Belfast Telegraph

Arteta move to Arsenal signals closure of £448m transfer window

By Frank Brownlow

Arsenal late last night completed a sensational last-gasp swoop for Mikel Arteta from Everton as the transfer window slammed shut.

Arteta’s transfer fee, believed to be in the region of £10m, helped push the total transfer window spend to a whopping £448m.

The Gunners looked to have missed out on Arteta earlier on last night after Everton rejected a bid for their star midfielder.

But Arteta reportedly forced the issue and Arsenal looked to have reached an agreement with their Barclays Premier League rivals before the 11pm deadline, revealing they had signed the 29-year-old on a four-year contract.

The Gunners are said to have initially offered Nicklas Bendtner — who last night joined Sunderland on a season-long loan — in a part-exchange deal, something rejected out of hand by Everton.

They also reportedly snubbed a £10million cash offer until the player himself made his feelings clear.

Chelsea midfielder Yossi Benayoun signed a season-long loan deal at the Emirates Stadium which took Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger's deadline-day recruits to four after defenders Per Mertesacker and Andre Santos Put the finishing touches to their moves.

Elsewhere, in a surprise move, Liverpool re-signed their former striker Craig Bellamy from Manchester City. The 32-year-old |(pictured) spent last season on loan at npower Championship side Cardiff after a rift with City boss Roberto Mancini saw him excluded from the first-team squad.

City have been desperate to offload Bellamy but with a year left on his contract there were financial issues to sort out before Liverpool could complete a deal.

In a brief statement the club said: “Liverpool have tonight announced Craig Bellamy has signed a contract with the club.

“He will wear shirt number 39.”

Bellamy's return to Anfield comes four years after he left having been brought to the club 12 months earlier by Rafael Benitez.

He scored nine goals in 42 matches but off-field issues, most notably an infamous incident with a golf club and team-mate John Arne Riise, and a strained relationship with Benitez, contributed to his departure to West Ham.

Wenger, meanwhile, earlier began to rebuild his shattered defence after it was confirmed Per Mertesacker and Andre Santos were joining the club.

Germany defender Mertesacker, who has 75 caps and joins from Werder Bremen for a reported £8million, was relishing the challenge.

The 26-year-old said: “Moving to London enables me to fulfil a dream and a further step in my career. The Premier League has always represented a great challenge for me.”

Wenger added: “We are delighted to welcome Per Mertesacker to the club.

“He is a German international with vast experience and strength and is good on the floor and in the air.

“I believe he will be well-suited to the Premier League and a tremendous asset to the team.”

Santos, 28, cost Arsenal £6.2million from Turkish champions Fenerbahce.

The Brazil full-back, who missed out on last year's World Cup, said: “It was one of my dreams to play for a major European football club and I have accomplished this. I am very happy to be part of this team.

“All the Brazilians who came to this club spoke wonders about it and I am delighted to be part of the Arsenal family.”

Wenger added: “Santos is a quality player, with the ability to both defend well and get forward and help with attacks.

“He has experience in the Champions League and for Brazil and has proven he can deliver at the highest level.

“We welcome Santos to the club and look forward to him having a big impact for us.”

Wenger was busy in the final days of the transfer window, having brought in South Korea captain Park Chu-young from Monaco. A move for Blackburn defender Christopher Samba was also touted after the Gunners cooled their interest in Bolton's Gary Cahill.

Four players also left Arsenal today, three of them on season-long loans. Nicolas Bendtner joined Sunderland, Henri Lansbury moved to West Ham, and new signing Joel Campbell was farmed out to Lorient, where fellow youngster Gilles Sunu completed a permanent move.

Chelsea last night succeeded in another last-gasp raid of Liverpool after completing the signing of Raul Meireles with minutes of the transfer window remaining.

In an eerie echo of Fernando Torres' £50million January switch, the Blues left it until just before the deadline to complete a deal for Meireles.

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