English champions Manchester City were the main mover among Europe’s major teams on deadline day, spending a reported ￡40 million (US$63.4 million) as the continent’s summer transfer window closed with a flurry of late sales on Friday.
UEFA’s strict financial fair-play rules, which are forcing clubs to only spend what they earn, and the tough economic climate have reined in spending compared with recent years.
Yet City, which had been quiet in the transfer market this summer by their standards, acted late to sign Brazil rightback Maicon from Inter, highly rated winger Scott Sinclair from Swansea, Serbia defender Matija Nastasic from ACF Fiorentina and a backup goalkeeper in Richard Wright.
However, arguably their biggest deal was secured minutes before the transfer window shut, when Spain midfielder Javi Garcia joined from Benfica. All the signings were for undisclosed fees, but British media valued City’s spending spree at about ￡38 million.
In return, manager Roberto Mancini sold Netherlands holding midfielder Nigel de Jong to AC Milan and moved striker Roque Santa Cruz to Spanish team Malaga on a season-long loan.
Malaga, which is in financial trouble, but boosted by qualifying for the group stages of the Champions League, also signed Javier Saviola from Benfica and centerback Oguchi Onyewu from Sporting Lisbon.
After a quiet day in England, the final few hours drew a burst of activity, with Tottenham Hotspur signing US forward Clint Dempsey from Fulham and France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris from Olympique Lyonnaise for 10 million euros (US$12.5 million), having earlier sold Rafael van der Vaart to his former German club, Hamburg SV.
There was no immediate confirmation of whether Tottenham had also landed highly rated Porto midfielder Joao Moutinho.
Dempsey followed Moussa Dembele from Fulham to Spurs, but the Cottagers made their own splashes on the last day, completing the signing of Dimitar Berbatov from Manchester United, plus Kieran Richardson from Sunderland and winger Ashkan Dejagah from WfL Wolfsburg.
Liverpool missed out on Dempsey and failed to land any of their targets on the final day of the transfer window, while selling Charlie Adam to Stoke and loaning out midfielder Jay Spearing to Bolton. As well as Adam, Stoke signed midfielder Maurice Edu from Glasgow Rangers.
Chelsea loaned Ghana midfielder Michael Essien to Real Madrid and Yossi Benayoun to West Ham on season-long deals.
Queens Park Rangers shifted combustible midfielder Joey Barton to French league leader Olympique de Marseille in a one-year loan deal that had been widely expected for several days. Midfielder Stephane Mbia moved in the opposite direction.
Real Madrid and Barcelona had long tied up their main transfer dealings for the summer, although Barca sent Dutch winger Ibrahim Afellay to Schalke 04 and Madrid swooped late for Essien.
The 29-year-old Essien was signed by Jose Mourinho when he was Chelsea manager in 2005 and Mourinho has now signed him again at Madrid.
In Italy, the window closed after Denmark forward Nicklas Bendtner was loaned from Arsenal to champion Juventus, with a view to a permanent move at the end of the season, and free agent Luca Toni rejoined ACF Fiorentina just before the deadline.
Milan, who sold top stars Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva to Paris Saint-Germain during the close season, reportedly paid City a 3.5 million euro transfer fee for De Jong in a surprise move.
With City having splashed out more than US$1 billion on new players over the past three-and-a-half years, Mancini had been left frustrated this summer by the lack of spending by the club’s Abu Dhabi owners.
That is a sign of the times, with the total transfer spend across Europe this year — excluding deals on Thursday and Friday — being 78 percent less than the average from 2008 to last year.
City bought England midfielder Jack Rodwell from Everton for a reported ￡15 million before the start of the season, but Mancini has been suggesting he was ready to dip back into the market this week.
In came Maicon, a buccaneering fullback in the mould of a player who already plays at rightback for City — Micah Richards. Sinclair had already joined by then, a like-for-like replacement for Adam Johnson, who signed for Sunderland last week.
Then the 19-year-old Nastasic was signed to bolster the squad’s defensive options before the acquisition of Garcia, for a fee believed to be in the region of ￡16 million.
City, who also brought in former Arsenal goalkeeper Richard Wright as backup, got a big earner off the wage bill by selling Santa Cruz to Malaga, having sold Emmanuel Adebayor to Tottenham last week.
Swansea, who have won both of its games in the Premier League this season under new manager Michael Laudrup, filled the void left by Sinclair by signing Valencia winger Pablo Hernandez for a club-record ￡5.5 million.
Other deals in England saw Gaston Ramirez join newly promoted Southampton from Bologna, Everton sign Costa Rican left winger Bryan Oviedo from Copenhagen, West Bromwich Albion acquire fullback Goran Popov from Dynamo Kiev and Arsenal loan out Korean forward Park Chu-young to Celta Vigo.