London: Christopher Samba joined Queens Park Rangers’ relegation fight and Danny Graham left Swansea City for Sunderland as the January transfer window concluded amid a flurry of activity on Thursday.
QPR manager Harry Redknapp swooped for Congolese centre-back Samba in a club-record deal reportedly worth £12.5 million ($19.7 million, 14.6 million euros), as he bids to haul the London club off the foot of the Premier League.
QPR said the former Blackburn Rovers defender had signed a four-and-a-half-year contract after arriving from Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala.
“I’m delighted to be back in the Premier League. It’s the best league in the world to play football,” Samba told the QPR website.
“I’ve been linked with the club for a long time. With Harry here though, he is really passionate and he wants to do something with the club.”
Redknapp said: “Chris is just what we need. He’s a monster. Great in the air, quick, a leader, strong, fantastic in both boxes, hard as nails. He’s a proper centre-half.”
QPR have also been linked with moves for Tottenham Hotspur midfielders David Bentley and Jermaine Jenas and Stoke City striker Peter Crouch, who has played under Redknapp at three previous clubs.
QPR have created space in their squad by allowing Argentine midfielder Alejandro Faurlin to join Italian side Palermo on loan.
Sunderland announced the capture of Graham in a £5 million switch from League Cup finalists Swansea.
The 27-year-old striker, who had lost his place in the Swans’ starting XI to Spanish close-season signing Michu, has signed a three-and-a-half-year contract at the Stadium of Light, allowing the Black Cats to release French forward Louis Saha by mutual consent.
“As soon as I heard about the interest from Sunderland, I didn’t even have to consider any of the other options that were on the table,” Graham told the Sunderland website.
“I was born and brought up in the north-east (of England) so I know first-hand the intense passion that people have for their football in this part of the world — it’s special and there’s nowhere else like it.”
The Premier League also bade farewell to trouble-prone Italian striker Mario Balotelli, who completed a £19 million move to AC Milan after falling out of favour at champions Manchester City.
Norwich City announced that they had agreed to sign Argentine forward Luciano Becchio from second-tier Leeds United in a part-exchange deal that will see Wales international striker Steve Morison move in the opposite direction.
The move, subject to the completion of the relevant paperwork, will see Becchio arrive at Carrow Road on a three-and-a-half-year contract.
“I cannot wait to play my first game for Norwich,” he told the club website.
“I am really happy about having the chance to play in the Premier League, it is brilliant for me personally and for my career.”
Fulham completed a loan move for AC Milan utility player Urby Emanuelson, while Austrian Paul Scharner returned to Wigan Athletic on loan from German side Hamburg.
Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes joined German side Hoffenheim on loan until the end of the season after falling out of favour following a string of high-profile errors.
Liverpool goalkeeper Alexander Doni returned to his native Brazil to join Botafogo on a free transfer, while Newcastle boss Alan Pardew continued a busy January by signing Swiss teenager Kevin Mbabu from Servette for an undisclosed fee.
Aston Villa snapped up French midfielder Yacouba Sylla from Ligue 2 side Clermont Foot.
Samba joins QPR, Graham heads to Sunderland