Transfer train keeps rolling
There may still be a month to go before the transfer window slams shut, but with the start of the season in Europe's biggest leagues drawing ever closer there has been no shortage of market activity. FIFA.com brings you up to date on the main movers of recent weeks, including the remarkable deal that saw two of the world's finest forwards swap homes.
Though very close to the Camp Nou exit door last summer, many felt that Samuel Eto'o's goal-laden displays during Barcelona's treble-winning 2008/09 campaign would have smoothed relations between player and club. It was not to be however and the Cameroon hitman has headed to Italian giants Inter Milan in the deal that has made Swedish goal-getter Zlatan Ibrahimovic, that scourge of Serie A defences, part of Josep Guardiola's formidable Barça squad.
Despite their dominance on the Italian scene in recent years, the UEFA Champions League crown has steadfastly eluded the Nerazzurri. For that reason, Eto'o's signing could prove a master stroke, given the fiery front-runner has pocketed Champions League winners' medals in two of the last four seasons. "I've come to give it everything I've got and to win the Champions League," said the three-time African player of the year. "I've been fortunate enough to spend 13 years in Spain. Now I'm ready to begin a new adventure." Following Eto'o to Italy is another Barcelona squad member, Uruguayan defender Martin Caceres, who has moved on loan to Juventus.
Also leaving the European champions are Belarus midfielder Alexander Hleb, who returns to Stuttgart four years after changing the Bundesliga outfit for Arsenal, and Brazilian attacking starlet Keirrison, who recently joined Barça from Palmeiras and has promptly been loaned to Benfica to garner experience. At the Lisbon club he will meet another youngster who arrived direct from a Spanish giant in the shape of Javi Garcia, signed from Real Madrid. Los Merengues are attempting to trim their squad after buying a host of new faces, the latest being Liverpool full-back Alvaro Arbeloa.
Another to depart the Bernabeu is defender Gabriel Heinze, who joins Marseille for a second spell in French football. The rugged Argentinian was previously at OM's fierce rivals Paris Saint-Germain between 2001 and 2004. He will be joined at the Velodrome by another Spanish speaker, former Madrid and Liverpool striker Fernando Morientes, whose contract at Valencia had expired. Other teams making waves in France are Lyon, who have poached powerful forward Bafetimbi Gomis from local rivals St Etienne, and champions Bordeaux, for whom Lorient defender Mickael Ciani will replace the Marseille-bound Souleymane Diawara.
One of those saying adieu to France is OM's captain last season, tireless Albanian midfielder Lorik Cana, freshly signed by English Premier League side Sunderland. But it is Manchester City who continue to make the news in England, after raiding Arsenal for Côte d'Ivoire defender Kolo Toure and Togo forward Emmanuel Adebayor to go with fellow big-name summer signings Carlos Tevez, Gareth Barry and Roque Santa Cruz. This surfeit of strikers has inevitably led to departures, with Felipe Caicedo and Valeri Bojinov loaned to Sporting Lisbon and Parma respectively and Brazil international Elano sold to Galatasaray. Tottenham, for their part, have clinched the signature of England target man Peter Crouch from Portsmouth, a player who started his career at White Hart Lane but left before making a first-team appearance.
Another returning to familiar territory is midfielder Tim Borowski, who returns to first love Werder Bremen just one year on from switching to Bayern Munich. Borowski, who has 33 Germany caps, made 169 appearances for Werder between 2000 and 2008. Czech defender David Rozehnal will get his first taste of the Bundesliga after ending his 18-month spell at Lazio by switching to Hamburg, while Maniche, one of Portugal's stars at UEFA EURO 2004, will be hoping to reignite his career at Cologne after lacklustre spells with Dinamo Moscow, Chelsea, Inter and Atletico de Madrid. Prolific Argentinian Lucas Barrios also faces a tough task, with the former Colo Colo man chosen by Borussia Dortmund to replace Swiss sharpshooter Alexander Frei. Involved in a Dutch merry-go-round were Borussia Monchengladbach who have signed Roda's experienced Dutchman Marcel Meeuwis to replace veteran countryman Patrick Paauwe, the latter returning to the Netherlands with VVV-Venlo.
Turning to South America, we have two Brazil internationals leaving their homeland for European shores. Internacional de Porto Alegre striker Nilmar, once of Lyon, has moved to Villarreal while Corinthians' left-back Andre Santos heads to Fenerbahce. Boca Juniors, meanwhile, have sold Argentinian defender Facundo Roncaglia to Barcelona side Espanyol.
Going in the opposite direction is another Argentinian defender, Leandro Cufre, who has drawn a line under an eight-year sojourn in Europe to return to first club Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata. And finally we have Getafe's Ecuadorian flyer Joffre Guerron, a Copa Libertadores winner in 2008 with Liga de Quito, who joins Brazilian club Cruzeiro and FC Porto's Colombian forward Wason Renteria, who will boost the attack at another Brasileiro team: Atletico-MG.