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English Premiership

Chelsea sign Cuadrado on deadline day


LONDON, February 3 – Chelsea made the biggest splash on a low-key transfer deadline day as the Premier League leaders signed Colombia international winger Juan Cuadrado from Fiorentina on Monday.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho had been linked with a move for Cuadrado for several weeks and he finally landed his target after making room in his squad by selling German World Cup-winning winger Andre Schuerrle to Bundesliga title challengers Wolfsburg.

Cuadrado, 26, signed a four-and-a-half-year contract with the west London club and told Chelsea’s website: “I am very happy and thankful for this opportunity I’ve been given.

“This is a great club and honestly, it is like a dream to join the Chelsea family and to know that the manager believes in me. I’m happy.”

Cuadrado, who had been at Fiorentina since 2012 after joining from Udinese, caught the eye with some sparkling performances for Colombia at last year’s World Cup, where his country reached the quarter-finals.

He is reported to have cost Chelsea an initial fee of £23.3 million ($34.9 million, 30.8 million euros), which could rise to £26.8 million.

As part of the deal, Chelsea’s Egypt winger Mohamed Salah joined Fiorentina on loan until the end of the season.

Meanwhile, left-back Ryan Bertrand’s season-long loan move to Southampton from Chelsea was turned into a permanent deal for a reported fee of £10 million.

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Wilfried Bony’s switch from Swansea City to Manchester City for a reported initial fee of £25 million was the biggest deal of the window in the Premier League.

Despite more than £110 million being spent, spending was down in England compared to previous January transfer windows, but total spending over the entirety of the 2014-15 campaign represents a new record.

– Fletcher, Zaha leave United –

After 342 appearances, Scotland captain Darren Fletcher left Manchester United for West Bromwich Albion on a free transfer after falling out of favour under manager Louis van Gaal.

“I’ve spent my career at United and it’s all I’ve ever known,” Fletcher told the West Brom website after penning a two-and-a-half-year deal with an option for a further year.

“But I felt it was the right time to move and I’m not sentimental about doing that — I have great memories obviously, but I’m now a West Bromwich Albion player and I cannot wait to get going.”

Wilfried Zaha’s disappointing spell at United also came to an end as his loan move to former club Crystal Palace was made permanent for an undisclosed fee.

The 22-year-old Ivory Coast-born winger joined United for a fee that could have risen to £15 million in 2013, but made just four appearances at Old Trafford and returned to Palace on loan last August.

Zaha was joined at Selhurst Park by South Korea midfielder Lee Chung-yong, who signed from second-tier Bolton.

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Another winger moving to pastures new in search of first-team opportunities was Tottenham Hotspur’s Aaron Lennon, who was loaned to Everton.

Meanwhile, Tottenham signed 18-year-old midfielder Dele Alli from Milton Keynes Dons on a five-and-a-half-year contract for a fee of around £5 million before loaning him back to the third-tier club.

On a busy day at White Hart Lane, Spurs also tied break-out star Harry Kane to a long-term contract and released Cameroon left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

As well as securing Bertrand’s services on a permanent basis, Southampton also signed Benfica’s Serbian international midfielder Filip Djuricic on loan until the end of the season.

Hull City signed Senegal international striker Dame N’Doye from Lokomotiv Moscow on a two-and-a-half-year deal, while Stoke City loaned Robert Huth to Leicester City and Newcastle United loaned Davide Santon to Inter Milan.

In a curious move, five Newcastle fringe players — Gael Bigirimana, Kevin Mbabu, Shane Ferguson, Remie Streete and Haris Vuckic — joined Scottish giants Rangers on loan.

Newcastle owner Mike Ashley is involved in a battle for control of Rangers, who are currently in the Scottish second tier, but has been charged by the Scottish Football Association with breaching rules concerning dual interests.

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