Arsene Wenger embarked on a last-ditch spending spree on transfer deadline day as the under-pressure Arsenal boss signed Mikel Arteta, Andre Santos, Per Mertesacker and Yossi Benayoun, while Manchester City completed their shock swoop for injury-plagued midfielder Owen Hargreaves.
Wenger has been feeling the heat since his side's humiliating 8-2 defeat at Manchester United on Sunday and he reacted by splashing out around £24 million on a quartet of new faces on Wednesday.
He paid £10 million for Everton midfielder Arteta in an attempt to fill the void left by Cesc Fabregas's move to Barcelona. The Frenchman also landed Brazilian full-back Santos from Fenerbahce for £6.2 million and Werder Bremen centre-back Mertesacker for around £8 million as he tries to shore up his leaky defence.
Chelsea midfielder Benayoun was Wenger's other signing, arriving on loan for the rest of the season - effectively to replace Samir Nasri after he joined Manchester City - while Danish striker Nicklas Bendtner left Arsenal for a loan spell at Sunderland.
Meanwhile City took a gamble on Hargreaves, released by local rivals Manchester United at the end of last season after the champions rejected his offer to play for free following a miserable four-year spell at Old Trafford. The former England star suffered a series of knee injuries following his move to United from Bayern Munich in 2007 and spent much of the close-season trying to convince potential employers he was still capable of playing.
City believe Hargreaves is completely recovered from his knee operations and they put the finishing touches to the one-year contract after the 30-year-old passed an extensive medical over the last 24 hours.
Elsewhere, Tottenham signed England midfielder Scott Parker from West Ham in a deal believed to be worth £6 million. Redknapp was able to hang onto Croatia midfielder Luka Modric despite a £40 million offer from Chelsea on Tuesday, but England striker Peter Crouch followed Spurs team-mate Wilson Palacios to Stoke after the Honduras midfielder completed a £6 million switch to the FA Cup finalists. Stoke boss Tony Pulis also secured Birmingham striker Cameron Jerome on a four-year contract.
With Chelsea failing to get Modric, the Blues made a £12 million swoop for Liverpool midfielder Raul Meireles, who handed in a transfer request to force through a deal shortly before the window closed at 2200GMT. Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish brought Craig Bellamy back to Anfield four years after the Wales striker left the club. Bellamy, who spent the 2006/07 season at Liverpool, had been unwanted at Manchester City since last season when he went on loan to Cardiff after falling out with boss Roberto Mancini.
England winger Joe Cole, who failed to shine at Liverpool following his free transfer from Chelsea in 2010, joined French champions Lille in a surprise season-long loan deal. Another Liverpool midfielder, Christian Poulsen, was also on the move to France as the Denmark international joined Evian on a one-year contract.
Everton responded to Arteta's exit by signing Dutch midfielder Royston Drenthe from Real Madrid on a season-long loan. The Merseysiders also secured striker Denis Stracqualursi on season-long loan from Argentinian side Tigres.
Blackburn signed Birmingham centre-back Scott Dann on a four-year contract, QPR brought in Manchester City winger Shaun Wright-Phillips and Sunderland defender Anton Ferdinand, while Swansea signed Fulham defender Rafik Halliche on loan.
Wigan signed Scotland forward Shaun Maloney from Celtic and also snapped up young Chelsea defender Patrick van Aanholt on a season-long loan.
Aston Villa signed Scotland defender Alan Hutton from Tottenham on a permanent deal, while his club colleague Jermaine Jenas secured a loan move to Villa Park for the rest of the season.