Transfer window: Lessons to be learnt from a summer of spending
Two months of excitement and desperation for football fans is almost over as the transfer window nears its conclusion.
A British youngster cost almost £50m, Manchester United were linked with everyone, their goalkeeper had his head turned by Real Madrid, transfer requests were handed in, U-turns were performed and the most expensive footballer in British history jumped ship to Paris.
But what did we learn? Here are 15 lessons from the summer transfer window.
1. Outside interest can help players secure new deals with their current clubs
When contract talks between Real Madrid and Sergio Ramos were stalling in June, Manchester United bid £28.6m for the Spain defender. Fast forward to August and the World Cup winner agrees a new five-year contract with the La Liga side.
2. Even though a player models the new kit, it doesn't mean he is staying
Because six days later he might just pose with another one...
3. Don't let a transfer saga drag on
David De Gea to Real Madrid has been the longest-running saga of the summer. The Spain goalkeeper spent the beginning of the season stuck in the stands alongside the exiled Victor Valdes and number two Anders Lindegaard, over concerns Madrid's overtures had distracted him.
4. Don't annoy Louis van Gaal
Or you will end up like Victor Valdes, who was put up for sale by the Dutchman, who claimed the goalkeeper refused to play for the reserves.
5. Players posting a picture on a plane means nothing
Karim Benzema sent the rumour mill into overdrive with this picture he posted on Instagram. The logical conclusion drawn was that the Real Madrid striker was on his way to London to sign for Arsenal.
Or maybe not...
6. If they're English... bump up their value
This was the transfer window where Raheem Sterling became the most expensive English player ever, as Manchester City spent £49m on the 20-year-old forward, before he had even played 100 league games.
7. Players will happily join a rival cub
After 11 seasons at Stamford Bridge, Petr Cech left Chelsea to move to London rivals Arsenal and then helped his new team beat his former side in the Community Shield.
8. Every player in the world will be linked to Manchester United... but they won't get them all
United's summer spending may have included German World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger, but it was the players they didn't sign that created the biggest headlines. During the summer they have been linked with Tottenham's Harry Kane, Real Madrid's Gareth Bale and Nathaniel Clyne, who signed for Liverpool from Southampton, amongst many others.
9. The world's best want to do it on a wet, windy night at the Britannia Stadium
Champions League winner Xherdan Shaqiri joined Mark Hughes's revolution at Stoke for a club record £12m. The Switzerland winger joined former Barcelona players Bojan Krkic, Moha El Ouriachi, Marc Muniesa and Ibrahim Afellay at the Britannia.
10. If a player goes missing, he is not coming back
After Angel Di Maria failed to join United on their pre-season tour of America in July, Louis van Gaal said he didn't know where the midfielder was. It turned out the Argentine had flown to Qatar to have a medical before his move to Paris Saint-Germain.
11. Players will swap Paris for Palace
This was the transfer window where Crystal Palace flexed their financial muscle and proved they could compete for the world's best. Their marquee signing was France midfielder Yohan Cabaye, who left PSG to join Palace for a club-record fee of £10m.
12. Chelsea know how to clinch a deal
Pedro to Manchester United looked a dead cert, until Chelsea swooped in and signed the Barcelona forward for £21m. The signing came just four days after the Premier League champions were beaten 3-0 by Manchester City.
13. Rodgers will keep on spending
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers took his spending to £289m in three years at Anfield with seven summer signings including Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke for £32.5m and Brazil midfielder Roberto Firmino from Hoffenheim for £29m.
14. Even the Championship will splash the cash
Burnley, who were relegated from the Premier League last season, signed Brentford striker Andre Gray for an undisclosed club-record fee, believed to be £9m, in their attempt to gain promotion at the first time of asking.
15. If all else fails, hand in a transfer request
From John Stones to Saido Berahino, if you really want to leave, then hand in a transfer request to try to force the issue. Of course it doesn't mean your club will listen to it.