at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London – Germany midfielder Lewis Holtby joined Fulham on loan from Tottenham for the rest of the season and Manchester United winger Wilfried Zaha completed his loan move to Cardiff as struggling English Premier League clubs reinforced their squads on Friday.
The January transfer window closes at midnight on Friday and English topflight clubs have already spent £10 million more than this time last year.
The 23-year-old Holtby arrived at White Hart Lane from Schalke a year ago in a £1.25 million deal but struggled to establish himself at Spurs. According to Holtby's agent, Marcus Noak, the player was keen on returning to the Bundesliga but his price tag was a dissuasive factor.
“A return to the Bundesliga has been shattered due to circumstances we couldn't control,” Noak said. “Fulham has put much effort into Lewis. It is a very well-run club with an excellent manager Rene Meulensteen. The system and philosophy how Fulham plays fits well with Lewis.”
Languishing in the relegation zone, Fulham achieved a real coup with the midfielder's arrival as Adel Taarabt headed to AC Milan following a disappointing spell at Craven Cottage.
Also involved in the relegation fight, Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer used his United connections to lure Zaha from Old Trafford, where the 21-year-old is judged surplus to requirements.
Zaha helped Crystal Palace secure promotion through the play-offs last year but was relegated to the bench by United.
Zaha is Cardiff's sixth January signing after Solksjaer, a former United player, reinforced his struggling squad with the addition of Fabio, Kenwyne Jones, Magnus Wolff Eikrem, Mats Moller Daehli and Jo Inge Berget since succeeding Malky Mackay.
Cardiff are in last place in the Premier League, and Solksjaer is hopeful Zaha's skills will be decisive. He said: “(He) will bring that little final bit to find pockets of space and produce a bit of magic.”
Among the big teams, United confirmed they would not make more signings before the deadline after they shattered the club record transfer by paying Chelsea £37.1 million for Spain midfielder Juan Mata last week.
“You can stand your cameras down,” United manager David Moyes told a news conference. “I don't think they will be required. We have done our business.”
Chelsea announced the signing of Saint-Etienne defender Kurt Zouma on a five-and-a-half-year deal but the 19-year-old central defender will remain on loan at the French club until the end of the season.
According to football finance experts Deloitte, Premier League clubs had spent £95 million on acquiring new players ahead of the deadline day, with gross spending at this point last season reaching £85 million.
On the final day of the window in January 2013, top-flight clubs spent £35 million. Regardless of the amount of activity on Friday, Deloitte says Premier League clubs have already set a record for transfer spending this season, which broke the £700 million mark for the first time, with spending currently at £725 million.” – Sapa-AP