Craig Bellamy will join Liverpool next week for £6m after Rafael Benítez chose to activate a get-out clause for that amount, due to expire at the end of the month, in the striker's contract with Blackburn Rovers.
The Wales international, a Liverpool supporter as a child, has proved a controversial figure in recent years, not least after his very public falling-out with the then Newcastle United manager Graeme Souness when he was at St James' Park. He will replace the outgoing Djibril Cissé at Anfield, as talks continue with Marseille to loan the injured France striker to the French club with a view to a permanent move.
Bellamy's desire to leave Ewood Park since his £5m purchase from Newcastle after a season of relative resurgence under his former Wales mentor Mark Hughes will disappoint Rovers, who had hoped to persuade the 26-year-old to remain in east Lancashire. But the clause in the striker's contract was due to expire at the end of June, after which Blackburn could have demanded a higher fee for their leading scorer from last season, with Liverpool finally choosing to make a move after months of deliberation.
The striker had made it clear he would favour joining Liverpool, who will offer him an immediate return to the Champions League, and Hughes was unable to persuade him otherwise. Even so, Benítez needed convincing that Bellamy, who scored 17 goals last season, was the right man to partner Peter Crouch on Merseyside.
Indeed, Benítez's initial plan was to pursue the Charlton Athletic striker Darren Bent. But once it became clear that Liverpool could not sell Cissé for about £8m - as had been hoped until he suffered a double fracture to his right leg in a friendly for France - those plans quickly shifted. Although Bent has enjoyed only one season in the Premiership, Bellamy actually represents a cheaper option in terms of his transfer fee and undoubtedly offers more proven pedigree.
Newcastle's manager Glenn Roeder, meanwhile, has been given an Intertoto Cup boost with his striker Shola Ameobi avoiding an operation. He was expected to have surgery this summer for a hip problem, a procedure which would have ruled him out of the European competition. Newcastle start their Intertoto campaign on the weekend of July 15 and 16.
But a specialist decided surgery was unnecessary and Roeder said: "Instead Ameobi has had a scan which highlighted the problem, and in the end, the specialist gave him an injection which we hope will clear everything up once and for all. That means Shola will be available for our Intertoto Cup match."
Alan Shearer has retired, Michael Owen is likely to be resting after his World Cup exploits and Michael Chopra left for Cardiff this week. Alberto Luque, a £9.5m signing, had a poor first season and has been widely tipped to leave Newcastle soon. Roeder is looking at Holland's striker Dirk Kuyt and several other front players.
Preston have confirmed that Paul Simpson has left Carlisle to become their manager, and Coventry have made their fifth summer signing with the £1m acquisition of Elliot Ward from West Ham.