Transfer deadline day is a serious affair for managers, players and supporters as clubs scramble around to complete last-minute deals.
The day itself has become a fixture on most footballing calendars as reporters up and down the country talk to sources and fans take to social media en masse to either praise or deride their club’s business.
But there is a lighter side to a day when the futures of players can often be decided in last-minute transfers and here’s a look at this year’s highlights away from the deals.
West Ham striker Diafra Sakho’s deadline day antics will live long in the memory.
The 27-year-old is so desperate to leave the London Stadium that he took himself to France on Wednesday for a medical at Rennes, despite no agreement being in place.
He then returned to England to thrash out his future with West Ham’s hierarchy but not before stopping off at Cheltenham races to watch his agent’s horse win the 3:20 – a race where ‘The Happy Hammer’ was a non-runner, much like Sakho’s transfer to Ligue 1.
1/2 We’re told Diafra Sakho is in car park at Chelmsford races. His advisers horse Siege of Boston has just won 3.20 in photo-finish at 9/2
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) August 31, 2017
Swansea pulled off one of the biggest coups of the transfer window as they landed Bayern Munich ace Renato Sanches on loan.
The 20-year-old helped Portugal to win the European Championship last year and will now spend a season at the Liberty Stadium plying his trade in Paul Clement’s side.
It was not all plain sailing for the club, though, as their big reveal of Sanches’ squad number – a remarkable choice of no.85 – was not sanctioned by the Premier League and he was instead left with no.35.
The PL have rejected Renato Sanches’ request to wear number 85 at Swansea and he’ll wear 35 instead. Don’t mess with English tradition pal.
— UNILAD Football (@UNILADFooty) August 31, 2017
Arsenal fans have been left deflated in the closing days of the window as a number of their squad have been sold.
Alexis Sanchez now looks set to remain at the club but Kieran Gibbs and Alex Oxlade-chamberlain were allowed to leave.
Aaron Ramsey sent Arsenal supporters into a social media storm as he posted an Instagram message alongside a picture of himself with Oxlade-chamberlain.
Signing off the message with ‘#shaaambles’ may not have been a smart move – even if the Wales international was merely referencing Oxlade-chamberlain’s nickname bestowed on him for his poor timekeeping.
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
The day started with news coming out of the Algeria international camp that they had allowed Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez to leave and complete a move away from the King Power Stadium.
This was news to the Foxes who insisted no bid had been received, let alone accepted, for the 2016 PFA Player of the Year.
Sightings of Mahrez have come in from Manchester, London and Barcelona but he remains a Leicester player.
Riyad Mahrez has left Algeria’s training camp and arrived at Paris Airport. His final destination remains unclear. pic.twitter.com/nF427jS1IO
— Transfer Related (@TransferRelated) August 31, 2017
Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright was one of many suffering supporters to post a picture on social media of a sombre-looking Gunnersaurus as their deadline day debacle unfolded.
Wright even went as far as to set the artwork, showing the Arsenal mascot in a melancholy pose, as his Twitter profile picture.
The image was quickly shared, along with several other memes of the oversized dino-mascot including plenty of suggestions Gunnersaurus himself had handed in a transfer request.
— Ian Wright (@IanWright0) August 31, 2017
Provided by Press Association Sport
Monaco midfielder Thomas Lemar had a dream night for France on the day he was the subject of what was understood to be a £92 million transfer deadline-day bid from Arsenal.
Here’s a look at how he performed in scoring twice for France in their 4-0 World Cup qualifying win over Holland in Paris on Thursday night.
Often tucked in on the left with Layvin Kurzawa overlapping, there were few opportunities to judge Lemar’s crossing ability against the Dutch.
But there were plenty of incisive short-range, first-time balls which indicated his comfort in possession at the top level.
Made some intelligent attacking runs, including one which was completely ignored by Paul Pogba five minutes before half-time when the Manchester United man opted to shoot rather than pick him out.
Showed great box-to-box ability after tracking back to cut out a Timothy Fosu-Mensah cross in the 65th minute before bursting forward and releasing Griezmann, but the Atletico Madrid man could not find a team-mate with his cross from the left.
He was also rewarded for continuing his forward burst when Griezmann laid on his second goal in the 88th minute.
He had one half-chance charged down in the first quarter of the game but otherwise his withdrawn role looked as though it would give him little opportunity for a shot on goal.
An opening appeared to present itself early in the second half when Griezmann worked the ball left to him on the edge of the box, but Lemar opted to come back inside and was crowded out.
But he demonstrated how deadly he can be with a sublime left-foot strike from the edge of the box after Stefan de Vrij’s headed clearance fell to him on the edge of the box, and was also a willing runner in the breakaway which led to his second and France’s third.
Don’t know what all the fuss over Thomas Lemar is about.
— Brendon Netto (@BrendonNetto) August 31, 2017
Lemar looked every inch a European superstar in the making – slight of build but with exceptional technique and tactical awareness.
