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Transfer deadline ends in whimper

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MATA-SIGNLONDON, February 1 – London rivals Chelsea, Fulham and Crystal Palace were the biggest movers in the English Premier League as the January transfer window closed with a flurry of activity on Friday.

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 French 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 claimed 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 Dutch defender Johnny Heitinga from Everton on a short-term deal and German international midfielder Lewis Holtby on loan from Tottenham Hotspur.

Moving in the other direction, Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov was loaned to Monaco, while Swiss centre-back Philippe Senderos joined Valencia on a permanent basis.

Injuries forced Arsenal into action, with manager Arsene Wenger signing experienced Spartak Moscow midfielder Kim Kallstrom on loan until the end of the season.

Wenger moved for the former Lyon man, who has won 108 caps for Sweden, in order to add depth to a midfield hit by injuries to Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere, as well as Mathieu Flamini’s suspension.

“Kim Kallstrom is a hugely experienced player,” Wenger said. “He is a midfielder with proven quality at both club and international level.”

Meanwhile, South Korean striker Park Chu-young, a transfer deadline-day signing for Arsenal in 2011, was loaned to second-tier Watford.

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed his side’s interest in signing Ukraine winger Yevhen Konoplyanka from Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, but reports in the British media said the move had broken down at the last minute.

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.

Dani Osvaldo’s five-month stay at Southampton ended with the club’s record signing joining Juventus on loan with a view to a permanent move.

Italy international Osvaldo left Roma for St Mary’s last August in a deal worth up to £14.6 million, but Southampton decided to let the Argentina-born forward return to Serie A after an altercation with team-mate Jose Fonte last week.

Palace, resurgent in recent weeks, made no less than five signings, with Wales internationals Wayne Hennessey and Joe Ledley among the players joining the club on permanent deals.

Goalkeeper Hennessey signed from Wolverhampton Wanderers for around £3 million, with midfielder Ledley joining from Celtic and highly rated England Under-21 winger Tom Ince signing on loan from Blackpool.

Centre-back Scott Dann joined from Blackburn Rovers and attacking midfielder Jason Puncheon’s loan move from Southampton was turned into a permanent transfer.

Sunderland signed Scotland midfielder Liam Bridcutt from Brighton and Hove Albion and allowed striker Danny Graham to join second-tier Middlesbrough on loan.

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