It's been a few years since the transfer window became part of the footballing calendar, and what started off as a mere administrative tweak has turned into a full-blown event in itself. Clubs have had all summer to do business, yet they still invariably leave things to the last minute, frantically trying to get deals done to nab that player that will guarantee glory/save them from relegation doom (delete as appropriate).
For a sport whose fans have turned rumour-mongering and gossiping into an art form, this is gold-dust. As we prepare to settle in on the sofa in front of Sky Sports News HQ (or invade the studio again) here's what to look out for this time around.
Sky's Coverage Will Remain Brilliantly Over-The-Top
Despite the fact that Sky has become self-aware about the ridiculousness of their deadline coverage they, wisely, have just chosen to forge ahead anyway and, if anything, up the ante. Jim White will be hyperventilating as a Norwich reserve is spotted on the M62 driving towards Hull, Natalie will be quietly seething at having to wear a horrendous lemon yellow dress and, as midnight approaches, Jim will constantly repeat "THE CLOCK IS TICKING" like a movie madman. You know you love it.
Everyone will be hoping for another blue dildo
Regardless of transfer activity, the last couple of deadline days have been disappointing following Sky's decision to take their reporters out of the firing line of stadium car parks. Whilst it was an entirely understandable move - no one deserves to have a sex toy shoved in their ear while standing in the rain at Goodison Park - it did take a little of the unpredictable fun out of the occasion. Will they return today? If they do, we hope they've received serious training in crowd control.
The fax machines will make a comeback
Oh how we laughed, year after year, as the humble fax machine was wheeled out to complete huge transfer deals. Well, they weren't laughing in Spain after the hilarious collapse of David De Gea's transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid following the Spanish club's inability to open a computer file. You could almost hear the laughter coming from that dusty old machine in the corner of the room - "it wouldn't have happened it you'd used me", the reliable old fax machine chuckled to itself.
Someone will compare the total spent to nurses' wages
Of course, it's obscene how much money changes hands as clubs across the UK panic and sign off on £5m deals for players they've only seen on YouTube, and someone will inevitably try to pour a large bucket of reality upon proceedings. And while they will, naturally, be completely correct, we'll all still be cheering on those big, silly deals.
Everyone will be hoping for an 'Odemwingie'
Surely the greatest moment in deadline day history, Peter Odemwingie will forever be remembered for the events of 31st January 2013. Unhappy at West Brom, he launched a Twitter tirade against the club in an attempt to force a move, before driving to QPR to try and complete a transfer, where he was interviewed live on Sky Sports News, despite the small fact that the R's hadn't actually lodged a bid for him. He returned to the Midlands with his tail between his legs and received fan abuse for the rest of his time there.
Your club will sign a reserve defender on loan out of desperation
Every football fan - even those loudly proclaiming that they're 'happy with the squad' will be secretly hoping that they get in that big centre-back/roving full back/tricky winger/ball-winning midfielder/creative man/fox-in-the-box/big lump centre forward that they desperately need. Suddenly their club's name will appear on the ticker and...it's a wet-behind-the-ears reserve from Stoke who's played 28 games (27 as a substitute in the 88th minute). You will proclaim that he's highly-rated and 'one for the future' and then secretly cry.
Harry Redknapp will spend the day leaning out of his car window
He’s currently serving as ‘football advisor’ to Australian A-League side Central Coast Mariners FC, but it’s hard to imagine football’s foremost negotiator (note: not wheeler dealer) spending Deadline Day in his house, just watching telly or playing the Wii. No. Deadline Day elicits a Pavlovian response in Redknapp. He wakes up at midnight, glazed in a thick layer of sweat, flips his phone open and starts frantically firing “Who u got? Ow much? Talk 2 me” text to everyone in his contacts. He tears downstairs, into the garage, into his Honda and onto the motorways of Britain. Up and down he goes, from Newcastle to London, via Torquay and twice around Birmingham, only stopping to wind down his window whenever he sees anyone with a camera device. It could be Sky Sports, it could be a teen on Snapchat. He doesn’t mean any harm, he just wants to talk, he can’t help himself. That said, if you do spot Harry whizzing around a carpark telling a CCTV about his interest in Benjani, please be sure to contact a member of the Redknapp family. They are all very worried about him.
