Hleb arrives while Diego departs Bundesliga
Wolfsburg’s Felix Magath was Germany’s busiest coach on Wednesday as he tried to overhaul his team on the last day of the transfer window following a poor start to the season.
Already dumped out of the German Cup and struggling in the league with three loses from four games, 2009 champion Wolfsburg reacted by bringing in Alexander Hleb from Barcelona and shipping out unwanted midfielder Diego to Atletico Madrid.
Both are loan deals, with Belarus midfielder Hleb secured until Dec. 31, while Diego will stay in the Spanish capital until the end of the season at least.
“I’m convinced Diego will play an outstanding role in Madrid. I wish him all the best,” Magath said.
Wolfsburg had been pushing for a sale for the 28-year-old Brazilian, who skipped a crucial relegation battle on the final day of last season. Diego was fined and did not play for Wolfsburg again.
Magath, who trained Hleb from 2001-04 at Stuttgart, said he expected his new No. 6 to “take on an important role in the team.”
Wolfsburg also confirmed the arrival of Brazilian defender Chris, who last played for relegated Eintracht Frankfurt.
The wheeling and dealing Magath has let three defenders go - Simon Kjaer on loan to Roma with an option to buy, the 18-year-old left back Florian Hartherz to Werder Bremen, and Slovakia’s Peter Pekarik to Turkish side Kayserispor for a reported $2.2 million (R15 million).
Bremen confirmed the departure of Germany defender Per Mertesacker to English Premier League side Arsenal.
Schalke was also busy, reaching a deal with HJK Helsinki for highly rated 21-year-old Teemu Pukki.
The under-21 Finland striker caught Schalke’s eye by scoring all three goals for Helsinki in their recent Europa League playoff.
Schalke’s general manager Horst Heldt said Pukki was “a very interesting player with huge potential.”
Heldt allowed another 21-year-old striker, Switzerland’s Mario Gavranovic, to leave on loan to Mainz. Mainz retains an option to buy at the end of the season.
Meanwhile, Turkish side Besiktas said it was negotiating with Schalke for the loan of Brazilian striker Edu.
Canada striker Rob Friend is moving from Hertha Berlin to second-division side Eintracht Frankfurt on a season-long loan.
The 30-year-old Friend scored six goals in 27 appearances for Berlin.
Frankfurt also announced the signing of striker Mohamadou Idrissou from Borussia Moenchengladbach, which announced the departure of US midfielder Michael Bradley to Chievo Verona in Italy.
US defender Gale Agbossoumonde was linked with Frankfurt, and the 19-year-old’s transfer was registered with the German Football League (DFL) before its deadline, but there’s been no confirmation from the club.
Hamburger SV announced the signing of Croatia midfielder Ivo Ilicevic from Bundesliga rival Kaiserslautern, and the departure of Dutch winger Eljero Elia to Serie A’s Juventus.
Midfielder Aenis Ben-Hatira agreed a move from Hamburg to his home club Hertha Berlin.
The 23-year-old midfielder, who had a spell at Hertha as a youth player, said “I hope I can take it to the next level.”
Hertha announced the transfer of Brazilian defender Kaka to Champions League participant APOEL of Cyprus.
Kaka — not to be confused with his namesake at Real Madrid — had a previous spell on loan at APOEL city rival Omonia Nicosia.
Croatia defender Josip Simunic is moving to Dinamo Zagreb after playing 271 games in the Bundesliga. Simunic’s last club was Hoffenheim, but he also spent nine seasons at Hertha.
Hoffenheim announced the signing of 22-year-old defender Daniel Williams from Freiburg.
Meanwhile, the Bundesliga’s only unbeaten side, Hannover, signed winger Daniel Royer, described as “one of Austria’s biggest talents” by sporting director Joerg Schmadtke.