Market calm as storm approaches
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The early days of August traditionally see the transfer market experience a slight drop-off in pace before the usual pre-season flurry of last-minute enhancements and acquisitions. This year has been no different, as the interesting but generally unspectacular movements of the last two weeks have proved. FIFA.com rounds up all the latest transfer news.

He may not be a regular starter for Spain, but Santi Cazorla can still boast two UEFA European Championship medals from La Roja’s successes in 2008 and 2012, and only missed out on their 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ triumph due to injury. In recruiting the attacking midfielder from Malaga, Arsenal have made a formidable addition to their squad.

London rivals Chelsea have also picked up a world champion in the shape of Brazilian FIFA U-20 World Cup winner Oscar, who has joined from Porto Alegre-based Internacional.

Everton, meanwhile, have been looking closer to home for reinforcements, registering the return of Steven Pienaar, who left the Toffees 18 months ago for Tottenham Hotspur. The South African will hope to aid fans in getting over the departure of Australian midfielder Tim Cahill, who has crossed the Atlantic to sign for New York Red Bulls.

Another player turning his back on English football is Alberto Aquilani. It will not be a novel feeling for the ex-Roma midfield man, who arrived at Liverpool in 2009, but only played one season at Anfield before being loaned out to Juventus and then AC Milan. This season, the Italian will defend the colours of Fiorentina.

La Viola have been particularly busy in the transfer market in recent weeks, bringing in Argentinian defender Gonzalo Rodriguez and Spanish midfielder Borja Valero, neither of whom were keen to remain with newly relegated Villarreal, as well as Sporting Lisbon’s Chilean playmaker, Matias Fernandez, and Palermo goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano.

Villarreal have had difficulty hanging on to their former stars, and the names of the departing players only serve as a reminder of the resources El Submarino Amarillo had at their disposal to avoid the dreaded drop last season. Carlos Marchena, for example, lifted the FIFA World Cup™ in 2010. His experience will be of great value to new employers Deportivo, as the Galicians make their return to the Spanish top flight.

The La Coruna outfit’s backroom staff have placed their trust in youth, more specifically in Portuguese international forward Nelson Oliveira, loaned out by Benfica, and Roderick Miranda. Both players reached the final of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2011. In the plane that transports them to Spain, they may well bump into 2010 FIFA World Cup winner Joan Capdevila, who has brought a year in Lisbon to a close by putting pen to paper with Espanyol.

Heading away from Spanish shores will be one of La Liga’s most promising talents, Salomon Rondon, whose performances with Malaga over the last two campaigns have raised eyebrows in Andalusia and beyond. The Venezuelan front man has signed for Rubin Kazan to perform in an increasingly high-profile Russian league.

Russian giants Spartak Moscow have captured Argentinian centre-back Juan Insaurralde from Boca Juniors and Swedish midfielder Kim Kallstrom from Lyon, while city rivals Lokomotiv and CSKA have acquired Senegalese striker Dame N’Doye from Copenhagen and Swedish creative fulcrum Rasmus Elm from AZ Alkmaar respectively.

In Germany, there have been very few notable moves. After spending six years in England with Wigan and then West Bromwich Albion, Austrian international Paul Scharner has opted to join Hamburg. Werder Bremen have secured attack-minded Belgian Kevin De Bruyne on loan from Chelsea, and Hoffenheim have enlisted Real Madrid reserve forward Joselu.

Further east in Turkey, skilful Serbian winger Milos Krasic has left Juventus for Fenerbahce, while in Ukraine, Dynamo Kiev will look to take advantage of the shooting power of Nigerian defender Taye Taiwo, whose previous clubs include Marseille and AC Milan.

Finally, as is the case every year, numerous players have chosen to return home in order to take on one final challenge. Imposing centre-back Daniel Majstorovic will represent AIK Solna in his native Sweden during the coming campaign, eight years after having parted ways with Malmo to enjoy fruitful spells with Twente, Basel, AEK Athens and Celtic.

Similarly, Argentinian left-back Diego Placente, now 35 years of age, has agreed a move to Argentinos Juniors, where he began his career in 1995, having spent last term with Uruguayan heavyweights Nacional. Chilean stopper Waldo Ponce has also succumbed to the pull of his homeland and his first professional club, boosting the ranks of Santiago outfit Universidad de Chile, after turning out for Mexican team Cruz Azul during season 2011/12.