Moving stories: Five new arrivals to watch

Phil Gordon
Wednesday 18 December 2013 02:30

David Fernandez (Celtic)
The 26-year-old forward has been Martin O'Neill's only addition to a squad which has run away with the last two championships, but Fernandez is used to rubbing shoulders with celebrated company – the Spaniard began his career with Deportivo La Coruña and played with Rivaldo and Bebeto at the Riazor Stadium before his early promise faded. His gamble in coming to Scotland paid off when Livingston picked him up and the skilful Fernandez repaid that by securing a Uefa Cup place for the club before earning them a £1.25m cheque from Celtic. He is expected to replace Lubomir Moravcik behind Henrik Larsson and Chris Sutton, or wide on the left.

Mikel Arteta (Rangers)
A more expensive addition to the SPL's Spanish armada, the precocious midfielder cost £6m from Barça – much to the chagrin of Paris St Germain, who had Arteta on loan last season and expected first option on him. Arteta's sublime passing alerted Rangers when they faced the French club in their Uefa Cup run last term and Alex McLeish made the Spanish Under-21 cap his first signing. Barry Ferguson's decision to shun Liverpool means that Arteta will play alongside the Rangers captain, instead of replacing him, to reverse the trend which saw the Ibrox midfield stripped last season of Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Tugay and Claudio Reyna.

Sergio Berti (Livingston)
A haunting name for England fans. The Argentinian scored in the penalty shoot-out in the 1998 World Cup, and though he comes to Almondvale in the twilight of his career, will be an able deputy to fill the void left by Fernandez's departure to Parkhead. Berti began his odyssey at Boca Juniors before joining River Plate, with whom he had three spells and scored 44 goals in 184 games. Moved to Europe a decade ago, playing for Parma in Italy and Real Zaragoza in Spain, before Livingston's head coach David Hay tracked the midfielder down at Barcelona. Having Spaniards Oscar Rubio and Francisco Quino in the Livingston dressing room will ease the language problem.

Derek Whyte (Partick)
Hardly a new face, but when your promotion coincides with the collapse of the lucrative television deal with Sky, it's better to invest in guys who can keep goals out, rather than put them in. Partick Thistle have a thin budget of £1m to spread around John Lambie's squad, so Whyte's arrival makes sense. Signed on a Bosman from Aberdeen, the central defender was at the World Cup with Scotland in 1998. Now 33, Whyte is an advert for longevity. He picked up championship medals with Celtic, in 1986 and 1988, while still in his teens before a six-year stint at Middlesbrough provided Premiership experience and an FA Cup final. Good positional sense will dovetail with Scott Paterson.

Laurent D'Jaffo (Aberdeen)
Once Aberdeen fans used to savour the arrival of strikers from England, but D'Jaffo hardly compares to the capture of Charlie Nicholas from Arsenal or even Craig Hignett from Middlesbrough. Indeed, it was the massive wages paid to Hignett, and others, which prompted Pittodrie to introduce a more parsimonious approach after losses of over £8m in two seasons. D'Jaffo, 31, was acquired from Sheffield United and given a one-year deal as Robbie Winters and Hicham Zerouali were off-loaded. The Frenchman will be asked to complement precocious teenager Darren Mackie, who now carries the burden after Winters took his talents to a better paymaster.

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