The summer transfer window was a circus, as it always is.
Paris Saint-Germain smashed the world record fee set by Paul Pogba’s move from Juventus to Manchester United last year by triggering Neymar’s €220 million release clause at Barcelona.
In response, the Catalans snapped up Ousmane Dembele for €150 million from Borussia Dortmund.
However, deadline day was anti-climatic at best with the likes of Thomas Lemar, Alexis Sanchez and Virgil van Dijk all staying put.
Here’s a look at the three best signings.
We all knew it was coming, especially after the teenager completed his medical on Wednesday. Regardless of its predictability, PSG still managed to sign the most sought after youngster in world football.
Mbappe joined the Parisians on a season-long loan but the real coup lies in the agreement to sign him for €180 million the following summer.
The Ligue 1 giants have secured themselves France football’s golden boy for the next few years at least and should he eventually move on, to Real Madrid perhaps, they probably stand to make a healthy profit.
Of course, the move is marred by what could be seen as a controversial work around Financial Fair Player (FFP) regulations, but only adds to the narrative and doesn’t take away from Mbappe being a superb recruit for PSG.
What Liverpool needed most in this transfer window was quality centre back and that’s exactly the kind of player they ended up selling on deadline day.
Sakho has been shunned at Anfield ever since his falling out with Jurgen Klopp last summer and it appears as if there’s no coming back from that. Despite the fact that, on ability, he could walk into that Liverpool defence, the German tactician decided to ship him out instead.
Crystal Palace emerge as winners in this one though. After briefly enjoying the Frenchman’s services last season on loan, they have now signed him permanently, bolstering their leaky defence.
A year ago, Renato Sanches was one of the best prospects in Europe after winning Euro 2016 with Portugal.
The 20-year-old moved to Bayern Munich despite interest from the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea but things didn’t go according to plan in Germany.
Carlo Ancelotti didn’t rate the midfielder too highly in front of the others he had at his disposal and he struggled for game time all season.
After being linked to Liverpool in the last couple of days of the transfer window, Sanches has ended up at Swansea City in a shock loan deal.
As far as ability goes, he’s miles ahead of anyone the Swans have in their squad and will certainly get game time. The Premier League is a great platform for him to shine on and earn a move to a big club next summer.
The transfer of Kylian Mbappe to Paris Saint-Germain from Monaco on Thursday on loan with an option to buy reportedly worth an eye-watering €180 million follows the arrival in the French capital of Neymar from Barcelona.
Neymar joined for a whopping €222 million, leading to questions about how Qatari-owned PSG can comply with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.
AFP Sport has taken a look at the details of FFP and what it means for PSG.
Financial Fair Play was first approved by European football’s governing body UEFA in 2010 to try and combat soaring debts in the game.
From 2013-2015 clubs could only post an annual loss of €45 million, which was reduced to €30 million for the next three years, running until 2018.
Investments in stadiums, training facilities, youth development and women’s football are not included in the calculations, as UEFA want to encourage spending in those areas.
UEFA explain FFP simply as “about improving the overall financial health of European club football”.
Several big clubs have fallen foul of FFP rules in the past, including PSG, although total bans from European competition have been rare.
The then-English champions Manchester City and PSG were both given 60-million-euro fines, 40 million of which suspended, in 2014, and saw their squads for the Champions League cut from 25 to 21 players.
Theoretically though, the sanctions could be far stricter for serious breaches of regulations, with UEFA listing “deduction of points”, “disqualification from competitions” and “withdrawal of a title or award” as among the possible measures that can be taken against clubs.
La Liga certainly thinks so with regards to Neymar’s transfer, but UEFA insisted that it was impossible to judge how the Brazilian’s move would affect the club’s balancing of the books in the long run.
“The transfer of Neymar to PSG will have an effect on the club’s finances over several years but the impact of such an operation cannot be judged in advance, notably as PSG could well sell several players for a significant amount,” UEFA said in a statement to AFP.
