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Why Welbeck was allowed to move after transfer deadline

ESPN staff
September 2, 2014 « Nishikori outlasts Raonic in record late finish | 'United identity broken by Welbeck sale' »
An in-depth look at Falcao's move

The transfer window supposedly slammed shut at 11pm on Monday, but Premier League clubs were still signing players into the small hours of Tuesday morning.

Manchester United officially announced the loan signing of Radamel Falcao from Monaco at 1.31am on Tuesday, while Arsenal needed a two-hour extension to complete a £16 million deal for Danny Welbeck from United.

Falcao and Welbeck are the latest in a long list of apparently late transfers, joining the likes of Dimitar Berbatov, Fernando Torres and Carroll in making moves after the published transfer deadline had passed.

Berbatov, then at Tottenham, was the subject of a summer-long transfer saga in 2008 as Manchester United aimed to make him their then-record signing. He eventually moved to Old Trafford in a deal worth £30.75m, which was announced almost two hours after the 11pm deadline.

Torres and Carroll were central characters in the drama of January 2011 as Chelsea signed the Spanish forward from Liverpool for £50m, which was then a British record. Liverpool responded by bringing in Carroll from Newcastle for £35m, with the deals announced around 45 minutes after the official deadline.

But the late moves of Berbatov, Torres and Carroll are nothing compared to the delay in Arsenal's capture of Andrei Arshavin - the Russian midfielder was not officially announced as an Arsenal player until almost 24 hours after the deadline had passed.

A Premier League spokesperson explained to ESPN that clubs hoping to sign a player during the summer transfer window are obliged to send the relevant documentation to the governing body before 11pm on September 1.

However, because some deals occur so late in the day, it is not always possible for a club to gather all the correct paperwork in time, so the Premier League will accept a form - known as a 'deal sheet' - confirming that a transfer will take place.

Clubs are then given extra time to provide the rest of the information needed to ratify a move, with a secondary deadline of midnight for transfers from foreign clubs, or 1am from English clubs.

"So long as a club has submitted a deal sheet by 11pm, they then have time to complete the admin that goes with a transfer," the Premier League spokesman said. "If it is a domestic transfer - such as Danny Welbeck - everything must be complete by 1am, but if it is an international transfer - such as Falcao - everything must be complete by midnight, to allow time for FIFA's transfer system."

The transfer system is used in international transfers, with the buying and selling clubs registering any deal with FIFA in order for clearance to be generated.

Finally, clubs may then opt to announce a player's arrival later than the final midnight or 1am deadlines, as was the case with United and Falcao.

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