Double boost for Cottagers
Fulham have signed Darren Bent on a season-long loan from Aston Villa and agreed a new two-year deal with Sascha Riether, the club's player of the year last season.
Manager Martin Jol stole in ahead of Crystal Palace to land Bent, who was Villa's record signing when he joined from Sunderland for £18million in January 2011 but has since fallen behind Christian Benteke in the pecking order.
Jol admitted last season that he missed out on the chance to recruit Belgian international Benteke and he was clearly not prepared to make the same mistake with Bent.
Palace manager Ian Holloway revealed this week he thought Bent was en route to Selhurst Park when Fulham stepped in to seal the deal.
"Darren Bent is a striker I have always admired," said Jol, who signed the England international for Tottenham from Charlton in 2007.
"He has shown in the Barclays Premier League that he is composed and clinical in front of goal but, even if he is not scoring, he is involved in some good link-up play, creating opportunities for his team-mates.
"I'm delighted that he has joined us, he gives us pace up front and I am confident that he will add to our goals scored tally this season."
Bent found his opportunities limited last season and scored just six times in 23 appearances for Villa, but his career record is a goal every other game.
The 29-year-old is one of seven summer signings made by Jol, including Riether whose loan move from from Cologne was made permanent two months ago.
The German defender has now signed a new two-year deal, with the option of a third season.
"I'm happy to have got the deal done," Riether told the club's official website.
"I like it here - I love Fulham, I love the fans, I love the club and I'm happy that we could close this deal now.
"It's the start of the season and we are well prepared so I'm looking forward to the future."