Premier League notebook: Fulham sign Halliche, Chelsea's Serbian pair go Dutch and Diamanti returns to Italy

Fulham have confirmed the signing of the Algeria defender on a three-year deal from Portuguese side Benfica.

Fulham have confirmed the signing of Rafik Halliche, the Algeria defender, on a three-year deal from Portuguese side Benfica. The 23-year-old has moved to Craven Cottage for an undisclosed fee. Halliche told Fulham's official website: "I'm so happy that my transfer to Fulham has been finalised. For me, the Premier League is the best league in the world and to be able to play alongside some wonderful players and to be given an opportunity to compete against some fantastic teams for a team like Fulham is something that I've always dreamed of doing." Halliche is Mark Hughes's third signing of the summer after Philippe Senderos and Moussa Dembele. He has won 20 caps for Algeria since making his debut against Senegal in May 2008 and played every minute of their World Cup campaign in South Africa, including the goalless draw with England in Cape Town.

Steven Pienaar will remain at Everton this season, according to Steve Round, the Everton assistant manager.The South Africa winger, who is out of contract in the summer, has been linked with a swap deal with Tottenham Hotspurs' Peter Crouch. Round responded: "The manager [David Moyes] has said all along he wants Steven to stay. He is under contract and as far as we are concerned he will be an Everton player this season. There is no truth in the speculation. Steven has been a terrific player for us and is a terrific asset."

West Ham have confirmed the sale of Alessandro Diamanti to Italian side Brescia. The Serie A new boys have paid ?2.2million (Dh1.02m) for the 27-year-old forward, who joined the Hammers a year ago from Livorno. Another ?300,000 will be payable if Brescia secure their top-flight status for another year. Diamanti scored eight goals in 29 appearances last season, with four coming from the penalty spot. With Avram Grant having replaced compatriot Gianfranco Zola as manager in the summer, the Italian was seemingly behind Carlton Cole, Luis Boa Morte and Frederic Piquionne in the Upton Park pecking order.

Chelsea have confirmed Serbian duo Nemanja Matic and Slobodan Rajkovic will spend the season on loan at Dutch Eredivisie outfit Vitesse Arnhem. Midfielder Matic, 22, made three substitute appearances for the Londoners in their championship-winning 2009/10 campaign - his first at the club. Rajkovic, a 21-year-old central defender who has yet to play for Chelsea's first team, has experience of football in Holland having spent time on loan at PSV Eindhoven and champions FC Twente.

Sebastien Squillaci admits he found it "practically impossible" to turn down fellow Frenchman Arsene Wenger as the defender prepares to complete his transfer to Arsenal from Sevilla. The Spanish side have accepted an offer from Arsenal for Squillaci, 30, who was expected to complete a medical yesterday. "If a French player receives an offer from Arsene Wenger, it's practically impossible to turn down," he told The Guardian newspaper. "It was a sensational offer for me and I was happy Sevilla let me go. It was a difficult situation but I knew I had to take this chance. Arsenal were always the team I watched out for. For any spectator like me, you had to watch a squad with [Thierry] Henry, [Robert] Pires, [Patrick] Vieira and [William] Gallas. Now, I'm happy to have my name in the history books. For me, this is a great new challenge and I've gone there purely to be part of that."

* Agencies

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