Manchester United signed Sofyan Amrabat on loan as part of a hat-trick of arrivals at Old Trafford in the hectic final hours before Friday’s transfer deadline, while Liverpool reportedly turned down a £150 million offer from Saudi Arabia for Mohamed Salah.
Manchester City swooped for Wolves midfielder Matheus Nunes in a £53 million deal after selling Cole Palmer to Chelsea and Tottenham landed Brennan Johnson from Nottingham Forest in the day’s other major deals.
English top-flight clubs smashed their record for spending on new players during this window, with the total surpassing £2 billion ($A3.9b) for the first time, according to financial experts Deloitte.
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“You’ve got that intensity of competition across the league. Whether that’s competing for the title, competing for European places or just simply staying in the league, that’s driving spending,” said Calum Ross, assistant director in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group.
“There are 10 clubs that have spent more than £100 million.”
United left it late to get a deal done for midfielder Amrabat that will see one of the stars of Morocco’s run to the World Cup semi-finals join from Fiorentina for a 10 million euro (£8.6 million) loan fee with the option to buy for a further 25 million euros next year.
Amrabat was joined by Turkish goalkeeper Altay Bayindir from Fenerbahce and Spanish left-back Sergio Reguilon, who was with Ange Postecoglou’s Spurs, in joining the Red Devils on deadline day.
“I’ve had to be patient for this moment but I’m someone who always listens to my heart and now I am representing the club of my dreams,” said Amrabat in a United statement.
Mason Greenwood departed United on Friday, joining Spanish side Getafe on loan. The club and Greenwood mutually agreed for the forward to continue his career elsewhere after he faced allegations of abuse involving a young woman.
Liverpool completed their midfield overhaul with the signing of Ryan Gravenberch from Bayern Munich in a £35 million deal.
But the Reds stood firm in the face of Al-Ittihad’s attempt to lure Salah to Saudi.
“The position remains the same. Absolutely no doubt about that,” Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said of the Reds’ desire to keep the 31-year-old, who has two years left to run on his contract.
However, the Saudi transfer window does not close until September 7, and The Telegraph reports the club will come back with a record £200 million bid after seeing a £150m bid rejected by Liverpool.
Treble winners City bolstered their midfield options after the departure of Ilkay Gundogan and a long-term hamstring injury suffered by Kevin De Bruyne by signing Portugal international Nunes.
“The opportunity to work under Pep Guardiola, one of the greatest managers ever, and alongside some of the best players in the world was something I simply couldn’t turn down,” said Nunes.
City cashed in on Palmer for an initial £40 million that takes Chelsea’s spending on new players in just over a year under the club’s American ownership beyond £1 billion.
Palmer agreed a seven-year contract with Chelsea, who could pay City an extra £2.5 million in add-on clauses.
The 21-year-old scored in both the Community Shield and UEFA Super Cup last month.
But Palmer, who helped England win the Under-21 European Championship this year, has been convinced by Chelsea’s plan to invest heavily in young players.
“I’ve joined Chelsea because the project here sounds good and because of the platform I will have to try to showcase my talents,” said Palmer.
“It is a young and hungry squad and, hopefully, we can do something special here.”
West Ham continue impressive start | 01:20
Tottenham splashed out some of their Harry Kane cash on Johnson for a £47.5 million fee.
Forest used that money to strengthen their squad in a number of areas as Greek goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos, midfielder Nicolás Domínguez and former England winger Callum Hudson-Odoi all joined in the final hours of the window.
Brighton landed a major coup by signing Spanish international winger Ansu Fati on a season-long loan deal from Barcelona.
Fati was regarded as one of the most promising talents in Europe when he burst onto the scene four years ago before injuries have halted his progress.
“This is a great deal for all of us. I am sure Ansu will help us to reach a new target and we can help him get back to the level he deserves to be,” said Brighton boss Roberto De Zerbi said.
CONTROVERSIAL MAN UTD STAR FINDS NEW CLUB
Spanish team Getafe signed striker Mason Greenwood from Manchester United on loan, they said in a statement, despite him having faced allegations of abuse involving a young woman.
Greenwood had been suspended since January 2022 by the Premier League side over the allegations but prosecutors dropped charges including attempted rape and sexual assault in February.
“Getafe have reached a deal with Manchester United for the arrival of Mason Greenwood on loan for a season,” said the Madrid side in a statement.
Last week United and Greenwood mutually agreed the striker would leave Old Trafford.
“The move enables Greenwood to begin to rebuild his career away from Manchester United,” said the Red Devils in a statement.
