And breathe. The transfer window is shut, the blind is down and the curtains have been drawn. Jadon Sancho is still a Borussia Dortmund player, Wilf Zaha remains at Crystal Palace and Manchester United fans have been left seething following their club’s failure to sign the central defender and right-sided winger they seem convinced they need. Still, there’s always Donny and Alex and Edinson.
Amid fears clubs would have to tighten their belts due to the uncertainty visited upon the market by the global plague, those in the Premier League still managed to find a borderline-obscene £1.2bn to splurge on new players, up to £110m of which will apparently fund the purchase and upkeep of Arsenal’s new midfielder Thomas Partey, who joined the club from Atlético Madrid on Monday.
His arrival at the Emirates was one of the bigger stories on deadline day, jockeying for headline status alongside that of the club’s decision to make a much-loved dinosaur extinct in their latest merciless attempt to trim excess fat. His are quite literally big boots to fill but perhaps, as some wags have suggested, having failed to offload Mesut Özil, they should make their highest earner wear the suit.
But even though the window has closed, speculation never, ever stops. Already, there is talk that Manchester United have made contact with Mauricio Pochettino, their original idea of a replacement for José Mourinho, for whenever Ole Gunnar Solskjær inevitably gets his cards. Out of work since last November the Argentinian has made no secret of his desire to get back into management when the time is right; that time apparently being when a vacancy becomes available at Old Trafford where he would almost certainly constitute a significant upgrade.
Pochettino might also be tempted by any openings that materialise at Paris Saint-Germain, where the manager, Thomas Tuchel, was underwhelmed by his employers’ spending during a transfer period that concluded with the arrival of the Everton striker Moise Kean on loan. “If we stay like this, with this reduced squad, we cannot expect to have the same objectives even though we could still reach them,” said Tuchel, presumably speaking of last season’s failure to win the Champions League. “In general, we lose too many players for nothing.” While the German’s pleas of poverty while managing the richest club of the world will have prompted wry smiles from many of his peers, his sporting director, Leonardo, was singularly unimpressed.
“We did not like these statements,” fumed the Brazilian. “The club did not like them, neither did I personally like them. You have to understand the moment we are all living through, not just in football. In the moment we are all living through, there are very grave situations.” In a nutshell, Mr Tuchel, if you are unhappy you can leave.
In other deadline day fallout it is being reported that the out-of-favour and out-of-sorts Manchester City defender John Stones turned down a move to Tottenham because he did not want to uproot his family, while the Liverpool midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri will remain at Anfield until January at least due a lack of interest from elsewhere.
In the meantime, your humble Rumour Mill is off for a long lie-down under a blanket in a cool and darkened room.