Monday, September 1, 2008

Manchester City and Spurs Dominate Transfer Deadline Day, Robinho to City, Berbatov to Utd

As the transfer deadline came to a close, the biggest transfer of the day took place at The City of Manchester Stadium. In an age where the media have sources in every corner, Manchester City pulled off perhaps the biggest move of the day.

It wasn't for a player of course, it was for the club!

Thaksin Shinawatra, ex-President of Thailand, relinquished control of the club to Saudi Arabian group, Abu Dhabi United Group. And with the new chairman Dr Sulaiman Al-Fahim soon declaring that he will turn City into a top four side within three seasons, the City fans were reported to be dancing in the streets of Manchester.

To further the Man City's fans enjoyment, the club put in bids for Dimitar Berbatov, Mario Gomez, David Villa, and reportedly Robinho—for £32 million...

Eventually, at 11.35pm (25 minutes before the deadline), City confirmed the amazing signing of the Brazilian, on wages of £92,000-a-week.

To add further credence that Berbatov was in Manchester, media outlets were following his car as he left Old Trafford after under going a medical, to the City Stadium where he was expected to meet with the club's new executives.

Daniel Levy (chairman at Tottenham) quickly released a statement confirming the eleventh hour bid of £30m from City, but refuted claims he had given Berbatov permission to speak with Utd.

Earlier speculation had Spurs accepting a bid of £25m plus Fraizer Campbell for Berbatov. Meanwhile Spurs confirmed the signings of Vedran Corluka from Man City, and Roman Pavulychenko from Spartak Moscow.

Speculation also linked Spurs with bids for Lassana Diarra (Portsmouth) and Joey Barton (Newcastle). The Real Zaragoza president was also seen in a meeting with Damian Comolli, further feeding speculation—Zaragoza's Diego Milito and Sergio Garcia both being long-term targets linked with a move to White Hart Lane.

Finally, as the transfer deadline passed, Manchester United confirmed the capture of Berbatov for £31m. Spurs also dropped their complaint to the FA over an illegal approach by United for the Bulgarian.

Frazier Campbell went in the opposite direction on loan for the rest of the season, with Spurs having the future fee set at £7.5m should the season prove successful.

Transfers in Liverpool were quiet, with Liverpool making two signings in the form of Albert Riera of Espanyol, and 18-year-old Brazilian Flora becoming the newest addition to the growing ranks of South American players at Anfield.

Benitez, delighted at the signings said of Riera, "he has all the qualities we were looking for, he has a left foot and plays on the left."

You would have thought they might have found someone with those qualities for a bit less than £18m, however.

Stephen Finnan passed Albert Riera on the way to Espanyol from Liverpool for £2m, and the much maligned Andrei Voronin went back to Germany on loan, in the shape of a move to sleeping giants Hertha Berlin.

Meanwhile at Goodison Park the dirth of transfer activity finally came to an end, as Everton confirming the signing of Louis Saha from Man Utd, but unfortunately the work permit to sign Nigerian Victor Obinna on loan was turned down.

They also had a bid of £3.5m turned down for Stephen Hunt (Reading). Hunt's team mate Kevin Doyle had also been linked with a move away from the Madjeski, with Aston Villa, Everton, and Sunderland his main suitors.

Elsewhere in the Premiership, Algerian international Nadir Bellhadj became Harry Redknapp's latest signing at Portsmouth.

Newcastle signed Ignacio Gonzalez on loan from Valencia after the Uruguayan had only signed a four-year deal at the Mestalla earlier in the day.

It may seem strange that he would sign for a team to be immediately sent on loan to another team on the same day, but this is a practice that Spanish sides have used for many years. In Spain, you can only have three non-EU players in your squad at any one time.

Valencia have signed Gonzalez in the knowledge that one of these slots will become available next season. Newcastle also raided Spain for Xisco from Deportivo, the Spanish U-21 signing for five years at a fee of £8m.

Other transfers saw Rangers Daniel Cousin join Hull, while Jermaine Pennant opted to stay at Liverpool after he rejected Stoke. Stoke did get two players in the form of Tom Soares (Crystal Palace) and Michael Tonge (Sheffield United).