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23 February 2024

Deadline Day done: Fletcher leaves Man Utd; 5 biggest English football club deals

By Football Correspondent and Agencies

Darren Fletcher's 15-year Manchester United career came to an end on Monday as West Bromwich Albion announced that they had signed the Scotland captain on a free transfer.

The 31-year-old midfielder first joined United as a schoolboy and made 342 appearances for the club, scoring 24 goals.

But after falling our of favour under new United manager Louis van Gaal, he signed for West Brom on a two-and-a-half-year contract with an option for a further year.

The January transfer window closed on Monday after a period of relatively restrained transfer activity for clubs in the money-spinning English Premier League.

Here, AFP Sports lists the five biggest transfers involving English clubs to have taken place during the period (* denotes transfer fee as reported by British media):

WILFRIED BONY (CIV) - Swansea City to Manchester City; £25 million ($37.6 million, 33.2 million euros)*
Defending champions Manchester City made the biggest move in January, signing Ivory Coast international Bony from Swansea for a fee that could reportedly rise to £28 million. The 26-year-old was the leading scorer in the Premier League in 2014 with 20 goals and will provide competition for Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic. "He is very difficult to mark because he is so strong," said City manager Manuel Pellegrini. "We now have four top-class strikers and I am looking forward to seeing them work together." Bony's commitments with Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Nations mean he is yet to pull on a sky-blue shirt.

(GER) - Chelsea (ENG) to Wolfsburg (GER); £24 million*
Life did not work out at Chelsea for the 24-year-old German World Cup-winner, but his 17 goals in 42 international appearances helped persuade Bundesliga title challengers Wolfsburg to break their transfer record in a deal reportedly worth 32 million euros. Schuerrle arrived days after Wolfsburg's 4-1 win over league leaders Bayern Munich, who have been given a reminder that they do not hold a monopoly in Germany on paying big fees for big-name players. "Official!" Wolfsburg proclaimed on Twitter. "World Champion Andre Schuerrle has signed for Wolfsburg."

(COL) - Fiorentina (ITA) to Chelsea; £23.3 million*
Premier League title favourites Chelsea added to their attacking options by moving for Cuadrado, who signed from Fiorentina after impressing for Colombia at last year's World Cup. Citing the influence of Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, Cuadrado said: "It is really going to be brilliant to work with one of the best coaches anywhere in the world." The 26-year-old is an adventurous winger, who can also play at wing-back. Egyptian winger Mohamed Salah moved to Fiorentina as part of the deal.

GABRIEL (BRA) - Villarreal (ESP) to Arsenal; £11 million*
Having looked short at the back following Thomas Vermaelen's departure for Barcelona, Arsenal bolstered their ranks with the acquisition of uncapped Brazilian centre-back Gabriel from Villarreal. The 24-year-old's arrival gives manager Arsene Wenger back-up for first-choice central defenders Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. But Wenger warned: "You always need time to adapt, especially in a defensive position, because you need to know your partners. At the moment he does not speak a word of English and that can cost you goals."

ANDREJ KRAMARIC (CRO) - Rijeka (CRO) to Leicester City; £9 million*
Despite a stunning 5-3 defeat of Manchester United in September, bottom club Leicester have struggled for goals this season, scoring only 21 times in 23 outings. They moved to rectify that with a club-record £9 million move for 23-year-old Croatia striker Kramaric, who has yet to find the net in three appearances. "We've watched Andrej for a long time," said Leicester manager Nigel Pearson. "He's an extremely talented young footballer."


Everton signed Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon on loan until the end of the season just before the transfer window closed on Monday.
Lennon had started just three Premier League matches since Mauricio Pochettino took over as Tottenham manager last year and the England international has been allowed to leave White Hart Lane to revive his career.
The 27-year-old played 267 times for Spurs after arriving from Leeds for £1 million ($1.5 million) in 2005 and won the League Cup in 2008, but he never quite fulfilled his full potential in north London.


VfL Wolfsburg, trying to establish themselves as Bayern Munich's main title rivals this season, swooped to sign Germany's World Cup-winning forward Andre Schuerrle from Chelsea on a four-and-a-half-year deal on Monday.

The Bundesliga high-flyers announced the transfer in a brief statement on their Twitter feed but did not reveal any financial details. According to media reports, the fee was a club record 30 million euros (22.63 million pounds).

Schuerrle played a major role in Germany's World Cup triumph last year.

Leicester snap up Huth

German centre-back Robert Huth joined Leicester City on a short-term loan from Stoke City on Monday, in a low-key start to transfer deadline day for Premier League clubs.

Huth, 30, has fallen out of favour at Stoke after injury problems and he now follows goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer and striker Andrej Kramaric in joining bottom club Leicester during the January transfer window.

Dutch club loan player from Manchester City

NAC Breda have loaned Ghana youth international Divine Naah for the rest of the season from Premier League champions Manchester city, the Dutch club said on Monday.

The 18-year-old attacking midfielder had been on loan for the last six months at Norwegian club Stromsgodset where he featured in only three games.

Naah is the sixth player added to NAC's squad in recent weeks as they face a battle against relegation.