West Ham United claim they have come to an agreement "mutually acceptable to both parties" after reports that Swedish midfielder Fredrik Ljungberg was allowed to exit Upton Park with a £6m pay-off. The 31-year-old has left the Hammers – after joining them only 12 months ago from Arsenal – and has thrashed out "undisclosed terms" over the termination of his contract, which had one year and an option for another to run.
Ljungberg made 25 starts for the Hammers after his £3m move across London last summer but failed to make much impact following an excellent nine-year spell at Highbury. Injuries slowed down his career under Arsène Wenger and he was out of action after his opening match for West Ham last August. He ended the season with a cracked rib, but was eventually passed fit for Sweden's run in the Euro 2008 finals.
West Ham deny the decision to let him go was to do with his seemingly unreliable fitness, insisting in a club statement that "he proved himself fit at Euro 2008". To West Ham fans it will look like a first move in clearing the decks after huge spending on new players under former chairman Eggert Magnusson last season.
Ljungberg, who is interested in opportunities in England, Italy and Spain, explained: "I gave my all at West Ham and enjoyed my time there but the decision is the best for the both of us."
Shittu heads for the Reebok as Megson shores up defence
Bolton Wanderers have confirmed they have completed the signing of defender Danny Shittu from Championship side Watford for an undisclosed fee. The 27-year-old Nigerian, who had spells with Blackpool and Queen's Park Rangers before he moved to the Hornets two years ago, has signed a three-year contract at the Reebok Stadium. Shittu nearly joined Rangers last month but failed to agree terms with the Scottish club. He becomes the Bolton manager Gary Megson's fourth signing of the summer and will join up with the rest of the Wanderers squad in pre-season in Greece.
Rovers decide on brothers in arms by bringing in Santa Cruz junior
Blackburn Rovers manager Paul Ince has bought the younger brother of the Paraguay international striker Roque Santa Cruz. Blackburn have signed 18-year-old Julio on a three-year deal subject to international clearance. Santa Cruz, who played for Cerro Porteño in Paraguay, had been on trial at Ewood Park since the end of last season and is likely to feature for Blackburn's reserves this season. "I am very happy to be here at Blackburn, it will be an amazing adventure for me," Santa Cruz said.
*YESTERDAY'S COMPLETED MOVES
Sam Mullarkey (Grantham Town) to Lincoln City: Undisclosed
Julio Santa Cruz (Cerro Porteno) to Blackburn Rovers: Undisclosed
Danny Shittu (Watford) to Bolton Wanderers: Undisclosed
Simon Walton (Queen's Park Rangers) to Plymouth Argyle: Undisclosed
Yinka Casal (Cambuur Leeuwarden) to Swindon Town: Free
Brett Johnson (Northampton Town) to Brentford: Free
Pascal Zuberbuhler (Neuchatel Xamax) to Fulham: Free
Ben Fairclough (unattached) to Notts County: Signed
Jimmy Ryan (unattached) to Accrington Stanley: Signed
Josh Wagenaar (unattached) to Yeovil Town......... SignedReuse content