It was an eventful final day of the transfer window as Premier League clubs flexed their spending power, but Americans were also on the move around the world. Denis Zakaria moved to Chelsea as the Blues needed depth and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is set to join him, but they failed at moving striker Michy Batshuayi as his move to Nottingham Forest broke down. American Sergino Dest left Barcelona for AC Milan, but Memphis Depay decided to stay with the Catalan club. Meanwhile, American John Brooks went to Benfica.
Fulham had an eventful day adding Daniel James, Willian, and Carlos Vinicius while Christian Pulisic will stay at Chelsea and Cristiano Ronaldo will stay at Manchester United. Liverpool got midfield cover in Arthur Melo on a loan with an option to buy but outside of the Premier League, things were relatively quiet on deadline day.
Bamba Dieng had the most eventful day for any particular player as he was set for a move to Leeds United. When he was supposed to travel for his medical, an offer from OGC Nice came in and he reportedly spurned Leeds. But the medical in France didn't go well as a knee issue was reportedly discovered. The deal isn't completely off as Ligue 1 allows a "joker signing" for each club that can only be made from one French club to another between the summer and winter windows, so in theory, they could renegotiate with Olympique Marseille.
On deadline day, some clubs ended up doing good business while others made panic buys. Here are some winners and losers:
Clubs around the world had issues shedding their dead weight during the transfer window, but that wasn't a problem for PSG. Julian Draxler went to Benfica, Idrissia Gueye returned to Everton and Layvin Kurzawa bolstered Fulham. None of the trio had a future at PSG, and even with Kurzawa being a loan, a strong showing at Fulham will allow him to regain value for a hopeful sale in the future. The team has been remade in Christophe Galtier's image and the results are showing quickly. They'll be disappointed that Inter Milan held firm on not moving Milan Skrinar during the window but things couldn't be going much better in Paris right now. In addition to Vitinha and Renato Sanches, adding Spanish midfielders Fabian Ruiz of Napoli and Carlos Soler of Valencia could pay off with their technical abilities. Now to push for that ever elusive Champions League title
Losers: Christian Pulisic and Cristiano Ronaldo
Two players who needed to move for consistent playing time but couldn't get what they needed for different reasons. Pulisic was reportedly blocked from potential moves by Chelsea despite Thomas Tuchel not using him, and he may have gotten pushed further down the depth chart. Ronaldo wanted Champions League soccer and now he's a backup striker to Marcus Rashford and a depth option under Erik ten Hag. Neither situation seems sustainable during a full season but things festering without a resolution feels like the worst option for the clubs and the players.
Getting to clear wages by sending Dest and Aubameyang to new clubs means that the directors likely won't have to foot a bill for the guarantees made to the league to register Jules Kounde. Getting Hector Bellerin and Marcos Alonso also provides cheap depth as Barcelona look to compete in multiple competitions. A perfect day would've been if a solution could've been found for Memphis Depay, allowing Xavi to sign another player as attacking midfield was certainly on the target list. But going into a semi-balanced financial situation is a better place than Barcelona were in to open the day. Todd Boehley, Chelsea's American owner, should be sent a fruit basket with Aubameyang for the assist.
Loser: Leicester City
Even if we exclude Leicester's uninspired loss to Manchester United on Thursday, the Foxes didn't get enough reinforcements on deadline day. Wout Faes is their replacement for Wesley Fofana, but they needed to get a winger and didn't manage to. Danny Ward has also been unable to fill the large gloves of Kasper Schmeichel in goal as the team is in a rut, sitting in the cellar of the Premier League.
This window could be an excellent one for the Blues or go up in flames. On paper, Aubameyang and Zakaria are good signings but selling a talented midfielder like Billy Gilmour when the team was already short in midfield is an odd move. Aubameyang fills a clear need atop the attack, but he won't be available out of the gate due to a broken jaw. Juventus may have given up on Zakaria so quickly because he didn't fit the system, but he hasn't been a player who can put all of his tools together consistently.
If he's able to do that at Chelsea it will be a great move as the team will finally have an alternative to N'Golo Kante, but moving on consecutive deadline days isn't something that raises the belief that he'll actually do it. Fofana is a strong addition but the team was already set at center back and needed more attackers and to move fringe players. They did neither, terminating Ross Barkley's contract and selling Gilmour who has potential. If Gilmour stars at Brighton, this window could quickly go south for the Blues as their need of a true sporting director under Boehley may start to show.