President of Spain’s La Liga, Javier Tebas, believes PSG cannot possibly comply with FFP without using inflated sponsorship deals from Qatari companies way above market value and has labelled the system “financial doping”.
Brendan Rodgers, who manages Celtic – drawn in the same group as PSG in the Champions League, was more emphatic: “If they sign Mbappe, you could rip up Financial Fair Play. Since it was brought in you could argue it’s gone the other way. It’s obscene now.”
— PSG English (@PSG_English) August 31, 2017
The transfers of Neymar and Mbappe will appear on PSG’s financial statements for the 2017-18 tax year, with UEFA’s assessment of FFP compliance coming a year after that.
However, the double signings mean PSG will need to generate an estimated 125m euros annually to match its 2015/16 financial statement, although that blow has been softened as Mbappe was taken on a loan deal, with a view to a permanent move, meaning his transfer will be settled in the next financial year.
Mbappe’s signing hours before the transfer deadline closed came shortly after PSG sold Serge Aurier to Tottenham to help cater for Neymar and Mbappe.
Aaron Ramsey appears to have questioned Arsenal’s transfer policy as the club shipped out several players on transfer deadline day.
While the Gunners now look like holding onto Alexis Sanchez despite two late bids from Manchester City, a lot of Arsenal fans have been left deflated by the number of Emirates Stadium exits.
Sanchez had been odds-on to move to City after being linked with the club throughout the summer.
The Chile forward has less than a year remaining on his contract and was the subject of a second bid from City on Thursday afternoon.
Press Association Sport understands Arsenal would only have sanctioned his departure if they had been able to strike a deal with Monaco for Thomas Lemar.
Despite what is believed to have been a club-record bid, it is now highly unlikely the France international – in action against Holland tonight – will sign in time to beat the 11pm BST deadline so Sanchez is set to stay put.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s move to Liverpool has been the biggest domestic transfer of deadline day as the England international insisted he was looking to take his game to the next level at Anfield.
“The decision to leave was tough after being a part of the club for so many years, but I feel that this move is right for the next stage in my ongoing development,” he said.
Let’s all calm down, ‘Shaaambles’ was a nickname used as a joke for the ox sometimes around the training ground. #personaljoke
— Aaron Ramsey (@aaronramsey) August 31, 2017
Ramsey, currently away on international duty with Wales, was one of a promising British core of players much-heralded by manager Arsene Wenger.
Two of that quintet have left in the last 24 hours with Kieran Gibbs and Oxlade-Chamberlain being sold on, and Ramsey posted a message on Instagram which looked to query the decision to sell.
“Another of our British boys heading on to new things,” he wrote alongside a picture of himself and Oxlade-Chamberlain.
“Not only have we lost a great player we’ve lost a great guy in the changing room and It is sad to see you go mate.
“Had some great memories over the years playing along side you and I wish you all the best with this new chapter in your life ?#theOX#shaaambles.”
The “shaaambles” hashtag is believed to refer to Oxlade-Chamberlain’s nickname, rather than being a comment on Arsenal’s dealings.
Ramsey is the only one of those five precocious players, famously pictured alongside one another as they all penned new deals in December 2012, who finds himself a first-team regular at the club.
Carl Jenkinson is currently on loan at Birmingham, although he is sidelined having dislocated his shoulder on his Blues debut, while Jack Wilshere was widely expected to be sent out on a temporary deal having spent last season at Bournemouth.
Wojciech Szczesny joined Juventus last month and defender Gabriel was sold earlier in August, with Gibbs leaving for West Brom on Wednesday.
Further deadline-day departures saw Lucas Perez return to Deportivo on a season-long loan, with Joel Campbell set for a similar deal at Real Betis.
Arsenal have yet to add to the free signing of Sead Kolasinac and the club-record purchase of Alexandre Lacazette as the deadline looms.
Another of our British boys heading on to new things. Not only have we lost a great player we've lost a great guy in the changing room and It is sad to see you go mate. Had some great memories over the years playing along side you and I wish you all the best with this new chapter in your life 👊#theOX #shaaambles