“The club will continue to offer its support to Mason and his family during this period of transition.”
Greenwood’s signing comes during a sexism storm in Spanish football, surrounding the suspended president of the Spanish football federation (RFEF), Luis Rubiales.
The 46-year-old chief was provisionally suspended by FIFA for 90 days after forcibly kissing Women’s World Cup star Jenny Hermoso on the lips on August 20 after Spain won the tournament in Sydney.
Getafe president Angel Torres said Rubiales could not stay “a minute more” in his post.
English prosecutors said they were dropping the charges against Greenwood after key witnesses withdrew and new evidence came to light.
Greenwood, whose contract runs until June 2025, said last week: “I did not do the things I was accused of, and in February I was cleared of all charges.
“However, I fully accept I made mistakes in my relationship, and I take my share of responsibility for the situations which led to the social media post.” He added: “The best decision for us all, is for me to continue my football career away from Old Trafford, where my presence will not be a distraction for the club.
“I thank the club for their support since I joined aged seven. There will always be a part of me which is United.” Greenwood was tipped for stardom at United after rising through the Old Trafford youth system and went on to score 35 goals in 129 senior appearances for the club.
BARCELONA NAILS DOUBLE DEAL
Barcelona signed Atletico Madrid forward Joao Felix and Manchester City defender Joao Cancelo on loan until the end of the season, the Spanish champions said.
“Barcelona and Atletico Madrid have reached an agreement for the loan of player Joao Felix until June 30, 2024. There is no option to buy,” said the Catalan club in a statement, before then announcing Cancelo’s arrival.
Barcelona loaned winger Ansu Fati to Brighton and defender Clement Lenglet to Aston Villa earlier Saturday to help create room to accommodate their new arrivals on the wage bill and register the players with La Liga, who have strict financial fair play rules.
The Catalans also sold winger Ez Abde to Real Betis for 7.5 million euros ($8.1 million), keeping an option to buy him back and 50 percent of the value of his next sale, and loaned defender Eric Garcia to Girona.
Felix became one of the most expensive players in history when Atletico Madrid signed him from Benfica in 2019 for 126 million euros ($136 million) at just 19 years old.
The Portuguese forward, 23, failed to find consistent form in the Spanish capital and Atletico loaned him to Chelsea last season, where he also struggled.
Felix has spoken out about his desire to play for Barcelona in the past. “The club publicly expresses their gratitude to the player for the financial effort made (to join) and his desire to wear the Barca shirt,” added Barcelona.
Atletico said Felix has signed a two-year contract extension, until 2029. Barcelona then confirmed the arrival of Cancelo on loan from Manchester City, also with no option to buy.
The club needed a specialist right-back, using central defender Jules Kounde in that position for the majority of last season.
Cancelo, 29, fell out of favour at Manchester City last season, joining Bayern Munich on loan in January.
The Portugal international was pivotal for City coach Pep Guardiola in previous years as he played an important role in two Premier League triumphs.
Cancelo signed a five-year deal with City in February 2022 but less than a year later Guardiola sent him to Bayern.Barcelona have had a busy transfer window, signing Ilkay Gundogan, Oriol Romeu and Inigo Martinez, while Ousmane Dembele, Franck Kessie and others departed.
AL-ITTIHAD PREPARING MONSTER £200M SALAH BID – 7am Saturday
Al-Ittihad is prepared to submit a monster £200 million offer (A$389m) to sign Liverpool star Mo Salah, according to multiple reports.
The South Arabia club had already had its £150 million offer to the Egyptian striker rejected by the Reds, with manager Jürgen Klopp downplaying rumours.
It’s unclear whether the improved deal would be enough to tempt Liverpool, who’ve been firm that Salah isn’t up for sale.
The Telegraph reports that Al-Ittihad offered a massive package on deadline day worth £150 million (A$293m), with an initial £100 million followed by add-ons.
The offer was flatly rejected,with Liverpool considering the matter now closed.
SPURS’ LATE PLAY FOR CHELSEA DEFENDER – 7am Saturday
Tottenham looked to make a late offer for Trevoh Chalobah on loan from London rivals Chelsea, reports Telegraph UK, but the deal didn’t get done.
He remained at Chelsea along with Conor Gallagher, who also had interest from Ange Postecoglou’s side.
It comes after Chalobah’s potential loan move to Bayern Munich fell through, while Nottingham Forest has also been circling the defender with a £25 million bid.
Fellow Chelsea defender Marc Cucurella didn’t receive any offers on deadline day despite being available.
