Robinho ends City purgatory, Gyan sees the light

PARIS, Sep 1, 2010 (AFP) - Brazilian star Robinho's nightmare two year stay at Manchester City came to an agreeable conclusion for both parties on Tuesday as he signed for Serie A giants AC Milan on a frenetic final day of trading as the transfer deadline comes into force on Wednesday.

Robinho may have gone for a relative song - 18million euros as opposed to the club record 42million City paid out two years ago - but his recruitment only added to the sense of urgency at the Milan club as they seek to end bitter city rivals Inter's dominance.

This file photo taken on July 2, 2010 shows Brazil's striker Robinho controling the ball during the 2010 World Cup quarter final Netherlands vs Brazil in South Africa. AFP

Robinho - who signed a four year contract - joins Swedish super striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic as a recent signing by Milan where they will join Brazilian duo Ronaldinho and Pato as they bid to end Inter's resurgence which climaxed with the domestic double - taking their fifth successive league crown - and the Champions League title last season.

The two signings will have the red and black striped half of Milan salivating in a strikeforce that Ibrahimovic, never one for understatement, had commented prior to Robinho's signing as 'the best strikeforce in the world'.

One player who won't be part of the dream team will be Italy international striker Marco Borriello as the 28-year-old already unhappy at Ibrahimovic's arrival agreed to move to AS Roma.

Robinho, though, said he was really looking forward to being able to show his full range of skills once again as he had done when he helped Real Madrid win two league titles and in several impressive performances for Brazil at the World Cup finals.

"I am delighted to have been given this opportunity and I want to prove my worth," said the 26-year-old.

"My ambition is to play well and to help Milan regain the scudetto (the title)," added Robinho, who was a much sought after target of Milan president Silvio Berlusconi.

Milan were the only one of the big European guns to flex their financial muscle on deadline day and it was left mainly to German and mid-level English clubs to strengthen their squads with the main ambition of survival at season's end.

However, supporters of English sides Sunderland, Stoke and Birmingham will be hoping their ambitions are higher than mere survival after splashing out.

Sunderland welcome to their Stadium of Light a record signing in the form of Ghanaian star striker Asamoah Gyan, who earned a 16million euros move from French side Rennes on the back of outstanding performances for his country at the World Cup finals.

"The Sunderland coach (Steve Bruce) has faith in me because he has been following me for two years now. I am pleased I have the opportunity to come to England," said the 24-year-old.

"I follow English football and I know Sunderland have incredible fans.

"I especially know about the derby when they play against Newcastle. That is something incredible. I have witnessed that myself."

Stoke finished a highly creditable 11th on their maiden season in the Premier League last term but manager Tony Pulis showed he means to reach higher with four signings, including persuading veteran Senegalese midfielder Salif Diao to re-sign after he had originally left the club at the end of last season.

However, it will be the signings of Champions League winning Icelandic striker Eidur Gudjohnsen and highly-rated Republic of Ireland Under-21 midfielder Marc Wilson that will have the supporters purring.

"This is a great club which is on the up and so this is a positive move for me," said Wilson.

Birmingham manager Alex McLeish signed three players former Arsenal star Alexander Hleb, on a year's loan from Barcelona, Spartak Moscow defender Martin Jiranek and Chilean winger Jean Beausejour, who was outstanding at the World Cup.

German giants such as Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen kept their powder dry but Schalke 04 reacted to their haul of no points from their first two matches by signing three players.

They signed Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, for 14million euros from AC Milan, Spanish attacking midfielder Jose Manuel Jurado - who bade farewell from Atletico Madrid with a goal in their 4-0 win on Monday - and 19-year-old French defender Nicolas Plestan.

Jurado, who will play alongside idol and former Real Madrid legend Raul, for one was not in the least put off at the recent accusation by a former Schalke player Rafinha that playing under coach Felix Magath was like being in a boot camp.

"It's a train that passes once in a lifetime and I couldn't let it pass," said Jurado. "It will be an honour to play with Raul."

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