London, (Pal Telegraph) – Transfer deadline day in Europe saw the usual frantic last-minute deals with English Premier League Arsenal swooping for a clutch of big name stars to strengthen their squad after a poor start to the season.
Despite the market opening at the end of May, clubs often wait until the final moment to conclude transfer deals, hoping to buy or sell at the best possible price.
England, as expected, with Arsene Wenger’s team leading the way, saw the most money exchange hands, but there was also plenty of activity in the other major leagues in Italy, Spain, Germany and France.
Arsenal, thrashed 8-2 by Manchester United at the weekend, strengthened their defense with the signings of left-back Andre Santos from Turkish side Fenerbahce and German international center-half Per Mertesacker from Werder Bremen.
The 28-year-old Santos, who has won 22 caps for Brazil, has cost the London side $10m, whilst Bremen captain Mertesacker, 26, has a wealth of international experience, having played 75 times for his country.
“With this transfer to London a dream has come true, taking another step in my career. I have always considered the English Premier League an intriguing challenge,” Mertesacker told the official Bremen website.
Arsenal also strengthened their midfield with the signing of Yossi Benayoun on loan from Chelsea and on the stroke of the deadline at 2300 local time, announced they had landed Everton star Mikel Arteta on a four-year deal.
Santos leaves a Fenerbahce side that have recently been found guilty of match-fixing, resulting in them losing their place in the Champions League.
Santos’ departure came quickly on the heels of the Istanbul-based side selling Uruguay captain Diego Lugano to big-spending Paris St Germain in a three-year contract.
Lugano told PSG’s official website: “I am very happy to arrive in Paris. It is a great joy for me to know that I have arrived at a club with big ambitions. PSG are the most iconic French club and my goal is to help them get as high as possible.”
Four players left Arsenal on a busy day for the Emirates club with Nicolas Bendtner the biggest name as he went to Sunderland on a permanent move.
Fellow striker Gilles Sunu has joined French side Lorient on a four-year deal, while fellow forward Joel Campbell has also joined Lorient, but on a season-long loan deal.
Also leaving the Gunners is midfielder Henri Lansbury, who has joined relegated West Ham on a loan deal for the season.
Lansbury will replace England midfielder Scott Parker, who has completed his move to Tottenham for a fee in the region of $8m.
Parker starred for West Ham despite the club’s relegation from the Premier League last season, being named Footballer of the Year in the process.
Going the other way, from Tottenham to West Ham, is former England midfielder David Bentley who, like Lansbury, left north London for the Hammers on a one-year loan deal.
Tottenham, who failed in a bid to sign Gary Cahill from Bolton, also sold England international Peter Croach and Wilson Palacios to Stoke and sent fellow international Jermaine Jenas to Aston Villa on loan. Their Scottish international defender Alan Hutton went to Villa on a permanent deal.
Mega-rich Manchester City have also added to their already impressive squad of players with the surprise signing of former England midfielder Owen Hargreaves on a one-year contract.
Hargreaves was released by rivals Manchester United at the end of last season after two injury-plagued years at Old Trafford and his arrival at City adds to a midfield already boasting the likes of David Silva, Yaya Toure, Samir Nasri, James Milner, Gareth Barry, Adam Johnson and Nigel de Jong.
But City trimmed their squad by selling Welsh international striker Craig Bellamy back to Liverpool in a surprise late move and Shaun Wright Phillips went to Queens Park Rangers.
Two midfielders have left Liverpool for the French league. Danish international Christian Poulsen has joined Ligue One newcomers Evian on a one-year deal after a disappointing spell in Merseyside, while former England international Joe Cole has joined French champions Lille on a season-long loan.
Chelsea, having missed out on signing Luka Modric from Tottenham, swooped to get Raul Meireles from Liverpool after he put in a late transfer request. The four-year deal was for a reported $18 million and he will link up with former teammate Fernando Torres at Stamford Bridge.
French striker David Ngog also left Anfield to sign on a three-year deal for fellow EPL side Bolton, who also picked up Gael Kakuta from Chelsea on loan.
Another London side, Fulham, have also been active, signing Czech Republic defender Zdenek Grygera on a one-year contract from Juventus and Porto striker Orlando Sa on a three-year deal.
Juventus themselves have made a signing, with Hamburg’s Dutch Midfielder Eljero Elia moving to Turin on a four-year contract for a fee of $13m.
Elia told the official Juventus website: “This is the biggest club in Italy, it was very important that coach Antonio Conte wanted me.
And Hamburg have moved immediately to replace Elia, signing Croatian international midfielder Ivo Illicevic from Kaiserslautern on a four-year contract for a fee of $6 million.
Spanish giants Real Madrid have trimmed their squad with three players leaving the Bernabeu, winger Pedro Leon and midfielders Fernando Gago and Royston Drenthe.
Leon has been loaned back to his former club Getafe with the option to buy at the end of the season, while Argentine star Gago has joined AS Roma on loan.
“I am happy to be able to play in Italian football,” he told Spanish television.
Dutchman Drenthe signed for EPL Everton on a season-long loan deal.
Elsewhere, there have also been plenty of other comings-and-goings in Italy, with Udinese signing Uruguay international right-back Maximiliano Pereyra from River Plate on a five-year contract.
And Inter Milan have also been active on the final day, signing Argentine striker Mauro Zarate on a season-long loan deal from Lazio for a fee of $4 million.
Meanwhile, two defenders have left the San Siro. Full-back Davide Santon has completed his move to Newcastle on a five-year contract, while the Nerazzurri have released Colombian Nelson Rivas from his deal, which still had a year to run.
Italian champions AC Milan have also strengthened the midfield with the signing of Antonio Nocerino from Palermo on a five-year deal.
Nocerino, 26, has made more than 100 appearances for Palermo since joining from Juventus in 2008 and has won six caps for Italy.
Zarate is not the only striker leaving Lazio on loan, with Sergio Floccari moving to rivals Parma with a view to a permanent move.
Champions League side Napoli have also strengthened their squad with the signing of defender Ignacio David Fideleff from Newell’s Old Boys on a five-year contract for a fee of $4 million.
Roma have signed Gago and Bosnian midfielder Miralem Pjanic from French side Lyon for $14 million on a four-year contract.
And, in the Netherlands, Dutch champions Ajax have picked up Russian striker Dmitri Bulykin from Belgian side Anderlecht on a free transfer.