Football: Manchester City clear decks as transfer deadline nears

Joe Hart shakes hands with a supporter upon his arrival for a medical check in Turin on Aug 30, 2016, before joining Torino.
Joe Hart shakes hands with a supporter upon his arrival for a medical check in Turin on Aug 30, 2016, before joining Torino.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Manchester City allowed Joe Hart, Samir Nasri and Wilfried Bony to leave on season-long loan deals on Wednesday (Aug 31) as the transfer deadline approached across Europe.

England goalkeeper Hart completed his move to Italian side Torino, French midfielder Nasri joined Europa League champions Sevilla and Bony pitched up at City's Premier League rivals Stoke City.

Spending by Premier League clubs has broken through the one billion pounds (S$1.8 billion) barrier in one window for the first time and English sides remained busy on deadline day.

"Suddenly (in) my career has been an important turning: it was a sign," Hart said in a statement on Torino's English-language website.

"Torino's offer came in the right moment, with the right manner."

Hart and Nasri are former City stalwarts, while Ivory Coast striker Bony arrived from Swansea City last year at a cost of £25 million.

All three have been deemed surplus to requirements by new City manager Pep Guardiola, who has rejuvenated his squad with eight new signings.

Another City outcast, French centre-back Eliaquim Mangala, was reportedly due to sign for Valencia in another loan switch.

Brazil defender David Luiz was reported to be dashing to London to re-sign for Chelsea, the club he left to join Paris Saint-Germain in 2014.

The shaggy-haired centre-back became the world's most expensive defender when PSG paid £50 million to prise him from Chelsea two years ago.

But he has been tipped to lose his place to compatriot Marquinhos at the French champions and appears to have been given a chance to return to Stamford Bridge by new Chelsea manager Antonio Conte.

British media reports said Chelsea had agreed to pay around £32 million for the 29-year-old, who can also play in midfield.

Meanwhile, Sunderland signed 22-year-old Gabon midfielder Didier Ndong from French side Lorient for a confirmed club-record fee of €16 million (S$24.3 million).

"I am very proud and happy to sign for Sunderland," Ndong told the club website.

"Maybe the Sunderland fans don't know me yet, but I promise that they will quickly discover that I will give everything for them and the club."

Mario Balotelli, Moussa Sissoko and Jack Wilshere were among the other players reportedly set for pastures new.

Balotelli, Liverpool's wayward Italian striker, was on the verge of joining French club Nice on a season-long loan, having spent last season on loan at former club AC Milan.

Newcastle United midfielder Sissoko, 27, was given permission to leave France's Clairefontaine training base in order to complete a transfer.

Newcastle, relegated from the Premier League last season, were reported to have rebuffed an initial £16 million bid for Sissoko from Tottenham Hotspur.

Arsenal midfielder Wilshere, 24, was reportedly mulling over loan offers from Bournemouth and Crystal Palace after slipping down the pecking order at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal allowed German winger Serge Gnabry to join Werder Bremen, having finalised moves for German defender Shkodran Mustafi and Spanish striker Lucas Perez on Tuesday.

Champions Leicester City were closing in on a deal for Sporting Lisbon striker Islam Slimani, who was allowed to leave Algeria's training camp in Algiers to undergo a medical.

Analysts predict European spending will easily be the highest yet when the two-month transfer window closes, between 1600 GMT for the Bundesliga and 2200 GMT for the Premier League.

Flush from the proceeds of a new £5.14 billion domestic television rights deal, English clubs have led the way.

Manchester United set a new world record with an £89 million deal to bring French midfielder Paul Pogba back to the club from Juventus.

Christian Heidel, sporting director for German club Schalke, said the Premier League has forced up prices everywhere.

"If English managers are on the phone, then the sums are automatically higher," Heidel said on a talk show for Kicker magazine.

"If the negotiations are within Germany, then it is often difficult to exclude the higher sums from England."