PREMIER League transfer deadline day did not live up to its great expectations – but the window as a whole delivered more storylines, subplots and talking points than it had for many years.
Many of the most interesting lines on deadline day actually involved players who didn’t move: Alexis Sanchez, Thomas Lemar, Ross Barkley, Virgil van Dijk, Jonny Evans.
But there was still some late drama in terms of players moving clubs as the overall spending by England’s top 20 clubs topped US$1.9 billion (£1.5 billion).
Swansea brought in Renato Sanches on loan from Bayern Munich and brought back Wilfred Bony from Manchester City – but lost Fernando Llorente to Tottenham Hotspur.
Spurs, having had a quiet summer, also added Serge Aurier on the final day.
With the Spanish window open until late on Friday, it remains to be seen whether Barcelona will make one final attempt to sign Philippe Coutinho, but the large majority of European clubs’ business is now done. Until January, at least.
We look at the big winners and losers from the Premier League’s summer transfer window.
The Reds added attacking weapons such as Mohamed Salah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Dominic Solanke to a squad that was already stacked in that area, while also appearing to hang on to Coutinho.
They also strengthened a key area of weakness – left-back – with the signing of Andy Robertson, and, barring any last-minute registration hiccups, have cashed in on defender Mamadou Sakho.
Liverpool have also secured top target Naby Keita – although he will not arrive from RB Leipzig until next summer.
While there was much approval from some Liverpool fans upon the window closing, others vented their disappointment at the lack of a new central defender.
The club made a hash of trying to sign Van Dijk from Southampton and then, either through choice or circumstance, failed to identify another target in that area.
Jurgen Klopp is likely to wait for Van Dijk in a future window – but that means putting his faith in Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren, Ragnar Klavan and Joe Gomez for at least the next four months.
Winner: Manchester United
United were not in the headlines on deadline day, which is exactly how Jose Mourinho will have wanted it.
He signed Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Victor Lindelof in July – and sat back as many of his main rivals worked themselves into a frenzy on Wednesday and Thursday.
They may have cashed in on Oxlade-Chamberlain, who could otherwise have walked away for free next summer, but in doing so they have weakened themselves and strengthened Liverpool.
For context, Liverpool beat Arsene Wenger’s team 4-0 at the weekend.
Signing Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac was good business – but neither started the club’s last game – and keeping hold of Sanchez was also a plus, even if his body language has suggested he would rather be elsewhere.
Arsenal tried, and failed, to sign Lemar from Monaco, and will surely face further windows of uncertainty in January and next summer.
Winner: Manchester City
Much like cross-city rivals United, City did much of their business early.
They spent nearly US$260 million (£200 million) on Benjamin Mendy, Kyle Walker, Danilo, Ederson and Bernado Silva.
And, while they wanted to add Sanchez, they look the most balanced they have for a long time.
Chelsea £30m deal for Ross Barkley collapses after he changes his mind during the medical and decides to go back to Everton
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) August 31, 2017
Loser (just): Chelsea
The champions, in many ways, had a strong window. They signed Alvaro Morata, Antonio Rudiger and Tiemoue Bakayoko, and added Davide Zappacosta and (pending an unforeseen late issue) Danny Drinkwater on deadline day.
But they failed to land Lukaku earlier in the summer and were then turned down by Oxlade-Chamberlain, Barkley and Llorente in the closing days of the window, as well as selling Matic to a key rival. Want-away striker Diego Costa’s future also remains unresolved.
Winner (just): Swansea City
As strange as it may sound, considering they lost Llorente and Gylfi Sigurdsson, who between them scored more than half of their Premier League goals last season, Swansea ended up having a decent window.
The loan signings of Tammy Abraham and Sanches are smart, while the return of Bony is a shrewd move.
Whether or not Everton’s near-US$175 million (£136 million) outlay (plus the free transfer return of Wayne Rooney) is enough to get them any closer to the top six – let alone the Champions League places – remains to be seen.
But in Rooney, Sigurdsson, Michael Keane, Jordan Pickford and Davy Klaassen, they have been smart – and willing to pay good money for the first time in a long time – this window.
Like their cross-city rivals Liverpool, Everton ticked many – but not all – of their boxes this window.
The key omission was a striker who can come close to replacing the 25 Premier League goals Lukaku scored last summer.
Winners: Tottenham, Southampton and West Bromwich Albion
In their own different ways, the three clubs emerged victorious from the chaos of the window.
Spurs lost Walker but added Aurier, Llorente and Davinson Sanchez, while Southampton triumphed in as much as they kept hold of Van Dijk.
Unbeaten West Brom, who signed Jay Rodriguez, Gareth Barry, Oliver Burke and Kieran Gibbs, while adding Grzegorz Krychowiak on loan, had a very effective window.