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Newcastle breaks transfer record; Spurs still not spending

February 1, 2019
FILE - In this file photo dated Sunday, June 24, 2018, Atlanta United midfielder Miguel Almiron in action against the Portland Timbers during an MLS soccer match, in Atlanta, USA. Miguel Almiron, one of the star players in U.S. Major League Soccer, became the most expensive signing in Newcastle’s 127-year history on Thursday Jan. 31, 2019, when he moved to the English Premier League club for a reported U.S. dollars 27 million on transfer deadline day. (AP Photo/Brett Davis, FILE)

As the Premier League riches have soared, so has transfer spending by most clubs. Tottenham and Newcastle are exceptions.

After 14 years, Newcastle has finally broken its transfer record again. Paraguay midfielder Miguel Almiron joined from Atlanta United for a reported fee of more than 20 million pounds ($26 million) on Thursday as the January transfer window closed.

Not even at his stingiest has Newcastle owner Mike Ashley failed to sign a single player across a Premier League season.

Tottenham, which is owned by British businessman Joe Lewis, achieved that feat by making no additions on Thursday. In doing so, Tottenham became the first team to fail to sign a player in the season’s two transfer windows since the system was introduced 16 years ago.

The cost of the new, delayed stadium is hampering manager Mauricio Pochettino’s ambitions in the transfer market. It is not always obvious on the pitch. Tottenham is only seven points behind leader Liverpool and two behind the most expensively-assembled squad of all time: Manchester City. Tottenham will also contest the upcoming round of 16 in the Champions League.

But with striker Harry Kane out injured until March, Tottenham had been linked with a move for Michy Batshuayi from Chelsea. Instead the Belgium forward will spend the second half of the season on loan at Crystal Palace to help the south London club’s survival hopes and give some assistance still to Chelsea’s ambitions.

Batshuayi’s goals could have a key say on how the top four ends up, with Palace still to play Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City and Tottenham. Chelsea last week signed Gonzalo Higuain on loan from Juventus, but Liverpool and United made no additions over the last month.

There was a signing in north London on Thursday. Denis Suarez joined Arsenal on loan from Barcelona until the end of the season, reuniting the versatile Spain midfielder with manager Unai Emery after working together at Sevilla in the 2014-15 season.

But deadline day passed without any blockbuster deals. A closer look at the January transfer window across Europe:

ENGLAND

Since buying Newcastle in 2007, Ashley has refused to sanction a transfer costing in excess of the 16 million pounds the club paid Real Madrid for England striker Michael Owen in 2005 amid fan protests.

That Ashley finally relented to sign Almiron underlines Newcastle’s belief in one of the star players in Major League Soccer. Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez targeted Almiron a year ago, before the playmaker helped lead Atlanta to the MLS Cup and was runner-up for the league’s MVP award after scoring 13 goals and assisting 13 more.

“I appreciate he has had to wait longer than he would have liked,” Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley said of Benitez. “I would like to thank Rafa for his patience in waiting for a player he has coveted for so long.”

The fee is a record for an MLS player and represents good business for Atlanta, which had to move Almiron on after signing South American player of year Pity Martinez. MLS only allows three designated players to have a salary above the cap, and the signing of Pity gave them four — the others being Josef Martinez and Ezequiel Barco.

Almiron began his career at Cerro Porteno in Paraguay and also played for Club Atletico Lanus in Argentina before moving to Atlanta, where he was a two-time MLS Best XI selection, a two-time MLS All-Star and the 2017 Newcomer of the Year.

Wolverhampton Wanderers completed the permanent signing of Jonny Otto from Atletico Madrid, with the left back having been on loan at the promoted team this season. Wolves has reportedly paid a club-record 18 million pounds ($24 million) for Otto, who was recently called up by Spain.

Manchester City signed 18-year-old midfielder Ante Palaversa from Hajduk Split and allowed him to immediately rejoin the Croatian side on loan until the end of the 2019-20 season.

GERMANY

Frustrated by lack of opportunities in the Premier League, the best of England’s young talent is turning to the Bundesliga for a chance to shine. Three more this week followed in the footsteps of Jadon Sancho, who joined Borussia Dortmund as a 17-year-old from Manchester City in 2017.

Arsenal let the 18-year-old midfielder Emile Smith-Rowe join Leipzig and Augsburg signed 20-year-old defender Reece Oxford from West Ham, with both deals on Thursday loans until the end of the season. Schalke signed 18-year-old winger Rabbi Matondo from Man City.

Eintracht Frankfurt was the busiest among the Bundesliga’s 18 clubs on Thursday with three new signings, all defenders. Frankfurt, fifth and pushing for Champions League qualification, signed Almamy Toure from French struggler Monaco, Martin Hinteregger from league rival Augsburg and Brazilian defender Tuta from Sao Paulo.

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Shinji Kagawa turned down a move to Hannover to join Turkish side Besiktas on loan to the end of the season.

FRANCE

Deadline-day ended in frustration for Paris Saint-Germain with the failure to sign midfielder Idrissa Gueye from Premier League club Everton.

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel was keen to strengthen his midfield with two players, because Marco Verratti is recovering from an ankle injury and Adrien Rabiot’s sidelined because of an ongoing transfer wrangle. But PSG signed only Argentina midfielder Leandro Paredes from Zenit St. Petersburg on Tuesday

Monaco was busy, sending Belgium midfielder Youri Tielemans on loan to Leicester until the end of the season with Adrien Silva going in the opposite direction, also on loan.

SPAIN

Real Madrid is yet to make a major signing since losing Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus last year, despite sitting third in the Spanish league. The 19-year-old winger Brahim Diaz, who failed to get enough first-team opportunities with Manchester City, was the only January recruit.

Barcelona brought in promising Netherlands midfielder Frenkie De Jong, although the 21-year-old midfielder won’t start playing for the Catalan club until next season as part of the transfer deal with Ajax that could cost 86 million euros ($99 million). The Spanish leaders did bring in defender Jeison Murillo and striker Kevin-Prince Boateng to join the squad immediately.

Second-place Atletico Madrid’s only major signing was bringing Alvaro Morata in on loan from Chelsea to bolster its attacking options.

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Tales Azzoni in Madrid, Jerome Pugmire in Paris and Ciaran Fahey in Berlin contributed to this report.

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