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Ronaldo return headlines English elite's spending spree

China Daily | Updated: 2021-09-02 09:15
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Cristiano Ronaldo. [Photo/China Daily]

Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Manchester United was confirmed by the English giant on Tuesday as Premier League clubs scrambled to strengthen before the close of the transfer window.

United announced on Friday a deal had been struck with Juventus to bring the five-time Ballon d'Or winner back to Old Trafford for a fee that could rise to 23 million euros ($27 million) for the 36-year-old.

The Portugal captain scored 118 goals in 292 games during his first spell at United, winning his first Ballon d'Or and Champions League title, as well as three Premier League titles, one FA Cup and two League Cups.

"This is absolutely 100 percent the stuff that dreams are made of," Ronaldo posted on Instagram.

"Everyone who knows me, knows about my never-ending love for Manchester United. The years I spent in this club were absolutely amazing and the path we've made together is written in gold letters in the history of this great and amazing institution."

Ronaldo's return has already had a knock-on effect with United winger Daniel James joining Leeds for a reported 25 million pounds ($34 million).

The Wales attacker has started two of United's three Premier League games so far this season, but was expected to struggle for game time once Ronaldo arrived and Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani returned to full fitness.

James was on the verge of joining Leeds in January 2019 from Swansea before a deadline-day deal collapsed.

"It's all happened in the last day or two," said James. "I got my head around it and this is where I wanted to be moving forward."

Blues call Saul

Chelsea secured the signing of Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez on a season-long loan deal with an option to buy to further strengthen Thomas Tuchel's already deep Blues squad.

"He is a proven winner, a player with huge experience and we know he will be very well-suited to the challenges that face us on all fronts in the coming year," said Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia.

Liverpool did not add to its only signing of the window, center-back Ibrahima Konate, but secured the future of captain and midfield engine Jordan Henderson on a long-term contract that runs until 2025.

Top-of-the-table Tottenham helped ease Barcelona's financial woes with a 25-million-pound deal for right-back Emerson Royal.

Another right-back is headed out of Spurs as Serge Aurier's contract was terminated to allow the Ivorian to leave on a free transfer.

At the other end of the table, rock-bottom Arsenal took its summer spending to 150 million pounds after agreeing a 20-million-pound fee with Bologna for Japanese international defender Takehiro Tomiyasu.

Hector Bellerin left the Gunners to join Real Betis on loan, while Reiss Nelson has joined Feyenoord on a season-long loan.

Hammers strengthen

West Ham has strengthened ahead of a busy season which will take in Europa League soccer with the signing of Croatia midfielder Nikola Vlasic.

The 23-year-old, who previously had an unsuccessful stint in England at Everton, joins from CSKA Moscow for a reported initial fee of 25 million pounds having been named Russian Premier League player of the year in 2020.

"I was really impressed with how determined Nikola was to become a West Ham player," said Hammers boss David Moyes. "It's that hunger and ambition that fits with what we are trying to build here at the club."

West Ham also signed Czech Republic midfielder Alex Kral on loan from Spartak Moscow.

Leicester bolstered its attacking options with the arrival of Ademola Lookman on loan from RB Leipzig.

Everton manager Rafa Benitez has signed Venezuelan striker Salomon Rondon for a third different club after spells together at Newcastle and Chinese Super League side Dalian Pro.

Rondon will replace Moise Kean, who has rejoined Juventus on a two-year loan with an obligation to buy.

Crystal Palace won the race for Celtic's French under-21 striker Odsonne Edouard for an initial fee of 15 million pounds.

And Brighton signed Spain leftback Marc Cucurella for 15 million pounds after paying his buyout clause to La Liga's Getafe.

AFP

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