Jose Mourinho was reunited with one of his former Chelsea players last night as Real Madrid agreed the signing of Portugal's Ricardo Carvalho for €8m (£6.6m).
In a clear indication that the Europe-wide belt-tightening affecting everyone bar Manchester City has also reached Madrid, the club who spent close to €250m last season closed the deal offering the 32-year-old defender a two-year contract.
Mourinho wanted the Internazionale right-back Maicon or the Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole but, with both players valued at close to, or in Maicon's case over, €30m, the Real Madrid coach has been forced to settle for a far more modest option.
The signing of Maicon or Cole would have seen full-back Sergio Ramos move into the centre of defence, but Carvalho's arrival will mean the Spanish international stays where he is and the former Chelsea player pairs up with fellow Portuguese central defender Pepe in the heart of Real's defence.
Real have now signed five players but, apart from Argentinian winger Angel Di Maria arriving from Benfica for €40m, players have come in for a modest outlay. The teenage striker Sergio Canales, the German midfielder Sami Khedira and the Getafe winger Pedro Leon have cost less than €35m between them.
Carvalho played only 19 games for Carlo Ancelotti at Stamford Bridge last season and rejoins the coach he won the European Cup with at Porto. His signing has not exactly been welcomed by Real Madrid's expectant supporters, who were spoilt last season by the biggest single outlay by any club in history during one pre-season.
Carvalho's 32 years and the fact that he no longer commanded a regular first-team place with Chelsea are the major gripes surrounding his arrival. But Mourinho hinted when he arrived that he would look to sign an experienced player on a short-term contract and last night he had done just that.
The Stoke City manager, Tony Pulis, has told Chelsea to forget about making a move for the Bosnia goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. Ancelotti, is on the lookout for back-up for Petr Cech after remaining unconvinced by the alternatives in goal Ross Turnbull and Hilario, and Begovic has caught the Italian manager's eye.
"They have enquired," Pulis said. "But they have been told he is not for sale. We are trying to bring players in, not let our better players go."
The Italian goalkeeper Frederico Marchetti has said he is happy to remain at the Serie A club Cagliari, amid reported interest from Arsenal.
"He knows how important Cagliari has been for his career," said the player's agent, Beppe Bozzo. "He would be proud to stay."
Fabio Aurelio, called back to Anfield having been released as a free agent, admits he will only have a bit-part role this season. "I know they are looking for another full-back," he said. "But hopefully [I] can convince the boss that I can be first choice."
West Ham United
Ajax striker Miralem Sulejmani is close to agreeing a loan move to Upton Park, pending a work permit. "[Manager] Avram Grant was positive about my qualities," the 21-year-old said. Everton striker Yak-ubu has also been linked with the club.
Manager Kevin Blackwell has spoken of his delight at re-signing the Arsenal defender Kyle Bartley on loan. "This is a great move for both Kyle and Sheffield United," Blackwell said. "The association [last season] was of great benefit to both of us."
The Tigers are hopeful of bringing former West Bromwich midfielder Robert Koren to the KC Stadium. The Slovene is available on a free transfer after being released by the Baggies after last season's promotion to the Premier League.Reuse content