Spanish armada

The transfer window in January meant that Rafael Benitez finally got his man. Real Madrid accepted a nine million euro bid for striker, Fernando Morientes, from Liverpool. The Champion’s League’s Golden Boot winner, while on loan at Monaco last season, becomes the fifth Spanish player at Anfield following the signings of Xabi Alonso, Luis Garcia, Antonio Nunez and Josemi. Argentinian defender, Mauricio Pellegrino, also joined the Reds from Spain’s La Liga this month.

28-year-old Danish international midfielder, Thomas Graveson, did little to reverse the trend by leaving Merseyside to join Real Madrid. Everton accepted three million euros for the player who had six months of his contract remaining, rather than having to let him go without a fee in the summer. Graveson has signed a three and a half-year deal at the Bernabeau.

Chelsea manager, José Mourinho, is still searching for a dead-ball specialist. While he scours the market, Leeds’ England U21 goalkeeper Scott Carson has been snapped up for close to 700,000 euros by the Stamford Bridge outfit. His arrival could pave the way for Carlo Cudicini to return to Italy where Inter Milan head the queue for his services. The Italian is unhappy in his role as No.2 to regular ‘keeper, Petr Cech, but will not be allowed to join any of Chelsea’s main Premiership rivals for three years. One player who has already left the Blues, Adrian Mutu, will be joining Juventus on a five-year deal once his drug-related suspension finishes on May 18.

Busy wheeling and dealing in Portugal has produced three major South American signings by the ‘Big Three’. Brazilian Claudio ‘Pitbull’ will replace compratiot Derlei at Porto, his countryman, the forward ‘Mota’, has reinforced Sporting’s title challenge and young Argentinian River Plate striker, Maxi Lopez, is expected shortly at Benifca who are also sounding out the possibility of taking Kleberson off Manchester United’s hands.