WITH 13 days to go in a transfer window like no other, top clubs and players are still scrambling to solve their futures.
As families around the country tighten their belts and explore every avenue to reduce bills, familiar faces and new forces alike are spending huge sums in the Premier League.
Erik ten Hag is scrambling around for new players as the end of the window nearsCredit: Reuters
Todd Boehly has conducted transfer business himself since taking over as ownerCredit: Getty
The summer sales do not end until September 1 — but Prem clubs are set to smash the 2017 record spend for a single window of £1.43billion.
A total of £1.4bn has been splashed and there is still so much to decide — with managers and sporting directors expecting the market to only get busier before the deadline.
Chelsea are the biggest Prem spenders so far.
Now under the ownership of Todd Boehly — who is heading up recruitment personally — the Blues are sticking to a tried-and-tested formula.
Agents describe the American billionaire as a pleasure to work with on deals — though some have likened his approach to that of a teenager playing Football Manager.
But the west Londoners have been lodging bids left, right and centre for weeks and still have plenty more to do having been pipped to a number of signings by Barcelona.
Manchester United, attempting to wipe the slate clean following the appointment of Erik ten Hag, have been described as “carnage” behind the scenes as they scramble from target to target in an attempt to turn things around.
David Webb, a recruitment expert who has worked at Tottenham, Bournemouth, Southampton and Huddersfield, told SunSport: “At Tottenham with Mauricio Pochettino we had a very clear structure which helped create a very good force on the pitch.
“With Man United, it seems that they have appointed a new manager and are waiting for him to lead rather than the other way around.”
But it is not just the Big Six waving the chequebooks about.
New-boys Nottingham Forest have already flown past the £100m mark in terms of their spending and are going about it in an equally baffling way to many in the business — even before yesterday’s eye-watering £42.5m package was agreed to sign Wolves midfielder Morgan Gibbs-White.
Forest are said to have lodged bids with a number of targets in each position before plumping for the one they actually want, driving up prices and frustration levels for other suitors.
Even though there have already been seven weeks of the summer window, most clubs still have a fair bit of work to do.
The mad, late scramble is inevitable but hardly desirable.
Webb insisted: “It is one you want to avoid. It is great for fans and the media but working inside it is something that you try to avoid.
“Chelsea look like they’re going to add more, City look like they’re going to add one more. Sometimes they trigger each other. Tottenham being Tottenham, Daniel Levy could have something up his sleeve for the last days.
“It is going to be an interesting and exciting last two weeks.”
It is not just the clubs with question marks hanging over them. An array of the biggest names in the Premier League and abroad still do not know their fate.
Sterling, Erling Haaland and Gabriel Jesus may have already sealed their moves but what does the future hold for Frenkie de Jong, Christian Pulisic and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang?
Cristiano Ronaldo’s transfer saga will run until the end of the windowCredit: Reuters
That is not to mention the stroppy elephant in the room — Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Portuguese’s predicament — being stuck at Old Trafford and outside of the Champions League for the first time in 20 years — hangs over Manchester United like a bad smell.
Until his future is solved, Ten Hag and his new squad cannot move forward.
They are not the only super-club navigating a sticky situation.
Such are Barcelona’s financial problems that Aubameyang could be on his way back to the Prem just months after leaving Arsenal, with Chelsea interested.
It could also see De Jong leave the Nou Camp despite wanting to stay, with the Blues also chasing the Dutchman after United wasted weeks pursuing the midfielder.
It has been a summer like no other so far — and seems to only be heading in one direction.
Strap yourselves in!
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