WEST London rivals Chelsea and Fulham were the biggest spenders in the English Premier League on Friday as the 2300 GMT deadline in the January transfer window loomed into view.
Several clubs moved to strengthen their squads on the final day of the mid-season trading period, but there was nothing to rival Manchester United’s £37.1 million ($61.2 million, 44.8 million euros) capture of Juan Mata from Chelsea last week.
Chelsea reinvested some of the money garnered from Mata’s sale in 19-year-old French centre-back Kurt Zouma, who signed from Saint-Etienne for a reported fee of £12 million before being loaned back to the Ligue 1 side.
Zouma, who recently completed a 10-game ban for fracturing an opponent’s leg, is the fourth player to sign for Chelsea in January after Nemanja Matic, Mohamed Salah and Bertrand Traore.
Having frequently spoken of his desire to leave a long-term legacy at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho praised his employers for having the foresight to sanction a move for Zouma.
“He’s another young player in the profile of some Chelsea signed in the last couple of years,” Mourinho said.
“We liked the profile, we think he’s very much adapted to the Premier League. He is a young player for a position where we also need the future. Well done Chelsea.”
While Chelsea are jostling for position at the top of the table, it is the threat of relegation that prompted Fulham to pay around £12.5 million to Olympiakos for Greek international striker Konstantinos Mitroglou.
The 25-year-old, who scored three goals in Greece’s victory over Romania in their two-legged World Cup qualifying play-off, will be expected to score the goals that lift Fulham out of the relegation zone.
Fulham also signed German international midfielder Lewis Holtby on loan from Tottenham Hotspur.
Injuries forced Arsenal into action, with manager Arsene Wenger revealing that an injury to Welsh midfielder Aaron Ramsey meant he was hoping to “bring at least one body in” before the window closed.
British media reports claimed that Spartak Moscow’s Swedish international midfielder Kim Kallstrom had arrived at the Arsenal training ground on Friday with a view to signing a short-term loan deal.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, meanwhile, confirmed his side’s interest in signing Ukraine winger Yevhen Konoplyanka from Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk.
“We’ll see how it evolves,” Rodgers said. “It is obviously a little complicated, but the staff that are over there (in Ukraine) have done brilliant work in terms of giving us every chance to get a player.
“So we will just have to see how that develops over the course of the day.”
Manchester United winger Wilfried Zaha was given an opportunity to prove his ability when he was allowed to move to Cardiff City on loan.
The 21-year-old England international joined United from Crystal Palace last year, but he has made only two substitute appearances for David Moyes’s side this season.
Elsewhere, Palace spent around £3 million to sign Wales international goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey from Wolverhampton Wanderers, while Scotland midfield Liam Bridcutt joined Sunderland from Brighton and Hove Albion.