EPL clear Owen to play for Stoke City; Del Piero joins Australian team
September 5, 2012 — Updated 1657 GMT (0057 HKT)
- English Premier League approve transfer of Michael Owen to Stoke City
- The 32-year-old free agent signed on Tuesday after last Friday’s transfer deadline
- He has a one-year contract and will be paid according to number of appearances
- Former Italy striker Alessandro Del Piero confirms his move to Sydney FC
(CNN) — Prolific striker Michael Owen was confirmed as a Stoke City player on Wednesday after the English Premier League approved his transfer.
Owen was a free agent after being released by Manchester United at the end of last season and had been linked with a number of clubs.
But the 32-year-old opted for Stoke, the deal completed right on the Tuesday deadline for clubs to register players to be part of their 25-man English Premier League squads.
He was made to sweat until the EPL board ruled he was eligible, leaving Owen to express his relief on his Twitter blog.
The $55 million paid by PSG for 19-year-old midfielder Lucas Moura broke the Brazilian transfer record for the third time this year, eclipsing the fee the French club spent on Thiago Silva and Chelsea’s deal for Oscar. He will move to Paris in January, becoming the sixth Brazilian at the club.
At $50.75 million, Thiago Silva is the world’s most expensive defender in terms of upfront t
ransfer fees — though the largest including add-ons remains Rio Ferdinand’s move from Leeds to Manchester United, which eventually rose to $150,000 more than the Brazilian’s total). The 27-year-old spent three years in Italy with AC Milan and is an established international.
Spain midfielder Javi Martinez completed a “complicated” move to the Bundesliga giants after activating a $50 million buyout clause in his contract that left him having to foot some of the bill.
Luka Modric completed his long-awaited switch from English club Tottenham Hotspur to Spanish champions Real Madrid for a reported $50 million. After attempting to force a transfer ahead of the 2011-12 season, the Croatian has finally got his move away from White Hart Lane.
Eyebrows may have been raised upon seeing the size of the $49.5 million transfer fee Chelsea paid for Eden Hazard, but the 21-year-old Belgium winger is one of Europe’s biggest talents, having being selected for the Ligue 1 Team of the Year three times in a row.
After a protracted saga of a transfer, Chelsea finally gave in to Internacional president Giovanni Luigi’s demands and paid a Brazilian transfer record $39.25 million for 20-year-old midfielder Oscar. Only time will tell if the talented young playmaker is worth the money, but with so many creative options at Roberto di Matteo’s disposal he may well have to make an immediate impact or risk spending a season on the bench.
Robin van Persie, the English Premier League’s top scorer last season, stunned Arsenal fans by joining rivals United for $37 million after refusing to sign a new contract.
Argentina international forward Ezequiel Lavezzi arrives at PSG with a $36.25 million price tag and a big reputation following his five years in Italy. He will link up with another former Serie A star in Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Those who cynically write off $26.25 million signing Shinji Kagawa as nothing more than a ploy to boost United shirt sales in Asia do so at their own peril — the 23-year-old
is a top-level player with excellent credentials: two Bundesliga titles, one German Cup, an Asian Cup and more than 30 appearances for Japan.
Young England international Jack Rodwell was Roberto Mancini’s first signing since winning Manchester City’s first English league title in 43 years. At $24 million he is far from the most expensive player at the Etihad Stadium, but the highly-rated 21-year-old midfielder is seen as a long-term investment.
Until last season, Zlatan Ibrahimovic had won the league eight years in a row with five different clubs. The Sweden striker’s $24 million move to PSG pushed him further ahead of Nicolas Anelka as the most expensive player of all time, with total transfers of more than $210 million.
For the second year in a row, a key Arsenal player has been lured to Spain by Barcelona. Last August it was Cesc Fabregas, this time it’s Cameroon midfielder Alex Song. The 25-year-old moved for $23.7 million on a five-year contract, with a release clause of $100 million.
Spain star Santi Cazorla was one of Malaga’s marquee signings last season, but is the first of the troubled Spanish club’s high-profile players to depart in the midst of financial problems. The winger’s $23.5 million fee is similar what he cost when joining from Villarreal.
Finishing fourth in both goals scored and assists last season, Marco Reus almost single-handedly pushed Borussia Monchengladbach to a fourth-place finish in Germany and Champions League football. Champions Dortmund see the 23-year-old, who cost $21 million, as the ideal replacement for Shinji Kagawa — and if his brief appearances at Euro 2012 are anything to go by he could become much more.
After much interest from all corners of Europe, FC Twente’s top-scoring target man Luuk de Jong decided to join Borussia Monchengladbach in an $18. 5 million deal. The 21-year-old, who scored 25 goals in 32 appearances last season, went to Euro 2012 but did not appear for the Netherlands.
With the eyes of the English Premier League’s fans firmly set on the Robin Van Persie transfer saga, many have neglected the man coming in to replace him — $18.5 million France international Olivier Giroud. For all the money PSG spent last season, it was Giroud and his 21 goals which spurred underdogs Montpellier to a first Ligue 1 title.
New Barca boss Tito Villanova acted quickly to fill the gap left since Eric Abidal’s liver transplant, bringing in Spain’s Euro 2012 surprise standout player Jordi Alba for a bargain $17 million to fill the left-back slot before the tournament had even finished.
New Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers paid $17 million for 21-year-old striker Fabio Borini, whose nine goals in 24 appearances at Roma earned him selection for Italy’s Euro 2012 squad. He returns to Britain following an earlier loan spell with Rodgers’ former club Swansea.
Lukas Podolski has left his childhood club Cologne for the second time, having struggled to make an impression at Bayern Munich following his 2006 transfer. The Germany star cost Arsenal $15.75 million after scoring 18 Bundesliga goals last season — which was not enough for “the Billy Goats” to avoid relegation.
A surprise star of Euro 2012, Mario Mandzukic scored three times in three games for Croatia to be the tournament’s equal top scorer. Bayern paid Bundesliga rivals Wolfsburg $15.75 million for the 26-year-old striker’s services.
Belgium international Jan Vertonghen is already being touted by Tottenham fans as the long-term replacement for injury-plagued former captain Ledley King in the center of defense. His protracted $11.5 million transfer could prove key to the fortunes of new Spurs boss Andre-Villas Boas.
Chelsea took its spending in the current transfer window to over $100m with the signing of Spanish full back Cesar Azpilicueta from French team Marseille.
Germany midfielder Marko Marin agreed his $9.5 million move to Chelsea before last
season had even finished, and the 23-year-old is expected to make a big impact for the European champions with the skills that have seen him dubbed “the German Messi.”
Antonio Cassano has left AC Milan to join city rivals Inter, while fellow Italy striker Giampaolo Pazzini went in the other direction. Milan had to pay a reported $8.7 million extra for Pazzini, who at 28 is two years younger than his former Sampdoria teammate. Cassano, meanwhile, recovered from heart surgery to help Italy reach the final of Euro 2012.
Diego Forlan struggled to impress in his one season in Italy after seven prolific years in Spain’s top flight, but the 33-year-old Uruguay striker could prove to be a free-transfer bargain in Brazil for Internacional. He was named best player at the 2010 World Cup, where he was joint top scorer, and has led the goal charts twice in Europe.
Midfielder Riccardo Montolivo agreed to join Milan on a free transfer before helping Italy reach the final of Euro 2012, having spent seven years at Fiorentina.
Turkey midfielder Nuri Sahin failed to impress in in his one season at Real Madrid after being snapped up from German champions Borussia Dortmund, and has been given the chance to kickstart his career in the English Premier League.
Maicon — undisclosed fee
Rafael van der Vaart — $16 million
Dimitar Berbatov — undisclosed fee
Lucas Moura – $55M
Thiago Silva – $50.75M
Javi Martinez – $50M
Luka Modric – $50M
Eden Hazard – $49.5M
Oscar – $39.25M
Robin van Persie – $37.5M
Ezequiel Lavezzi – $36.25M
Shinji Kagawa – $26.25M
Jack Rodwell – $24M
Zlatan Ibrahimovic – $24M
Alex Song – $23.7M
Santi Cazorla – $23.5M
Marco Reus – $21M
Luuk de Jong – $18.5M
Olivier Giroud – $18.5M
Jordi Alba – $17M
Fabio Borini – $17M
Lukas Podolski – $15.75M
Mario Mandzukic – $15.75m
Jan Vertonghen – $11.5M
Cesar Azpilicueta – $11m
Marko Marin – $9.5M
Cassano/Pazzini – Swap
Diego Forlan – Free transfer
Riccardo Montolivo – Free transfer
Nurhi Sahin – Season loan
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“It’s official! Deal done. I’m a Stoke player. Can’t wait to get going,” he tweeted.
Owen, who has agreed a one-year deal, will be paid according to the number of appearances he makes.
He has scored 149 goals in the EPL, making him the league’s equal sixth highest scorer since its inception in 1992.
But he is seeking to re-establish his career after failing to make an impact at Manchester United, where he scored 17 goals in 49 appearances spread across three seasons — most of those in cup competitions or as a substitute.
There had been speculation that Owen would rejoin his first club Liverpool, where he scored 18 goals in his first full EPL season and went on to notch 179 in 306 appearances.
Owen, who also played
for Spanish club Real Madrid before an injury-ravaged return to England with Newcastle, is England’s fourth-highest goal scorer with 40 from 89 international appearances.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rogers is looking for a new striker after letting England international Andy Carroll join EPL rivals West Ham on loan for this season.
Carroll made an influential debut in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Fulham but went off late with a hamstring injury that will rule him out for six weeks.
Liverpool had been linked with another free agent in former Italy international Alessandro Del Piero, but the 37-year-old confirmed on Wednesday that he will be joining Australian club Sydney FC.
The former Juventus captain told reporters that Liverpool had been one of the clubs interested, but explained on his website why he decided to move Down Under to the lesser-known A-League as one of its marquee players.
“They really wanted to have me there. They weren’t the only ones, but the project they presented, seemed to be specially tailored for me — it won me over both as an athlete and a person,” said the veteran striker, who has agreed a two-year contract.
“I was lucky to win everything during my career and to end it in Italy winning once again with the team of my life, Juventus. I was looking for something new, something different, something that wouldn’t have things in common with my past, a totally new experience. And I have found it in Sydney.”
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