Arsenal won’t sign anyone
Arsene Wenger is a cruel man. If he has a cat, you just know he gave it a taste of gourmet Whiskas one time and then supermarket Own Brand mulch forever after. This is a manager who once made a Deadline Day signing of legitimate superstar playmaker Mesut Ozil out of absolutely nowhere, blowing the transfer-starved minds of Gooners into smithereens. Now they spend every Deadline Day refreshing their feeds, hoping against hope that Wenger will repeat the trick. They watch on, impotent, as United, City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs scoop up all the headline grabbing deals while Arsenal are left to content themselves with a press release from the club announcing an exciting ‘official global loungewear partnership’ and clarification of a signing that seemingly happened weeks ago.
Someone makes a stinker of a signing
Like turkey at Christmas, fireworks at New Year and rain in the summer, expensive flops are an essential part of the British Deadline Day. Who can forget such classics as Michael Owen (Real Madrid to Newcastle, £17million!), Andy Carroll (Newcastle to Liverpool, £35(!)million!) or Fernando Torres (Liverpool to Chelsea, £(!)5(!)0(!) million!)? But who will spunk their wad on a doomed-to-failure panic-buy this year? It used to only be an elite few that had the financial firepower to throw vast sums of it away, but now almost every club the Premier League is awash with cash, so it could feasibly be anyone. Our money’s on Middlesbrough, Darren Bent and £42million.
The guy doing the liveblog on BBC Sports will get snippy around 2pm and start openly discussing how bored he is until all the enthusiasm gets sucked out of him
2.00pm: “Slow news day so far! Let’s hope it hots up closer to 11, when the window slams shut!”
3.25pm: “Interesting things that have happened so far: I’ve alphabetised my Panini stickers, rewatched Nick Hancock’s Goals and Gaffes twice and filed an early tax return.”
4.03pm: “Just started a new Football Manager game as Gosport Borough in the Conference South. Wish me luck!”
5.47pm: “Everton manager Ronald Koeman has confirmed the club ‘have completed all the business they were intending to’ this window. Well that’s something, at least…”
6.39pm: “Bored of my Gosport game now. Gone into the editor and given myself a massive budget. Don’t give a shit anymore to be honest.”
7.20pm: “BREAKING: Arsenal have confirmed the signing of 23-year-old Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka. Cheers for that.”
8.03pm: “I’ve stopped finding your joke transfer rumours even faintly amusing now and will be shutting down the BBC Twitter page accordingly.”
9.22pm: “Massive swoop! Wayne Rooney has been lured away from Old Trafford after twelve years at United! I can’t believe it!”
9.23pm: “Sorry, I should have clarified thtat in that last update, I was talking about my Gosport Borough save.”
9.24pm: “On the phone to United’s legal team now who are threatening ‘action,’ so bear with me as I might be slow for a few minutes.
9.52pm: “Rochdale have loaned someone, but who honestly cares?”
10.09pm: “Wayne Rooney out for the season with an ankle injury. Just great.”
10.10pm: “On Gosport again, sorry. Deleted that save now, anyway.”
10.11pm: “Currently ignoring United’s legal team who are jamming the phonelines, so if you’ve got any hot tips (and none of you seem to) you’ll have to wait a moment.”
10.32pm: “Going to see if I can slink off early...”
10.49pm: “Got caught slinking off by security. Being physically restrained in my seat and forced to type updates.”
10.54pm: “Five minutes to go.”
10.55pm: “Four minutes to go.”
10.56pm: “Three minutes to go.”
10.58pm: “Two minutes to go. Oh please.”
10.59pm: “One minutes to go. I can see the light.”
11.00pm: “THE WINDOW IS SHUT!
11.01pm: I have tendered my resignation so if you have any work going whatsoever that isn’t this, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.”