Crystal Palace have secured a last-gasp loan deal for Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi.
A ‘deal sheet’ was filed moments before the 11pm deadline on Thursday, with all the paperwork finalised just before midnight.
A permanent deal was never on the table, with Palace unwilling to meet Chelsea’s £35m asking price, and personal terms were agreed quickly between the representatives of the two clubs and the player.
Speaking after the signing was announced, Palace’s club chairman Steve Parish said: “This is a fantastic signing for Crystal Palace.
“Michy is a player we’ve long admired, and I’m delighted that we’ve finally managed to get him in a red and blue shirt. He will be a magnificent addition to our squad.”
The Eagles were interested in Batshuayi during his time at Marseille and then again before he went on loan to Valencia, the club at which he spent the first half of this season before being cast out by under-fire boss Marcelino.
Valencia told Batshuayi and Chelsea earlier this month that the Belgian was no longer in their plans and that he was free to find another club, with interest from a host of Premier League and La Liga sides in taking him on loan.
On deadline day there were outline agreements for Batshuayi to move to Real Betis and West Ham United, only for sources at West Ham to later say Batshuayi had priced himself out of a move with his salary expectations.
Palace have spent much of this month cutting salaries from their wage bill, with Jonny Williams, Jason Puncheon and Jordon Mutch all leaving the club and Alexander Sorloth loaned out.
Bakary Sako rejoined from West Bromwich Albion on a short-term deal and Brazilian goalkeeper Lucas Perri arrived on loan.
Roy Hodgson appeared to criticise Palace’s transfer policy in his press conference on Thursday, suggesting he had no need for a new goalkeeper.
While the squad is considered a little thin in some areas, the injury crisis up front appeared to have abated with Connor Wickham and Christian Benteke both returning to full fitness in recent weeks and impressing the coaching staff.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies