|Robbie Keane meets the Celtic supporters at Celtic Park after his transfer from Spurs – but it was an otherwise unusually low-key January transfer window [GALLO/GETTY]|
The European football transfer window closed quietly last night without any of the big-money moves that so dominated the start of the season.
English Premier League strugglers West Ham United were probably one of the most active clubs, signing three strikers on a quiet final day of business.
The east London club, battling to avoid relegation, signed South African striker Benni McCarthy, Egypt striker Mido and Brazilian striker Ilan in a bid to boost their prospects of staying up.
McCarthy, 32, joined on a permanent deal from Premier League rivals Blackburn Rovers, five years after a planned move to the London club fell through, while Mido signed a four-month deal.
Mido technically moved on loan from Middlesbrough, who hold his permanent contract, although he has been playing for Zamalek in Egypt on loan this season.
Brazilian Ilan, 29, joined the Hammers on loan until the end of the season from St Etienne, with the option of a possible two year deal after that.
In other moves, Wigan Athletic signed Crystal Palace’s highly-promising 19-year-old Victor Moses for around $3.98 million and Bolivia striker Marcelo Moreno joined the club on loan from Shakhtar Donetsk.
Former England Under-21 winger, 22-year-old Adam Johnson moved from Middlesbrough to Manchester City on a 4-1/2 year deal for an undisclosed sum.
Stoke City also confirmed on their website they had signed Portsmouth’s second goalkeeper, Bosnian international Asmir Begovic, who had a run in the Pompey side when England keeper David James was injured.
Those permanent deals were the only ones confirmed before the deadline with almost every other deal involving a Premier League club being for a loan period.
Tottenham’s manager Harry Redknapp made no permanent deals after signing Younes Kaboul from Portsmouth on Saturday.
Ireland international Robbie Keane left White Hart Lane on loan and went to Scottish club Celtic, a year after moving back to Spurs from Liverpool.
Keane had failed to recapture the form that previously made him a fan favourite. He has scored nine goals in 25 appearances this season.
Redknapp spent about $63.6 million during last season’s January transfer window, but, aside from Keane’s late move, Spurs had yet to announce any business beyond the departure of fullbacks Alan Hutton and Kyle Naughton on loan to Sunderland and Middlesbrough respectively.
Celtic earlier completed the loan signing of Fulham’s Senegal striker Diomansy Kamara until the end of the season.
Fulham signed England defender Nicky Shorey on loan from Aston Villa, and have also completed a loan deal for 20-year-old striker Stefano Okaka from AS Roma and the signing of young Liverpool midfielder Christopher Buchtmann.
Auditing firm KPMG said the drop in Premier League clubs’ total monthly expenditure from $303.9 million in the 2008-09 season to about $66.2 million showed the financial problems facing them.
“Whilst the UK has just recently exited recession, it appears that football may just be entering it”
“Whilst the UK has just recently exited recession, it appears that football may just be entering it,” said Geoff Mesher, head of KPMG’s forensic sports industry team.
“Financial uncertainty still exists for a number of English football clubs and many football club chairmen will look at the current plight of Portsmouth.”
But with Manchester United and Liverpool heavily in debt as a result of their takeover by American businessmen, there were fewer transfers than usual involving the big clubs.
Elsewhere in Europe Inter Milan appears set to loan Brazilian midfielder Amantino Mancini to rival AC Milan, with the option of a permanent move at the end of the season.
Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport reported on its website that AC Milan vice president Adriano Galliani has confirmed the move, while the paper also said Fiorentina midfielder Martin Jorgensen has flown home to Denmark to rejoin Aarhus, the club he left in 1997 to move to Italy.
FC Porto’s attempt to sign striker Kleber from Brazilian side Cruzeiro broke down over a failure to reach agreement on the contract length and wages.
Bundesliga club Mainz signed Slovakia defender Radoslav Zabavnik from Russian club Terek Grozny and brought in German defender Malik Fathi on loan from Spartak Moscow.
Mainz said they will give the 29-year-old Zabavnik a contract until the end of the season, with an option to extend it through June 2012.
In France, Lorient signed defender Gregory Bourillon from first division rival Paris Saint-Germain.
Lorient said that the 25-year-old Bourillon has joined Lorient on a 4 1/2-year contract but did not disclose any financial details of the move.