Since it was instituted in 2002, FIFA’s transfer window has led to shocks, shenanigans and suspense. Who can forget Robinho suddenly signing for Manchester City after turning down Real Madrid? Or Liverpool selling Fernando Torres for £50m and then investing £35m in Andy Carroll, whilst spending far less on Luis Suarez? Famously, it was during a transfer window that Chelsea paid Manchester United for Jon Obi Mikel, a man who had never actually set foot on the pitch at Old Trafford.
Today is transfer deadline day, a day when it is traditional for forlorn Sky Sports News reporters to stand outside empty football stadiums and Harry Redknapp to dispense wisdom through a partially wound-down car window. It is usually a period of tension, big money deals and acquisitions that could change the face of the Premier League. This year has been different, however. Quite frankly, nothing exciting has happened.
Money has been spent. £130m has changed hands since the window opened in January, meaning that £1bn has been spent in a season for the first time in Premier League history. Surely, this means the movement of tectonic plates as titans of football move from one land to another? Sadly not. The biggest spenders have been Newcastle and their big, high-profile signing has been Jonjo Shelvey, who has swapped a relegation battle at Swansea for a relegation battle on Tyneside. They have also bid for Saido Berahino, who seems to be the hot new thing every window, and then ends up staying at West Brom.
In other news, Chelsea have signed a striker they don’t need and Manchester United look set to sign Arsenal defender Mathieu Debuchy, when their obvious problem is creativity and goals. Not stories to set the world alight.
There has been one big signing, however.
Pep Guardiola, the purveyor of tiki-taka and current Bayern Munich coach, has signed a three-year contract with Manchester City, which means Manuel Pellegrini now has the indignity of fighting a title challenge knowing that someone else is already checking out his office and deciding whether or not he wants to change the curtains. This was big news, but was not a shock; it is just a confirmation of what everyone thought was going to happen anyway. So, even that announcement was boring.
So, what has been the big story of the transfer window, so far? Well, strangely, for the second year in a row, it has been a non-signing that has made the most waves. John Terry, who made his Chelsea début when B*Witched were a pop sensation, has said that he has not been offered a new contract. In echoes of Steven Gerrard’s departure from Liverpool last year, he has confirmed that he has no intention of playing for another Premier League club, leading to speculation that he will follow the Kop hero to America. China, which has started spending a lot of money on football recently, is another likely destination.
The English window shuts at 11 pm tonight. There is still time for high drama. Fans of small clubs will be monitoring their phones anxiously, hoping that their one star player doesn’t suddenly swap a first-team place in the lower leagues for a lifetime of bench-warming higher up the pyramid. Plenty of last-minute deals have brought us drama. For the moment, that does not look likely to happen this time, but the beauty of the transfer window is that anything can happen. Perhaps it will. You will have to tune in at 11 to find out.