Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang agreed a sensational free transfer from Arsenal to Barcelona to cap a frantic deadline day as clubs raced against the clock to complete their business.
It seemed talks had broken down between Arsenal and Barcelona over Aubameyang, despite the striker’s arrival in the city on Monday morning, but an agreement was finally reached after he accepted a significant pay cut to facilitate the move.
Aubameyang, who was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy following a disciplinary breach in December, had 18 months left on his contract and the club are expected to save around £25m in wages by moving him on permanently rather than on loan.
Arsenal fans were left frustrated by their failure to replace him, leaving Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah, both of whom are out of contract in the summer, as their only striking options, but there were incomings to get excited about elsewhere.
Frank Lampard’s Everton beat Crystal Palace to the loan signing of Donny van de Beek from Manchester United, then agreed a stunning deal for Tottenham’s Dele Alli worth up to £40m.
Alli heads to Goodison Park having endured a difficult spell at Spurs but, still only 25, the two-time PFA Young Player of the Year winner will hope to recapture his best form under the guidance of one of the Premier League’s greatest-ever midfielders.
Alli’s move to Everton continued a Deadline Day exodus from Spurs, with Tanguy Ndombele, Bryan Gil and Giovani Lo Celso leaving on loan for Lyon, Valencia and Villarreal respectively as head coach Antonio Conte raided his former club Juventus for two new recruits.
Winger Dejan Kulusevski arrived on an 18-month loan deal which will be made permanent for a fee of £29.2m if certain criteria are met, while midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur joined in a deal which could rise from £15m to £21.5m with add-ons.
Spurs had endured frustration earlier in the window, missing out on Wolves’ Adama Traore and Porto’s Luis Diaz as they opted to join Barcelona and Liverpool respectively, but the arrivals of Kulusevski and Bentancur provided a much-needed boost for Conte. – Sky Sports