LONDON • The frustrating search by English football clubs for additional firepower boiled over into rancour on Tuesday when the transfer window closed with a sense of anti-climax, despite a record net spend of more than £430 million (S$931 million) on players.
There was predictable exasperation and a feeling of being underwhelmed as many proposed deals collapsed. Arsenal failed to find a top striker and Tottenham Hotspur, also looking for a marksman, came up short.
The gloom will not be lifted over Stamford Bridge and there could be further fallout after Chelsea failed to land their top targets.
WAR AND PEACE
Sad how I can't say exactly how the club has treated me, but I can officially say I will never play (for) Jeremy Peace.
SAIDO BERAHINO, criticising the chairman of West Brom after the club rejected two deadline-day bids by Spurs
They had to settle for a couple of relatively low-key defenders.
Jose Mourinho will not be happy, having repeatedly talked of defensive deficiencies and revealed that he handed his list of targets to the club in April.
Once again, Daniel Levy and Jeremy Peace, reputed to be among the toughest negotiators, stole the show over Saido Berahino's proposed move to White Hart Lane.
Peace, the West Bromwich Albion chairman, expressed his irritation with his Tottenham counterpart for gradually making small increases to his bids to acquire the England striker.
West Brom privately said that although Tottenham's offer eventually reached about £22.5 million, they would receive very little of the money now and £3 million in add-ons were highly unlikely to be paid.
Tottenham had initially offered to pay £3.5 million up front and raised that sum to £5 million on Tuesday, with the balance payable over the next five years.
Spurs contest the figures and say that they had offered to include Andros Townsend and Federico Fazio.
However, West Brom took umbrage when the value of Tottenham's third offer, on Tuesday, was worth less than their second bid last week.
Berahino took to Twitter to vent his frustration, saying he would not play for the Midlands outfit again under Peace. "Sad how I can't say exactly how the club has treated me, but I can officially say I will never play (for) Jeremy Peace," he said.
Berahino was fined £28,000, two weeks' wages, for his outburst.
"We have a key player who has been very unsettled by antics which were designed to get him out of our club cheaply," Peace said.
The second battle at White Hart Lane was over Emmanuel Adebayor, who was denied his request to be paid £5 million to terminate his contract to sign on a free transfer, most likely, for West Ham United.
The Togo striker will continue to earn £100,000 a week for the final year of his deal.
Tottenham also failed to sign midfielder Victor Wanyama from Southampton, who completed an £11 million deal for Virgil van Dijk. The 24-year-old defender claimed that Celtic "did everything" to keep him.
Victor Moses took the total of Chelsea players on loan to 32 as he moved to West Ham United. But that happened only after he signed a new four-year deal at a club where he had played for only eight minutes in the past two seasons.
And, after attracting interest from half a dozen clubs in the Premier League, Charlie Austin stayed in the Championship with Queens Park Rangers.
But, for all the bewilderment at the individual deals, one incontestable truth emerged.
Despite their vast wealth, England's biggest clubs can no longer cherry-pick the best players in Europe. They are also unable to bully domestic rivals into submission because of a new £5.1 billion TV deal. It will be sliced up fairly equitably among the 20 Premier League clubs from next season.
Interestingly, the big boys reacted in contrasting manners to this new reality, producing a window that may have lacked stardust but offered plenty of variety.
Unable to attract any world-class players beyond Petr Cech, Arsenal left the game entirely, leaving them as the only top-flight club in England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France not to sign an outfield player.
THE TIMES, LONDON