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Premier League clubs splash cash

Mike Collett | February 03, 2004 15:55 IST

For the second successive year the winter transfer window, which closed on Monday, was dominated by loan deals across Europe -- with cash-strapped clubs keeping a tight hold of the purse strings.

The big exceptions were in England. Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal, locked in a three-way battle for the Premier League title and all challenging for the Champions League as well, all spent more than 10 million pounds, while Tottenham Hotspur, bidding to revive former glories, spent 7.0 million on transfer deadline day on Monday.

United spent 12.8 million pounds ($23.33 million) for Fulham's French striker Louis Saha, who scored on his debut in United's 3-2 win over Southampton on Saturday.

Arsenal paid Seville an initial fee of 7.0 million pounds -- rising to a possible 17.0 million, for Seville's 20-year-old midfielder Jose Antonio Reyes, while Chelsea's spending under Russian owner Roman Abramovich rose to 121 million pounds since August when they bought midfielder Scott Parker from London neighbours Charlton Athletic for 10.0 million pounds.

Tottenham bought England Under-21 striker Jermain Defoe from West Ham -- with Bobby Zamora going in the other direction as part of the deal.

Apart from that the only English clubs to commit more than 1.0 million pounds in a single deal were Aston Villa, who bought Peruvian midfielder Nolberto Solano from Newcastle United for 1.5 million pounds; Manchester City, who bought England goalkeeper David James from West Ham for 2.0 million pounds and Wolverhampton Wanderers, who bought Carl Cort from Newcastle for 2.0 million pounds.

Other main transfer window activity across Europe:

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It has been another quiet winter transfer window for the big clubs with only Inter Milan moving to strengthen their squad.

Inter signed Brazilian striker Adriano from Parma whose financial problems also led them to loan out Japanese midfielder Hidetoshi Nakata to Bologna.

Inter also signed Dejan Stankovic from Lazio with the Serbia and Montenegro midfielder moving for 4.0 million euros ($4.96 million) on deadline day.

Most of the moves in the market have come from clubs battling for Serie A survival.

Winless Perugia have brought in out-of-contract former Juventus striker Fabrizio Ravanelli, veteran forward Dario Hubner from Ancona and Italy Under-21 striker Giuseppe Sculli on loan from Chievo.

Bottom club Ancona have replaced Hubner with Brazilian striker Mario Jardel, from Bolton, and have brought home two Italians from Blackburn Rovers -- ex-Italy midfielder Dino Baggio and striker Corrado Grabbi.

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Transfer activity in Spain during the window was limited to one big-money sale, a high-profile loan acquisition and a handful of cheap buys from European hopefuls and relegation candidates.

Arsenal's swoop for Sevilla forward Jose Antonio Reyes, for a fee of up to 24.5 million euros according to the English club, was by far the biggest deal involving a Spanish club.

Barcelona were quick to react when Juventus decided they would be willing to let Edgar Davids go, bringing in the Dutch international midfielder on a loan deal to help their bid to get back in the Champions League.

Espanyol, in deep trouble just one place off the bottom, were linked with just about every available striker in Europe, including Rivaldo, before opting for Steaua Bucharest's Romania striker Claudiu Raducanu for an undisclosed fee.

Real Mallorca also boosted their striking options with a move for Andrija Delibasic from Partizan Belgrade, while Villarreal brought in Argentine midfielder Sebastian Battaglia from Boca Juniors in a deal worth around $3 million.

The last significant transfer before the window closed saw Real Zaragoza re-sign former Barcelona and Spanish international striker Dani, who originally played for Zaragoza from 1995 to 1997.

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The transfer market remained very quiet with most clubs short of cash.

VfB Stuttgart were poised to strike the two most expensive deals -- with two players arriving from FC Basel of Switzerland.

Swiss international midfielder Hakan Yakin, who was linked with a move to Fenerbahce in Turkey last week, was due to complete his move from Basel to Stuttgart for 2.0 million euros ($2.48 million) after a medical on Monday.

Stuttgart also bought promising striker Marco Streller from Basel for 2.75 million euros. Streller replaces Greece striker Ioannis Amanatidis, who left for bottom club Eintracht Frankfurt.

Champions Bayern Munich did not sign anyone but let midfielder Markus Feulner join strugglers Cologne.

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Loan deals rather than permanent deals were the feature of a depressed winter's transfer market in France.

The glamour move was the return of France goalkeeper Fabien Barthez to Olympique Marseille, the club he helped to win the European Cup in 1993, but agreement had been reached with Manchester United long before the winter window opened.

Marseille also agreed to sell Russian international Dmitry Sychev to Lokomotiv Moscow and enlisted Brazilian defender Demetrius Ferreira.

The other top French clubs were quiet with leaders Monaco opting out after their on-loan signing of Spanish striker Fernando Morientes from Real Madrid during the summer.

Reigning champions Olympique Lyon were also silent. Paris St Germain loaned Nigerian hopeful Batholomew Ogbeche to Bastia and signed Serbian striker Danijel Ljuboja from Racing Strasbourg.

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