TOTTENHAM were last night sweating on clearance to make the signing of Rafael van der Vaart the biggest coup of transfer deadline day as the window closed in unexpected drama.
Manager Harry Redknapp revealed he became aware of Real Madrid midfielder Van der Vaart’s availability for a cut-price £8 million (€9.6m) just two hours before the 6pm cut-off.
But, late last night, there was still no confirmation from either club that the move had been completed in time.
Redknapp claimed 27-year-old Van der Vaart had been set to join Bayern Munich for £18m (€21.7m) but the move broke down.
“We have been trying to do something but we are waiting to see if it has all gone through and we are hoping it has,’’ Redknapp said.
“It’s something to do with clearance.
“I think he was going to Bayern Munich yesterday for £18m (€21.7m) and suddenly he became much cheaper.
“They let me know around 4pm that he was available for £8m (€9.6m) and, for that money, he is a top player who will definitely improve us.
“The fee has come crashing down because the deadline is so close. He’s a great passer of the ball, he’s a top footballer, he will join in here and be a big plus for us.”
Elsewhere Sunderland boss Steve Bruce smashed the club’s transfer record in a £13m (€15.7m)deadline day swoop for Ghanaian World Cup star Asamoah Gyan.
Bruce finally got his hands on the striker with just 20 minutes of the transfer window to spare when the 24-year-old completed his move from French Ligue 1 side Rennes.
Bruce is optimistic Gyan, who has signed a four-year contract at the Stadium of Light, will have a big impact at the club.
He said: “As anyone who has watched Ghana recently or who watched the World Cup will tell you, Asamoah is a real livewire.
“Asamoah really wants to be here and in the Barclays Premier League, so I’m delighted he has joined us.”
In one of the day’s other big transfers, Robinho’s unhappy spell at Manchester City came to an end when the Brazilian signed for AC Milan on a four-year deal for an undisclosed fee, variously reported as between £14m (€16.9m) and £18m (€21.7m).
Robinho joined City two years ago from Real Madrid for a British record transfer fee of £32.5m, but never lived up to the club’s lofty expectations.
Birmingham have signed former Arsenal midfielder Alexander Hleb on a season-long loan deal.
Hleb made 89 appearances for Arsenal before leaving the club to join Barcelona two years ago. The Belarus international has struggled for first-team football in Catalonia, however, and was also farmed out on a season-long loan, to German side Stuttgart, last season.
Manager Alex McLeish described Hleb’s arrival as a “major signing’’, less than a week after they missed out on securing the services of Wigan winger Charles N’Zogbia.
“Hleb is a top quality player — one who at one stage we’d only actually dreamed about really,” McLeish said.
“This is a major signing for us and we are very happy to have him here.’’
Hleb was one of three deadline day signings for Birmingham who also completed the captures of Czech defender Martin Jiranek and Chile winger Jean Beausejour.
Stoke City have confirmed the arrivals of Eidur Gudjohnsen, Ireland’s Marc Wilson and Jermaine Pennant.
The trio, who were locked in talks throughout transfer deadline day, have all agreed deals which will take them to the Britannia Stadium.
Former Chelsea and Barcelona forward Gudjohnsen has joined on a season-long loan from Monaco, while Wilson has been snapped up from Portsmouth. The deal for Wilson sees Republic of Ireland international Liam Lawrence and David Kitson head in the opposite direction to Fratton Park.
Pennant arrives on loan from Spanish outfit Real Zaragoza.<
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