Arsène Wenger completed the £10m signing of Mikel Arteta in the final moments of the transfer window, after the midfielder told Everton that he wanted to leave for Arsenal and he was willing to take a pay cut to make it happen.
Wenger has endured a torrid summer, having lost Cesc Fábregas and Samir Nasri against his wishes to Barcelona and Manchester City respectively, and his team slumped 8-2 at Manchester United on Sunday to leave them with one point from their first three Premier League matches.
But the capture of Arteta, which was accompanied by a season-long loan deal for Chelsea's Yossi Benayoun, provided the club's supporters with a much needed tonic. Earlier on deadline day, Wenger had confirmed the signings of the Brazil left-back André Santos from Fenerbahce for £6.2m and Werder Bremen's Germany centre-half Per Mertesacker for £7.6m.
The final day of the window saw several eye-catching deals, including Liverpool taking back Craig Bellamy from City on a two-year deal and the Merseyside club moving Joe Cole to Lille on a season-long loan and selling Raul Meireles to Chelsea for £12m, after the Portugal midfielder had put in a transfer request. Tottenham signed Scott Parker for £5.5m from West Ham United, failed in a late move for Bolton Wanderers' Gary Cahill and sold Peter Crouch and Wilson Palacios to Stoke City for a combined fee of £20m.
Yet it was the drama over Arteta that provided the major talking point. Arsenal had enraged Everton with an opening offer of £5m, which was laughed out of Goodison Park and when they returned with £10m, it was still too low. Wenger had previously shown an interest in the Everton centre-half Phil Jagielka, for whom he was quoted £20m, and it was made clear that Arteta was rated in a similar bracket.
But the situation turned abruptly when Arteta asked to leave, having had his head turned by Arsenal's interest and the chance to play Champions League football with them. Everton felt powerless to keep him and they were forced to accept the £10m. "Mikel indicated to me that he wished to join Arsenal," said the manager, David Moyes. "I am very disappointed to lose him but the prospect of Champions League football was something I wasn't able to offer him."
Everton felt no little frustration, and not only because of the size of the fee. They could not understand why Arsenal had waited until the deadline day to make their move for a player that Wenger had long coveted, particularly as they had taken £35m for Fábregas two weeks ago. Nasri's £24m transfer to City went through last week. Arteta signed a five-year contract at Goodison last summer, worth £75,000 a week, which made him the highest paid player in the club's history. He accepted less to smooth his transfer to Arsenal on a four-year contract.
Everton have also sold Yakubu to Blackburn Rovers for £2m and Jermaine Beckford to Leicester City for a performance-related £4m. They have taken Royston Drenthe from Real Madrid and the Argentina striker Denis Stracqualursi from Tigres on season-long loans.
Arsenal's spend on players was £51.4m but they exited the window having moved on more bodies at a cost of £73.4m. Nicklas Bendtner was the most high-profile departure on deadline day, the striker securing a season-long loan to Sunderland, but Wenger also loaned out Henri Lansbury to West Ham United for the season and sold Gilles Sunu to Lorient. One of Wenger's signings, the Costa Rica forward Joel Campbell, has been sent on a season's loan to Lorient, after Arsenal decided against applying for his work permit.
Chelsea's willingness to allow Benayoun to move to Arsenal is a reflection that the Israeli was unlikely to be included in their squad for the Champions League group stage. He departs despite the manager Andre Villas-Boas being thwarted in his pursuit of both Tottenham's Luka Modric and Alvaro Pereira, with the latter's mooted move effectively scuppered after Porto refused to drop their valuation of the player. The Uruguay international's buy-out clause stands at ¤30m (£27.5m), but Chelsea indicated early in the negotiations that they would be unwilling to meet that amount.
The frustration at the breakdown was voiced by one of Pereira's representatives, Flavio Perchman, who was quoted in Portugal suggesting Porto's stance was a legacy of Villas-Boas's defection to Stamford Bridge over the summer. "Unfortunately, talks have collapsed," said Perchman, an associate of Pereira's agent, Alejandro Savich. "Porto did not honour their word because, last year, they promised to sell Alvaro if an offer upwards of ¤20m was tabled. Chelsea offered more than that. I think they are trying to use Alvaro to get back at Chelsea about Villas-Boas. No-one pays ¤30m for a full-back – not even Roberto Carlos cost that."
Chelsea granted Patrick van Aanholt and Gael Kakuta season-long loan deals at Wigan Athletic and Bolton Wanderers respectively.
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