Deadline day drama

Chelsea swoop to sign Meireles from Liverpool in £12m deal with just minutes to spare after failing to persuade Tottenham to let Modric join Crouch and host of others in leaving the Lane

£10m Arteta finally leaves Everton for Arsenal after a day of haggling as Gunners move to replace Fabregas and Nasri with Spaniard and Yossi Benayoun on loan from Chelsea

CHELSEA and Arsenal left it until the last possible moment before pulling off two of the surprise deals of a frantic transfer deadline day on which Premier League clubs took their summer spending to £480m.

The Blues completed a shock £12m swoop for Liverpool midfielder Raul Meireles in the final minutes before the 11pm cut-off – the last chance for European clubs to sign players until January.

Simultaneously Arsenal were thrashing out the final details of Mikel Arteta’s £10m transfer from Everton following a day of on-off negotiations between the two sides.
On a busy day at Emirates Stadium the Gunners also signed Chelsea midfielder Yossi Benyoun on a season-long loan, and confirmed the arrivals of defenders Per Mertesacker and Andre Santos.

Top-flight clubs went into overdrive in the final hours of the transfer window, taking spending for the whole summer period to around £480m. That total is around £100m more than last year and a little over the amount spent in 2009, but short of the record £500m spent in 2008.

Chelsea’s 11th-hour move for Meireles came after they failed to prise long-term target Luka Modric from Tottenham, despite making a player-plus-cash bid thought to be worth £40m on Monday. Spurs had further cause for celebration after completing a £5m deal for West Ham and England midfielder Scott Parker, but deadline-day attempts to prise defender Gary Cahill from Bolton ran aground.

White Hart Lane manager Harry Redknapp was more willing to off-load several other players, with striker Peter Crouch (inset) and midfielder Wilson Palacios both joining Stoke for a combined £18m.

Full-back Alan Hutton and midfielder Jermaine Jenas also left Tottenham for Aston Villa, Hutton for £4m and Jenas on a season-long loan, while out-of-favour David Bentley moved across London to West Ham for the season.

Meireles, who signed a four-year deal, was not Liverpool’s only business, however, with manager Kenny Dalglish bringing forward Craig Bellamy back to Anfield on a two-year contract after he negotiated his release from Manchester City.

Fulham saw off late interest from Newcastle to land Costa Rica forward Bryan Ruiz for £10.5m from Dutch outfit FC Twente, in one of the west Londoners’ biggest deals in history.

QPR also flexed their new-found financial muscle to recruit £3m defender Anton Ferdinand from Sunderland and winger Shaun Wright-Phillips from Manchester City – who completed the signing of injury-plagued former England and Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves on a free transfer.