Final day of European winter transfer window sees usual round of frantic trading
Former Manchester United star Dimitar Berbatov goes from to Ligue 1 Monaco on loan
Greece international striker Konstantinos Mitroglou signs for Fulham from Olympiakos
EPL clubs have spent record of over $1.1B on transfers in the 2013-14 windows
The final day of the European transfer window produced the usual flurry of frantic activity Friday but no big deal to match the $61 million transfer of Juan Mata from Chelsea to Manchester United earlier this month.
Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea continued to re-invest the money until the last day, landing promising 19-year-old French central defender Kurt Zouma, who signed from Saint-Etienne for a reported fee of $19 million before being loaned back to the Ligue 1 side.
Zouma, who has just served a 10-game ban for a foul challenge which broke an opponent’s leg, is the fourth player to sign for Roman Abramovich’s big spenders in January after Nemanja Matic, Mohamed Salah and Bertrand Traore.
Chelsea’s West London rivals Fulham, battling against relegation from the English Premier League, landed Greek international striker Konstantinos Mitroglou from Olympiakos for a fee of nearly $20 milllion.
The 25-year-old is a national hero in Greece after scoring three goals in their two-legged World Cup qualifying play-off against Romania last November.
He will have to act as a replacement for former Manchester United star Dimitar Berbatov. The Bulgarian international striker has gone on loan to cash-rich Monaco.
Claudio Ranieri’s team are challenging for the French league title but have lost their big money summer signing of Radamel Falcoa to injury and Berbatov will act as a high-profile replacement.
Monaco slipped six points behind leaders Paris Saint Germain Friday as the reigning champions beat Bordeaux 2-0 with their big money signing from this window, former Newcastle midfielder Yohan Cabaye, coming on as a substitute for the capital giants.
EPL title challengers Arsenal, who signed Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid before the start of the current season, strengthened their squad by the acquisition of experienced Swedish international midfielder Kim Kallstrom from Spartak Moscow on loan.
“Arsenal is an amazing club with a lot of great players and a coach who has done really well here for a long time,” Kallstrom told the club’s official website.
But top of the table Manchester City have not added to their already strong squad, who are still campaigning on all four fronts under Manuel Pellegrini.
City spent an estimated $100 million on player signings before the start of the current campaign, playing their part in record amounts changing hands by EPL clubs in the 2013-14 period.
According to football finance experts Deloitte, the combined transfer spend of the 20 clubs had broken the £700 million ($1.12B) mark for the first time even before the frenetic last day of trading.
This enormous sum is despite the likely restrictions imposed by UEFA’s new Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, which limit the losses clubs can make.
But according to a top lawyer specializing in sports finances, the big spending EPL clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea are unlikely to be troubled by the new regulations.
“It seems the Financial Fair Play rules are unlikely to have the desired effect of providing an even playing field if clubs generating huge losses can meet the rules,” Faye Bargery, a senior associate at law firm Thomas Eggar LLP, told CNN.
“Manchester City recently announced a £51m ($81.6 million) loss (down from £97m last year) but are confident that they will meet the FFP rules.
“Clubs have a number of ways to reduce their losses, including excluding money spent on youth development and facilities as well as amortizing transfer fees over the term of player’ contracts.
“However, the significant increase in commercial and sponsorship income for the top clubs, as evidenced by Arsenal’s recent kit deal with Puma, is likely to mean that the larger clubs can meet the rules but smaller clubs with less income are adversely effected.”
La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, who signed Tottenham Hotspur’s Gareth Bale for a world record fee last August, kept their powder dry in the last day of trading, but other European powerhouses strengthened their squads.
Runaway Serie A leaders Juventus signed Argentina-born forward Dani Osvaldo on loan from EPL Southampton. Osvaldo was a club record signing for Southampton but has lasted less than five months at St Mary’s after he was reported to have had an altercation with teammate Jose Fonte last week.
Inter Milan also completed the big money signing of Brazilian midfield star Hernanes from Lazio on a four-and-a-half year deal.
Last season’s Champions League finalists Borussia Dortmund attempted to boost a flagging season by signing 21-year-old Serbia midfielder Milos Jojic from Partizan Belgrade on the final day of the window.
Dortmund celebrated later Friday by scoring their first Bundesliga win in five games with a 2-1 victory at bottom side Eintracht Braunschweig. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang grabbed both their goals.