Final-Day Transfers And Mega Sale In Europe

Arsenal was the most active of major clubs on transfer deadline day, strengthening its squad with four signings as manager Arsene Wenger acted late to try to end his team's struggles in the Premier League. Motivated by his team's humiliating 8-2 defeat to Manchester United on Sunday, Wenger signed Mikel Arteta from Everton and Yossi Benayoun from Chelsea in the final hour of the window to add some creativity to his midfield after the departures of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.

Arsenal had earlier reinforced its ailing defense Wednesday by bringing in Brazil left back Andre Santos from Fenerbahce and Germany center back Per Mertesacker from Werder Bremen. But while Arsenal and a number of other English clubs made a series of last-ditch moves in the transfer market, bringing the summer spending in the Premier League to more than $650 million, there were few blockbuster deals.

The likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester United stayed pat having already settled on their squads for this season, while Italian giant Inter Milan was content to hang on to Netherlands playmaker Wesley Sneijder.

As usual, it was in England where most of the late deals were made.

Chelsea signed Raul Meireles to a four-year deal from Liverpool, minutes after the Reds announced the Portugal midfielder had handed in a transfer request, and Manchester City wrapped up its active summer in the market by bringing in Owen Hargreaves on a one-year deal. The former England midfielder was available on a free transfer, having been released by crosstown rival Manchester United after three injury-plagued years.

The real action came at Arsenal, which had plenty of cash to spend after selling Fabregas to Barcelona and Nasri to City for a combined reported fee of more than $80 million. While the signings Mertesacker and Santos may help shore up the team's creaking defense, the acquisition of Spanish playmaker Arteta and Benayoun, the Israel captain, will be particularly well received by fans.

North London rival Tottenham is also struggling but manager Harry Redknapp only succeeded in bringing in Scott Parker from relegated West Ham for $8.2 million. In the opposite direction went David Bentley on a season-long loan, while Aston Villa signed midfielder Jermaine Jenas (loan) and defender Alan Hutton (permanent) from Spurs.

Manchester City, keen to offload some of the club's high-earners, managed to shift winger Shaun Wright-Phillips to Queens Park Rangers on a three-year deal and Wales forward Craig Bellamy to Liverpool on a two-year loan deal. Liverpool lost a winger too, sending Joe Cole to Lille in the most high-profile deal in France. The England winger said he hopes a move to the French champions would give him a fresh start after a poor first season at Anfield following a move from Chelsea. Fulham also signed Orlando Sa on a three-year deal following his release by Porto and Costa Rica winger Bryan Ruiz from FC Twente on a four-year deal.

Lyon sold Bosnia's Miralem Pjanic to Roma for $15.8 million but brought in Gueida Fofana from Le Havre on a four-year deal. Inter signed Argentine forward Mauro Zarate on loan from Lazio earlier in the day for $3.9 million and agreed to pay about another $24 million for a permanent transfer. Juventus announced it acquired Netherlands winger Eljero Elia from Hamburger SV on a four-year contract for $13 million. Roma also signed Denmark defender Simon Kjaer from Wolfsburg, forward Fabio Borini from Parma and Argentina midfielder Fernando Gago from Real Madrid.

In Germany, Wolfsburg signed Alexander Hleb from Barcelona and shipped out unwanted midfielder Diego to Atletico Madrid. Both are loan deals, with Hleb secured until Dec. 31, while Diego will stay in the Spanish capital until at least the end of the season.

Note: All transfers are in US dollars

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