A frustrating summer for the Gunners, who failed to complete any big-money moves, despite heavy interest in Gonzalo Higuain, Luis Suarez and Yohan Cabaye among others, ended on a high as they smashed their transfer record should.
For a brief period yesterday morning, United were rumoured to be planning to hijack the move but that was dismissed out of hand.
Arsenal also signed Palermo goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano on a season-long loan deal, with the Gunners having the option to make the deal permanent.
Wenger is believed to have had a long-standing interest in Viviano as he looks to create competition in between the posts for Arsenal, with Lukasz Fabianski also available as an option.
Manchester United, meanwhile, were last night struggling to stop their transfer window ending in a shambles as they battled against the clock as they sought to finalise deals for elite midfielders.
United were attempting to tie up a deal to sign Marouane Fellaini from Everton with the Belgium international attempting to force through a move to Old Trafford by handing in a transfer request at Everton.
However, United’s pursuit of Athletic Bilbao’s Ander Herrera came to a dramatic end.
Reports in Spain claimed three United officials were at Spanish league headquarters to pay the clause in Herrera’s contract that would allow him to complete an Old Trafford move. However in a bizarre development it emerged those people were not authorised to represent the Premier League champions.
Liverpool were busy early in the day, signing central defenders Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Ilori for a combined fee of about £25m as well as Chelsea winger Victor Moses on a season-long loan.
Sakho, who cost Liverpool around £18m from Paris St-Germain, said: “I came here because the project that is in place at Liverpool interests me.
“I’m really looking forward to playing my first game.”
Moses said: “The target is to get into the top four and for the club to compete in the Champions League.”
Aston Villa were also active, signing Czech Republic international striker Libor Kozak from Lazio. The 24-year-old, last season’s Europa League top goalscorer with 10 goals, has signed a four-year contract.
“We’ve been on this one for the last few months, trying to bring him to the club, so I’m delighted to get it across the line,” Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert said.
“Libor has an unbelievable scoring record in the Europa League, incredible really.”
Stoke have brought in Austrian striker Marko Arnautovic from German club Werder Bremen, while West Brom broke their transfer record by signing Sunderland forward Stephane Sessegnon on a three-year deal. They also confirmed a season-long loan deal for Marseille midfielder Morgan Amalfitano.
Stephen Ireland (Aston Villa to Stoke CIty — loan)
Under Mark Hughes at Man City, Ireland played the best football of his career. So one would hope that, having disappeared into a deep, dark hole at Villa Park under Paul Lambert, Hughes can help resurrect the Cobh man’s career. Say what you like about him off the pitch, he has the talent.
Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid to Arsenal — £42.5m)
It took most of the day for it to be confirmed but Ozil, who played a stunning role in Germany’s demolition of Ireland last October, should work brilliantly alongside Jack Wilshere. And although Arsenal probably needed to strengthen more in other departments, he’s the big name many fans craved.
Shane Long (West Brom to Hull City — £5m)
Another deal that wasn’t certain to be completed, but Long’s move from West Brom to Hull wasn’t one that we had envisaged — especially with the Baggies lacking in firepower. He will of course join a strong Irish contingent and if he can strike up an understanding with Robbie Brady, that could be a big positive for Ireland down the line.
Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea to West Brom — loan)
Suddenly, as the window entered its final hour Long’s move to Hull made more sense with the news that Lukaku is seemingly back at the Hawthorns for another season on loan. Jose Mourinho spent much of pre-season bigging him up but maybe his missed penalty against Bayern on Friday changed Mourinho’s mind.
Peter Odemwingie (West Brom to Cardiff — £2m)
He was the laughing stock of the last window, having arrived at QPR’s training ground looking for a transfer without actually telling Harry Redknapp, but Odemwingie, cast off by West Brom, finally escaped the Hawthorns for Cardiff. A player with a point to prove, he could make the Baggies regret leaving him on the sidelines.
Words: Alan Smith