David Beckham's move from Real Madrid to LA Galaxy in a package
that could be worth up to $250 million to the player dwarfed every
other transfer in the January window which closed on Wednesday.
Although Beckham, 32 in May, could remain at Real until the end
of his contract in June, the sporting, cultural and financial
aspects of the deal made headlines worldwide.
Other significant moves included Brazilian striker Ronaldo, also
leaving Real, for AC Milan and Swedish scoring machine Henrik
Larsson arriving on loan at Manchester United.
The moves of Beckham and Ronaldo ended the 'galacticos' era at
the Madrid club during which Real bought some of the world's most
famous players - but won nothing significant with them.
Real will not get a transfer fee for Beckham and only received
7.5 million euros ($9.7 million) for Ronaldo, less than half the
sum Milan offered them last August.
As usual, Real were also the biggest spenders as they splashed
out some 45 million euros on rejuvenating their squad with three
South American youngsters -- Argentine duo Fernando Gago and
Gonzalo Higuain and Brazilian fullback Marcelo.
Of the other top Primera Liga sides, Sevilla look to have made
another astute purchase in Russia's Alexander Kerzhakov, while
Atletico Madrid have strengthened their already miserly defence
with Brazilian centre back Fabiano Eller.
Ronaldo's return to Italy overshadowed all the other transfers
in Serie A.
The arrival of the three-times FIFA World Player of the Year,
along with Italy right back Massimo Oddo from Lazio, would "ensure
Milan remain among the elite in Europe" said the club's
vice-president Adriano Galliani.
Parma's battle against relegation was boosted when they picked
up Italy under-21 striker Giuseppe Rossi on loan from Manchester
United. The 19-year-old marked his debut by scoring the winner in a
1-0 victory over Torino.
While league leaders Inter made no moves in the market,
second-placed Roma bolstered their squad with Sweden midfielder
Christian Wilhelmsson and Valencia striker Francesco Tavano.
Siena also strengthened their attack by signing Massimo
Maccarone from Middlesbrough until June 2010.
England's Premier League is awash with cash but the biggest move
involved the fairly modest sum of 9.65 million pounds ($18.86
million) Aston Villa paid Watford for 21-year-old winger Ashley
Apart from Matthew Upson's six million pound move to West Ham
United from Birmingham City, most of the other transfers in England
were between one and three million pounds, although a signing who
cost nothing could be the most astute.
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson secured a loan deal for
prolific striker Henrik Larsson from Helsingborg last November and
the 35-year-old Swede marked his arrival with a goal on his debut
against Aston Villa in the FA Cup.
Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano was cleared by FIFA to
move from West Ham to Liverpool, but the Premier League were yet to
approve the deal, saying a decision would be made after they
studied the registration documents sent to them before the transfer
Soccer's world governing body earlier waived, on a technicality,
their own rule which states a player cannot feature for more than
two clubs between June 30 in one year and July 1 the following
Liverpool did definitely sign Deportivo La Coruna defender
Alvaro Arbeloa and Malaga midfielder Francisco Manuel Duran.
Werder Bremen were the biggest movers in the Bundesliga,
bringing in Swedish striker Markus Rosenberg from Ajax for an
estimated four million euros.
(China Daily via Agencies February 2, 2007)