Benayoun heads to Arsenal on busy day full of transfers

The 31-year-old midfielder had seen just one minute of action for Chelsea this season and was restricted to 10 appearances due to an Achilles injury.

By REUTERS
August 31, 2011 23:56
3 minute read.
Chelsea midfielder Yossi Benayoun

Benayoun 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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LONDON – Yossi Benayoun joined Arsenal on Wednesday night, leaving Chelsea after one season.

The 31-year-old midfielder, who left the Israel squad preparing for Friday’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Greece to sort out his future in England, had seen just one minute of action for Chelsea this season and was restricted to 10 appearances for the club in 2010/11 due to an Achilles injury, which kept him out for six months.

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Benayoun was never really in the plans of new Blues boss Andre Villas- Boas and just hours before the end of the summer transfer window he found a new home at Arsenal following a conversation with manager Arsene Wenger.

Arsenal, with one point from its opening three games and reeling from its 8-2 defeat at Manchester United on Sunday, also agreed to terms with Werder Bremen’s GerPer Mertesacker and Brazilian defender Andre Santos from Fenerbahce.

Wenger, widely criticised by his club’s fans for not investing in the team following the recent departures of defender Gael Clichy, midfielder Cesc Fabregas and forward Samir Nasri, also signed South Korea captain Park Chu-young from Monaco on Tuesday.

Tottenham, which lost its opening two games to Manchester United 3-0 and Manchester City 5-1, appeared to have resisted Chelsea’s latest efforts to prise Croatian Luka Modric from White Hart Lane despite a reported offer of 35 million pounds ($56.99 million) plus striker Florent Malouda.

“He is staying here one million per cent,” Spurs manager Harry Redknapp told Sky Sports News, but there was plenty of other movement at the club.

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Spurs finalized England midfielder Scott Parker’s move from West Ham United, with former England winger David Bentley going in the opposite direction on a season-long loan.

Honduras captain Wilson Palacios and England striker Peter Crouch were also close to leaving Spurs and signing for Stoke City, while Spurs’ Scotland defender Alan Hutton and England midfielder Jermaine Jenas were linked with moves to Aston Villa.

Another former England midfielder, Joe Cole, who had been linked to a move to Villa, instead signed for Lille on loan for the rest of the season.

Cole, one of the brightest and most gifted midfielders of recent years, made only 11 starts for Liverpool after moving there from Chelsea in July 2010 and has not played in any of the Reds’ early matches this season.

Denmark midfielder Christian Poulsen also left Liverpool, joining French club Evian on a one-year deal.

Like Cole, he joined the Reds last year, but made only 12 appearances for the club.

While they were leaving Anfield, Uruguay defender Sebastian Coates joined from Montevideo club Nacional on a long-term deal to become the club’s sixth signing of the summer.

Promoted Queens Park Rangers, who have already signed 10 players during the transfer window, could have increased that number late Wednesday.

After securing the signing of Newcastle’s Joey Barton last week, QPR was linked with moves for Spurs defender Sebastien Bassong, Manchester City’s Shaun Wright-Phillips and Sunderland defender Anton Ferdinand.

One intriguing deal finalized was former England midfielder Owen Hargreaves, released by Manchester United at the end of last season after an injury-blighted career at Old Trafford, moving to Manchester City.

City confirmed on its website (www.mcfc.co.uk) that he had signed a one-year deal and would train with his new teammates on Thursday.

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