Provided by Press Association Sport
MAN CITY SPEND MORE ON DEFENCE THAN ENTIRE COUNTRIES
Much has been made of Manchester City’s spending on defenders and goalkeepers since Pep Guardiola took over last summer. In that time period, he’s brought in goalkeepers Ederson and Claudio Bravo as well as defenders John Stones, Benjamin Mendy, Danilo and Kyle Walker, among others, with the total amount spent on defence exceeding £200m.
That’s more than the defence spending of 27 countries.
Annual spending on #defence:
— Financial Sports® (@FinancialSs) July 31, 2017
RENNES PROFIT FROM SECOND DEMBELE TRANSFER
Rennes sold Ousmane Dembele to Borussia Dortmund last summer for a €15m transfer fee. But that was far from the last time they would profit from a Dembele transfer, thanks to a sell-on clause.
When Barcelona agreed to buy Dembele from Dortmund for an initial €105m price tag last week, a fee that could rise to €145m, the amount of money Rennes received actually broke the club’s transfer record for most money received for a player. The French club pocketed around €25m this time around, more than the €20m Monaco paid for Shabani Nonda in 2000.
In total, Rennes have received around €40m for the 20-year-old who rose through their academy.
Rennes have received more money from Ousmane Dembele’s transfer from BVB to Barcelona than they got from selling him in the first place 💰 pic.twitter.com/QW5QSUg3x4
— B/R Football (@brfootball) August 25, 2017
PSG SET TO WIN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE THIS SEASON?
Only twice before have the two most expensive players in the world at the time been on the same team. In 2001, Real Madrid signed Zinedine Zidane from Juventus for €77.5m, breaking the transfer record they had set when purchasing Luis Figo from Barcelona for €60m the previous summer. And in 2013, Real Madrid again broke their own record, buying Gareth Bale for €100m and pairing him with the previous record-holder, Cristiano Ronaldo (€94m).
A coincidence for both purchases: in the ensuing season, Real Madrid won the Champions League, both times.
This summer, Kylian Mbappe has joined PSG in a deal said to be worth €180m, the second-most expensive transfer ever (although it’s technically a loan with a compulsory purchase option next summer). This comes just weeks after the Parisian club set the new record with the €222m capture of Neymar.
Will the duo continue the trend and hold the famous Champions League trophy aloft at the end of the season?
CLUB TRANSFER RECORDS FALL BY THE WAYSIDE
Making a club-record signing is the ultimate statement of intent in the transfer window. But in the Premier League this summer, doing so almost became run-of-the-mill – a whopping 13 out of 20 clubs broke their transfer records in the summer window.
This included all of last year’s top five with Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City, Liverpool and Arsenal all making club-record buys. Incidentally, it’s last year’s sixth-placed team, Manchester United, which set the mark for the most expensive signing in the Premier League this summer, £75m for Romelu Lukaku. With add-ons, that fee could rise to £90million, which would also be a club record.
Outside of England, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, and of course PSG were among the clubs in the top five European leagues to break their transfer records, as were Nice and Sevilla.
AC Milan actually broke their record twice – first for Andre Silva, who arrived on a €38m transfer from Porto, and then in the stunning €42m capture of Leonardo Bonucci from Juventus.
Speaking of breaking your club record multiple times within a short time span, back to the Premier League for one last stat:
Fourth time Burnley’s club transfer record has been broken in past year – Defour, Hendrick, Brady now Chris Wood https://t.co/gpMSW5Cc40
— Simon Evans (@sgevans) August 21, 2017
NOBODY SPENDS LIKE THE PREMIER LEAGUE
The number of times summer spending across a league has crossed more than £1bn? If you’re not counting the Premier League, the answer is 0.
If you are…the Premier League crossed £1bn last year, finishing at £1.18bn, then topped that mark with nine days to spare this summer. This summer’s total will end up around £1.5bn.
A PERFECT 10 FOR THE WORLD TRANSFER RECORD
PSG became the 10th different club to hold the football transfer record over a timeframe of 25 years since Milan’s £10m purchase of Jean-Pierre Papin from Marseille in 1992. The record had switched between Italy, Spain and England in the ensuing years before PSG’s capture of Neymar this summer.
However, after Lazio spent a then-record fee of £35.5million for Hernan Crespo in 2000, only three clubs have held the record: Real Madrid, Manchester United, and now PSG.
World record transfer fees since 1992 pic.twitter.com/vIertRi8wG
— Arsène’s Son (@hughwizzy) August 4, 2017
REAL MADRID, MODEL OF SENSIBILITY
Only two players purchased, less than €50m spent. At any other top club in Europe, this would be cause for a crisis, so it’s a mark of how well Real Madrid have done in recent years and how much stability manager Zinedine Zidane has brought to his squad.
Despite letting James Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata go, Madrid resisted the urge to make a big-money buy in an attempt to find a replacement. They looked like the frontrunners for Mbappe, but ended up pulling out of running for the young Frenchman. Instead, Lucas Vazquez and Marco Asensio will get more minutes, and the latter looks like an explosive talent.
Madrid were quite content with only getting left-back Theo Hernandez for €27m from cross-town rivals Atletico and midfielder Dani Ceballos for €14.85m from Real Betis, part of their new strategy of identifying young talent and using them to add depth to their squad.
Who would have thought it would be one of the original Galacticos to put a pause on the Galactico policy?