Sunderland new boy Asamoah Gyan is the most exciting name to officially join the Premier League at the deadline, but could Tottenham have upstaged the Black Cats by sneaking through an even bigger move at the last minute?
Going to do this club by club, but only if they've made significant changes. Sending Tom Cleverly out on loan doesn't count.
Birmingham City: The Brummies have made a decent start to the campaign, so far undefeated through the early going. They've somehow managed to secure ex-Arsenal man Alexander Hleb on a season-long loan deal from Barcelona, which should address their lack of creativity in the final third. Acquiring Hleb for so little is a real coup for Birmingham, who further supplemented their attack with the purchase of Jean Beausajour, whom you may have seen playing for Chile as a winger in the 2010 World Cup. Last and probably least is Martin Jiranek, who comes from Spartak Moscow for a fear to serve as depth for the central defence. With Birmingham leaking goals this season, Jiranek may well be a starter before too long. Verdict: Excellent day, bringing in a lot for not much in terms of immediate or long-term cost.
Fulham: The Cottagers lose veteran left-back Paul Konchesky to Liverpool and gain a couple of prospects in return. Lauri Della Valle is a fairly small 19 year old Finnish striker who has played all of 12 minutes with the first team while fellow Scandanavian Alex Kacaniklic, also 19, hasn't really settled down on a final position yet. Kacaniklic played exclusively for Liverpool's reserves. With Carlos Salcido available at left back, Konchesky was expendable, so Mark Hughes's side essentially picked up a pair of promising youngsters and ditched salary for free. Verdict: Would have been nice to see a more tangible return for Konchesky but a nice piece of business nevertheless.
Liverpool: Roy Hodgson raided his old club for Paul Konchesky, who will probably replace or at least compete with Fabio Aurelio at left-back. Konchesky is a decent enough player, but he's average rather than special, and it's a little bit depressing that that's the sort of player Liverpool are targetting - it's a club better known for pursuits of the likes of Fernando Torres. Also in are youngsters Suso and Adam Hadju. Suso, whose full name is apparently Jesus Joaquin Fernandez Saenz De La Torre, appears to be a bit of a prodigy. The 16 year old attacking midfielder is supposed to be verging on first-team quality already. Hadju is less exciting, and I don't know much about him other than that he's also very young. Leaving the team are those sent to Fulham in the Konchesky deal, Damien Plessis, who goes to Panithanikos, and Emiliano Insua, who has been sent to Turkish side Galatasaray on a one-year loan deal. Plessis is a 22 year old striker who mostly played for the reserves, and Insua is terrible. Verdict: It's kind of sad that Liverpool's idea of a good purchase is Paul Konchesky, isn't it?
Manchester City: I suppose Chelsea fans should be thanking City for taking the Robinho bullet for us, but I can't help but think that things would have been different had we been the ones buying him from Madrid in August of 2008. Instead, he was miserable and engineered a move away to AC Milan to join Zlatan Ibrahimovich and Alexandre Pato in one of the most dangerous attacks known to mankind. City lost a cool £14M on their investment, with Robinho forfeiting a £2M 'loyalty bonus.' Hah. Also there was some guy named Adam Clayton playing for City. He is no longer playing for City. Verdict: Got what they deserved after they went in over their heads with Robinho two years ago.
Stoke City: Quite a haul for the Potters, as they acquire old friend Eidur Gudjohnson on loan from Monaco as well picking up Jermaine Pennant, Portsmouth captain Marc Wilson, and Salif Diao. Gudjohnson, for those who weren't around during his best days with the club, is not really in the Stoke mould at all - he's an elegant, deep-lying forward with the vision to cut up the opposition defence. Pennant is a winger who really should be better than he is, but he's a clear update at right wing over the departing Liam Lawrence. Marc Wilson provides an extra option for Stoke when they're playing in a defensive shell, with the ability to both win the ball and drive it forward. His return to the Premier League is well deserved. Salif Diao is like Wilson, but worse. I guess having depth is always good. Stoke are pretty familiar with Diao; he played for them for several years before leaving at the end of last year. Dave Kitson accompanies Liam Lawrence to Portsmouth as part of the Marc Wilson transfer. Kitson, who at one point was Stoke's record buy, had been a disappointment with the club and spent much of his time on loan to Championship sides. Verdict: Considering Stoke's resources, they worked miracles in upgrading the club all over the pitch. Gudjohnson in particular should be a fantastic buy and will give them an extra dimension in attack. Great work by Pullis and company.
Sunderland: Formerly of Rennes, Asamoah Gyan made quite a name for himself during the World Cup; he scored the goal that knocked the United States out of the competition and missed the penalty that would have brought Africa its first ever World Cup semifinal. The Ghanaian is an impressive striker, capable of plowing through defences as the lone man up front or using his keen positioning to combine with a teammate. He and Darren Bent should prove a handful for defences, and Gyan should prove well worth the £13M (a club record) that Sunderland gave up for his services. Martyn Waghorn, who was primarily used as forward depth, is the casualty of Gyan's capture, the 20 year-old heading to Leicester for about £3M. Verdict: With Gyan up front, Sunderland suddenly represent a legitimate attacking threat. Both of their strikers are physical enough to unsettle defenders yet skilled enough to work with each other and finish whatever chances they get. Great buy, and it's exciting to see Gyan move to the Premier League.
Tottenham Hotspur: While the only confirmed news at White Hart Lane is the loan of Spartak Moscow goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa, Rafael van der Vaart seems very likely to be heading to Spurs from Real Madrid for the cut-price sum of £8M. The Dutch striker, probably worth more than twice that, was unhappy in Madrid and was looking to move out. After a bid from Bayern Munich fell through, he was suddenly offered to Tottenham, and the club are now trying to get the transfer ratified by the league. Verdict: Van der Vaart is an elite talent and suddenly offers Spurs a world-class player in the centre of the pitch. Accomodating both him and Luka Modric in the same lineup might be tricky, but Tottenham really had to pounce at that price.
It wasn't the most exciting transfer window, but the wheeling and dealing did get pretty intense at the end. I'm a little disappointed that Chelsea didn't do anything, but there aren't that many areas of true need on the squad. All in all, the big winners appear to be Birmingham, Sunderland, Stoke, and possibly Tottenham if the van der Vaart deal gets ratified. None of the really big teams made major moves, but that's to be expected with so late in the game.