SPURS SEAL £50M DEAL FOR FOREST STAR
Spurs have landed a deadline-day deal for star striker Brennan Johnson.
The Nottingham Forest forward has been a target of Ange Postecoglou’s for weeks since it became clear that Harry Kane would be leaving the club.
And a deal on deadline day was completed. ESPN reports it was initially worth £47.5 million plus add-ons. The Telegraph reporting that a deal worth £50m (A$98m) including bonuses.
Johnson had been with his hometown club for 14 years but joined Spurs where he will provide competition for Richarlison to lead the Tottenham line.
“(Johnson’s) departure brings an end to his 14-year association with the club, having joined the Forest Academy at the age of eight,” Forest said in a statement.
Spurs were also interested in Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher and Bournemouth’s Lloyd Kelly, but couldn’t get either deal over the line.
CITY COMPLETE NUNES SIGNING — 8pm Friday
Manchester City signed Matheus Nunes from Wolves for £53 million (A$104m), which is a record sale for the Midlands club.
Wolves will also receive a 10 per cent profit if City sell Nunes for a higher fee in the future.
Nunes refused to play during transfer negotiations and eventually got his way after completing a medical with City on Thursday night.
“The opportunity to work under Pep Guardiola, one of the greatest managers ever, and alongside some of the best players in the world was something I couldn’t turn down,” Nunes said.
“I’ve learned so much during my season at Wolves and I’m excited to continue improving in the Premier League, a division which brings the best out of me.”
CHELSEA SIGN CITY YOUNG STAR — 7.20pm Friday
Manchester City’s Cole Palmer has been signed by Chelsea for £42.5m (A$83.3m).
The 21-year-old has been signed to a seven-year contract with an option for an additional year.
“I’m excited to get started and it feels great to sign,” Palmer told the Chelsea website.
“I’ve joined Chelsea because the project here sounds good and because of the platform I will have to try to showcase my talents.
“It is a young and hungry squad and, hopefully, we can do something special here.”
City were keen to keep Palmer, but the size of Chelsea’s offer eventually persuaded them to cash in on a rising star who was keen for more regular first-team opportunities.
The 21-year-old could make his Chelsea debut in Saturday’s Premier League match against Nottingham Forest at Stamford Bridge.
Palmer’s move to the Bridge takes Chelsea’s spending in the 16 months since Todd Boehly’s Clearlake Capital consortium bought the club to over £1billion.
SPURS TRIO HEADED FOR EXIT
Ange Postecoglou is finally trimming some of the fat from his squad, with three of his Tottenham Hotspur players headed for the exit door.
The Red Devils had hoped to snap up Chelsea defender Marc Cucurella, but a deal was deemed to expensive so they have since moved for the Tottenham defender.
Reguilon had featured throughout Tottenham’s pre-season but has had to make do with a backup role so far this season as Destiny Udogie earned the starting role at left back.
Another defender who won’t be at Tottenham for much longer is academy product Japhet Tanganga.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is the final member of the departing trio, with the Dane heavily linked with a switch to Fulham.
However, The Athletic later reported that Eric Dier could also be on the Spurs chopping block.
The Cottagers appear resigned to losing star defensive midfielder Joao Palinha, who looks likely to join Bayern Munich.
SOCCEROO SET FOR SURPRISE REUNION?
Socceroos star Harry Souttar could find himself leaving Leicester City almost as quickly as he arrived.
The towering centre-back has struggled to break into Foxes boss Enzo Maresca’s side this season, with Wout Faes and Jannik Vestergaard preferred ahead of him.
Whether Souttar would leave on a permanent deal or a loan remains to be seen, but a departure from Leicester looks to be his best chance for regular game time.
ENGLAND STAR PENS EMOTIONAL GOODBYE TO RED DEVILS
Dean Henderson has penned an emotional goodbye after securing a permanent move away from Manchester United.
The England international has joined Crystal Palace on a five-year, £20 million deal having struggled for first team football at his boyhood club.
Henderson, who had been with the Red Devils since he was 14, stated his United journey was a “dream come true.”
“Saying goodbye to United is an emotional moment for me,” Henderson said.
“This club has been a part of my life since I was a kid.
“From growing up as a United fan, to joining the academy aged 14, to stepping out on the pitch at Old Trafford!
“The journey has been a dream come true and I feel very blessed and fortunate to have fulfilled that dream.”
The 26-year-old will now contest for the starting goalkeeper role with Sam Johnstone at Palace.
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