on his team’s website. “To attract players of this caliber shows our ambitions.”
In other transfers, Everton signed Netherlands midfielder Royston Drenthe and Argentine striker Denis Stracqualursi on season-long loans from Real Madrid and Tigre, respectively. The Toffees said they sold striker Jermaine Beckford to Leicester for as much as 4 million pounds. Blackburn signed Birmingham defender Scott Dann to a four-year contract.
Fulham added Juventus defender Zdenek Grygera and former Porto striker Orlando Sa on free transfers and Costa Rica attacking midfielder Bryan Ruiz on a four-year contract from Dutch club FC Twente.
“Bryan Ruiz was always our intended target,” Fulham manager Martin Jol said on his team’s website. “He is a player who continues to attract interest from other top clubs. I’m very happy, on this final day of the transfer window that he’s decided to join Fulham.”
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