Or in other words, the August transfer deadline day has come and gone for another year. Some clubs did good business, some clubs did bad business, and some clubs did no business in the magical world of the Barclays Premier League during the transfer window.
The deal that caught the eye on deadline day itself was obviously the loan with option to buy move of Falcao from Monaco to Manchester United. The Colombian forward’s signing is rather akin to that of his new team-mate Angel Di Maria. United didn’t desperately need either player, but equally they probably would have been mad to turn either down. What is clear is that to operate to his fullest, Falcao needs a strike partner – that may well mean United start scoring an awful lot of goals soon.
It is at the other end where they continue to be deficient. All through the transfer window the requirement for a top-notch centre-back has been doing star jumps in front of Louis van Gaal trying to attract his attention. As it is, they now have three very good but mostly left-sided defenders in Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind. Rojo can play in the middle of the back four and Blind is an equally adept defensive midfielder – however clearly neither is the Mats Hummels or Miranda that would have been ideal.
Away from United, Chelsea have done some eminently sensible business to the point that while Van Gaal was attempting to push the Falcao deal through last night, Jose Mourinho was presumably puffing smugly on a (possibly metaphorical) cigar. Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Filipe Luis are all excellent signings, while the return of Thibault Courtois is obviously a massive boon to the Blues.
Arsenal have mostly done good business, particularly in the acquisitions of Alexis Sanchez and David Ospina. Whether or not yesterday’s £16m splurge on Danny Welbeck turns out to be folly or a fantastic piece of business remains to be seen; in my view he is a risk worth taking.
Manchester City have been, for them, relatively quiet in the last month or so, with Elaquim Malanga and Fernando being their two big signings. The former at £32m seems poor value; the latter already looks like a Premier League defensive midfielder.
Liverpool meanwhile have mostly spent John Henry’s money on Southampton players – whether Rickie Lambert, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren are the answer might be dependent on the question. The £16m spent on Mario Balotelli could be comparable to the equivalent figure spent on Welbeck in terms of risk, though from my point of view Mario is the less risky.
Outside the big guns, the team that has probably done the best business in this window is the surprising choice of Hull City. They have added real quality to the spine of their team, be that through loan deals or permanent acquisitions. I am not convinced that £10m for Abel Hernandez is good value but I’d love to be proved wrong. Getting £12m for perennial transfer target Shane Long definitely was good value, however. The loan signings of Hatem Ben Arfa and Gaston Ramirez are both inspired, however, as is the purchase of mostly reliable ex-Spurs captain Michael Dawson at centre half and defensive midfield strongman Mohamed Diame.
Harry Redknapp has also done one very sensible bit of business in taking Sandro to Queens Park Rangers, for some real quality in defensive midfield, as well as reuniting himself once again with Croatian midfielder and “top top top lad” Niko Krancjar.
In all, more than £800m has been spent in the transfer window in the Premier League. Meanwhile in Scotland, that total was £2.5m, all spent by Celtic on the reluctant Stefan Scepovic. Celtic’s transfers have either relied on uninspiring loans or uninspiring free transfers, though John Guidetti should provide goals, while it is fantastic to see Craig Gordon playing at a decent level again after so much abysmal luck with injuries.
Roll on the first part of the season then – no doubt in a few weeks it will become clear who has spent their money wisely and who has thrown it away. January tends to be panic buy time – it will be interesting to see what that window throws up in the Premier League too.