Arsenal sign new players to get season going

Arsenal responded to their dismal start to the Premier League season on Tuesday by signing South Korean striker Park Chu-young and German defender Per Mertesacker on the penultimate day of the transfer window.

Manchester City meanwhile were linked with the surprise capture of injury-plagued midfielder Owen Hargreaves. Some $560 million has already been spent by Premier League clubs since the end of last season, a figure set to rise even higher as the final transfers before January are completed by 0800 AEST on Thursday.

Arsenal have been under the greatest pressure from their fans to bolster their squad after seeing almost $94 million come in for midfielders Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri this month. Now manager Arsene Wenger is starting to spend some of it after Arsenal collected just one point from their first three league matches, with Sunday’s 8-2 rout by Manchester United the most goals conceded by the team since 1896.

The first of several expected deals to be completed was Park, the South Korea captain moving to north London after three seasons with Monaco. Werder Bremen general manager Klaus Allofs has also confirmed the transfer of Germany defender Per Mertesacker to Arsenal. An official announcement is expected on Wednesday, following the completion of some final details between the clubs.

German media says Arsenal will pay around $13.6 million for the central defender who is entering the final year of his contract with Bremen. The 26-year-old Mertesacker will reportedly receive a contract until 2015. Wenger is also trying to further strengthen the defence with Brazilian left-back Andre Santos. If the 28-year-old Santos leaves Fenerbahce, he will help fill the void left by the departure of Gael Clichy to Manchester City and Armand Traore to Queens Park Rangers.

Big-spending City have been one of the busiest clubs again this summer as Roberto Mancini spends Abu Dhabi owner Sheikh Mansour’s cash on talent including Sergio Aguero and Nasri.

The club’s biggest gamble could be about to be made by signing Hargreaves, who was released by Manchester United after four injury-restricted seasons. Surgery on both knees restricted the 30-year-old former Bayern Munich player to just four appearances in the last three years. The former England international was unable to find a club before the season started and posted videos on YouTube to prove his fitness. But on Tuesday, Hargreaves was pictured going into a Manchester hospital for a City medical examination. “He hasn’t played as much as he would have liked over the last couple of seasons but the medical team we have is very good and very strong. If we can get him fit, I’m sure it won’t be very long before he is back to his best,” said City defender Joleon Lescott.

City share the Premier League lead with Manchester United after thrashing Tottenham 5-1 on Sunday. It was a result that exposed Tottenham’s shortcomings and now the club are finalising the signing of England midfielder Scott Parker after he handed in a transfer request at West Ham.

Liverpool have completed the $10.79 million signing of Uruguay defender Sebastian Coates from Nacional de Montevideo, according to international – and now Anfield – team-mate Luis Suarez. Kenny Dalglish had already shored up Liverpool’s defence by signing Jose Enrique from Newcastle and the north east club signed a replacement No.3 on Tuesday with Italy defender Davide Santon joining from Inter Milan penning a five-year deal.

Elsewhere, Wigan signed 29-year-old Spanish winger Albert Crusat from Almeria on a two-year contract and German goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel, 32, joined Swansea on a two-year contract after being a free agent since leaving Austrian club Red Bull Salzburg.

by Buford Balony

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