Martinez relieved over Fellaini

Everton manager Roberto Martinez is relieved that the buyout clause in Marouane Fellaini’s contract expired at the end of July.

The Belgium midfielder, along with team-mate Leighton Baines, has been linked with a move away from Goodison Park this summer, with both players reported targets of Manchester United manager David Moyes, who knows both well from his time with the Toffees.

Martinez said: “Marouane had a buyout clause where it was very straightforward. If someone met that valuation, the club had no say.

“That finished on July 31 so you can imagine during that period everyone was a bit expectant about what would happen. Once that date went, you just focus on working for the next season.”

Bent close to Fulham loan move

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has confirmed striker Darren Bent has undergone a medical at Fulham with a view to a season-long loan deal.

Crystal Palace had seemingly been on the verge of signing the 29-year-old until Eagles manager Ian Holloway announced yesterday that Bent had chosen Craven Cottage over Selhurst Park. Fulham boss Martin Jol was reticent to comment in detail, but Lambert confirmed a deal — with the intention of it becoming permanent next summer — is close.

Baggies continue Sinclair chase

West Brom boss Steve Clarke has confirmed talks are ongoing between the club and Manchester City over Blues winger Scott Sinclair.

Albion are reportedly looking to take Sinclair, who joined City from Swansea last summer but then made only three starts over the 2012-13 campaign, on a season-long loan.

Asked about the 24-year-old, Clarke said: “I know there was initial contact between the clubs and I know there has been continued contact between the clubs.

“Beyond that, I don’t know if we are close to a deal or if we are far away from a deal.”

Crystal Palace sign keeper Alexander

Crystal Palace have confirmed the free signing of experienced goalkeeper Neil Alexander on a one-year deal.

The 35-year-old left Rangers after his contract expired at the end of last season and it is expected he will provide back-up to Julian Speroni as manager Ian Holloway looks to guide the Eagles to Premier League safety on their return to the top flight.

Alexander, who has three Scotland caps and has also represented Cardiff and Ipswich during his career, stayed at Ibrox last summer despite Rangers’ demotion to Division Three, but left the club at the start of the summer and is looking forward to getting to work at Selhurst Park.

He said: I’m really looking forward to the season ahead and I can’t wait to get started.”

Alexander becomes Holloway’s eighth summer signing and joins Stephen Dobbie, Dwight Gayle, Jerome Thomas, Jose Campana, Kevin Phillips, Elliot Grandin and Marouane Chamakh in penning deals with the club.

Spurs seal Capoue deal

Tottenham have reached an agreement with Toulouse to sign France midfielder Etienne Capoue.

The 25-year-old had been linked with a move to White Hart Lane for some time and will now link up with Andre Villas-Boas’ squad with the new Premier League season just a day away.

Capoue, who has seven full caps for France, made his Toulouse debut in 2007 and went on to become one of their most important players. He was also named in the Ligue 1 Team of the Year in 2012 alongside new Spurs team-mate Hugo Lloris.

The Frenchman becomes Tottenham’s fourth major acquisition of the summer following moves for Paulinho, Nacer Chadli and Roberto Soldado.

Bruce buoyed by Hull signings

Hull manager Steve Bruce believes the arrival of Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore at the KC Stadium will make the rest of the Premier League “sit up and take notice” of his side.

Bruce brought the midfield duo in from Tottenham on Wednesday, Huddlestone on a permanent deal and Livermore on a season-long loan, shelling out in the region of £5.25m in the process.

“To agree a fee with Tottenham and then to persuade the two boys to come here, to enjoy playing here, we’re delighted with the business we’ve done,” Bruce said.

“It just shows what the Premier League is all about. To get two England players to come here at this time is terrific for us.

“Every manager is never, ever satisfied and I’d be happy with one more in but if we didn’t do anything else then we’ve done very, very well with what we have managed to bring in.

“It’s given us a huge chance of staying in the division, especially these two; this has got everyone to sit up and take notice of what we’re trying to do.”

Granero joins Sociedad

Esteban Granero has joined Primera Division club Real Sociedad on a season-long loan deal from QPR.

The 26-year-old midfielder left Real Madrid for west London last August in a reported £9m deal but could not help Harry Redknapp’s men avoid relegation from the Premier League at the end of the 2012/13 season.

The Basque outfit confirmed Granero had passed a medical in London yesterday and will travel to San Sebastian today ahead of his official presentation.

Sociedad face Lyon in the Champions League play-offs after finishing fourth in the Primera Division last season.

Former Spain U21 international Granero, who can play in the centre of midfield or in a more advance role, will bolster coach Jagoba Arrasate’s options after Asier Illarramendi joined Real Madrid for €38.9m last month.

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