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Titans take window of opportunity

With the transfer window a week old, uefa.com looks at how a number of UEFA Champions League contenders have already moved to strengthen.

A week after the January transfer window opened and a number of the UEFA Champions League contenders have already strengthened their squads ahead of the knockout stages of the competition.

Maniche arrival
Portuguese midfielder Maniche has joined Chelsea FC on a six-month loan as cover for Michael Essien and Geremi who, along with striker Didier Drogba, are due at the African Cup of Nations, although Essien's involvement is unlikely because of injury. English Premiership rivals Liverpool FC have signed Jan Kromkamp from Villarreal CF in a deal that sees Spanish right-back Josemi move in the opposite direction, but neither will be eligible for European competition.

Madrid strength
But those deals have been eclipsed by events at the Santiago Bernabéu, and when the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 kicks off on 21 February, Real Madrid CF's starting XI against Arsenal FC could include two new faces. The arrival of Cicinho came as little surprise as the Brazilian defender signed an agreement in November, but the capture of Antonio Cassano in a deal thought to be in the region of €5m represents something of a coup.

New ruling
The Italian striker has already played in the UEFA Cup this season for AS Roma but, under the terms of a new ruling by UEFA, each club can now register one player who has already represented another side in Europe provided they took part in a different competition. SL Benfica could also benefit from this clause, as they have brought in goalkeeper Moretto from one-time UEFA Cup hopefuls Vitória FC.

Benfica brimming
Moretto has been joined at the Estádio da Luz by Manduca, Marco Ferreira and Laurent Robert, and the club are still thought to be looking for a new striker although only three new registrations for European action are allowed. For Benfica and the other 15 teams remaining in the UEFA Champions League, they have until 12.00CET on 1 February to register new players for use in the competition, provided they are eligible.