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Transfer deadline day 2023: Six questions to emerge from a record transfer window

Will Al-Ittihad come back with an improved bid for Mohamed Salah?

The transfer window has closed until January with the usual rash of big money deals and even some headline-grabbing moves that did not happen.

Liverpool and Manchester United made significant efforts to strengthen while Tottenham could not resist their traditional deadline day foray into the market.

In moves that did not materialise, Saudi Pro League side Al-Ittihad failed with a £150m bid for Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah while Fulham’s Joao Palhinha had to return to Craven Cottage despite undergoing a medical with Bayern Munich after his transfer collapsed because a replacement could not be signed.

So what are the big questions left to answer once the dust has settled on another hectic deadline day?

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Will Salah saga drag on?

Liverpool made their position crystal clear that Mohamed Salah was not for sale with the instant rejection of an offer that could have brought them £150m from Saudi Pro League club Al-Ittihad.

The club’s stance was that the 31-year-old was untouchable and that the matter was considered closed at Anfield – but the complication may be that it is not considered closed in Saudi Arabia.

And with the Saudi transfer window not closing until 7 September, there was immediate talk that the Saudis were likely to return with an offer nearer to £200m in an attempt to make Liverpool blink.

Liverpool have no intention of blinking as they would not be able to re-invest any money until January at the earliest and manager Jurgen Klopp has also made it clear the brilliant Egyptian, who has 187 goals in 308 games for the club, would not be sold.

Salah has maintained a silence but his agent Ramy Abbas Issa wrote in a social media post on 7 August, when speculation of Saudi interest started: “Mohamed remains committed to Liverpool. If we considered leaving Liverpool this year, we wouldn’t have renewed the contract last summer.”

There is nothing to suggest anything has changed but this may not stop Al-Ittihad making another even more eye-watering offer for Salah. He would be the biggest coup of all for brand Saudi Pro League and further evidence of the existential threat posed to the Premier League.

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Have Man Utd done enough?

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag declared himself happy with their transfer window – but it was not necessarily a view shared by many of the club’s followers.

Mason Mount arrived from Chelsea in a £60m deal while £72m striker Rasmus Hojlund is finally ready to make his introduction after injury against Arsenal on Sunday. Andre Onana was signed as the goalkeeping successor to David de Gea.

It led to a rash of transfer activity on deadline day with Tottenham outcast Sergio Reguilon joining to cover for injured Luke Shaw while veteran former Old Trafford defender Jonny Evans, now 35, returned on a one-year deal as an emergency reinforcement.

What this means for former captain Harry Maguire remains unclear, with Ten Hag perfectly willing to offload him to West Ham United only for the deal to fall down over personal terms. If the situation arises where Evans gets in ahead of Maguire, and Raphael Varane is currently injured, then this will be an embarrassing blow to the England defender.

The big move was the loan deal for Fiorentina midfield man Sofyan Amrabat, so impressive for Morocco at the World Cup, finally ending the search for another holding midfield man.

United have looked sketchy and unimpressive despite winning two of their first three Premier League games but if Amrabat and Hojlund hit the ground running, things will look a lot better.

Hojlund will be under heavy scrutiny as the 20-year-old Denmark striker is earmarked to provide the natural goalscoring threat United have been missing.

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Evolution not revolution for Spurs under Ange?

Nottingham Forest’s exciting winger Brennan Johnson was a signing new Spurs manager Ange Postecoglou will be delighted to secure as the 22-year-old arrived for a fee in excess of £45m.

Postecoglou was very keen to spend some of the cash received for Harry Kane from Bayern Munich on Johnson, whose pace and positive approach sits nicely with the attacking style the Australian is already adopting. He was a priority signing.

James Maddison is already providing the creative flourishes in midfield and Johnson will offer the width as the Spurs central midfield already shows such promising signs in the shape of the revitalised Yves Bissouma and Pape Matar Sarr.

It has been steady progress in the window but Postecoglou has arguably been left with too many fringe players who are clearly not in the forefront of his thoughts such as Eric Dier, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Bryan Gil and Davinson Sanchez.

Much work to be done and another central defender would have been on Postecoglou’s wish-list – but a start has been made.

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Will Klopp’s midfield rebuild work?

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp accepted the engine room of his side needed a reboot after last season’s disappointing performances but the process was accelerated by the Saudi Arabian raid for captain Jordan Henderson and Fabinho.

Brighton’s Alex Mac Allister and Hungarian Dominik Szoboszlai were the first arrivals then – after losing out to Chelsea for Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia – Liverpool launched a surprise swoop for Stuttgart’s 30-year-old Japan captain Wataru Endo.

Klopp was keen to complete a serious overhaul and the final piece was Bayern Munich’s 21-year-old Netherlands international Ryan Gravenberch, who signed in on deadline day in a £34m deal.

In the shape of this quartet, Klopp hopes he has fashioned a new-look combination of defensive solidity and creative spark to not just protect his back line but also supply a stellar attack containing Mohamed Salah, Cody Gakpo, Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez, whose double inspired a dramatic late comeback to victory at Newcastle United last Sunday.

In an ideal world Liverpool would have added another central defender but, on first evidence, the large scale reshaping of the midfield looks impressive.

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Will Everton fall short?

Everton raked in cash on deadline day with the sale of Alex Iwobi to Fulham for £22m and young striker Tom Cannon to Leicester City for an initial £6m potentially rising to £7.5m with add-ons, while Neal Maupay went off the wage bill in a loan move back to former club Brentford.

The money will be staying in the bank as Everton failed to add any new additions before the window closed, with time in the build-up once more spent on attempting to convince Leeds United to sell Wilfried Gnonto – despite being told on several occasions there was no deal to be done.

Everton’s new £25m striker Beto made a good impression against League Two Doncaster Rovers in the Carabao Cup, at least hinting he could fill a goalscoring gap that has been left vacant in a strategy bordering on negligence for more than a year.

This means Everton’s incoming business has seen 38-year-old Ashley Young signed on a free transfer, Arnaut Danjuma and Jack Harrison signed on loan – the latter injured on arrival from Leeds United – Beto and teenage striker Youssef Chermiti brought in from Sporting Lisbon for £14m.

Given Everton’s abysmal start to the Premier League season, three losses and no goals, there will be understandable consternation and concern that there were no deadline day signings for a squad reduced in numbers from last season and already looking desperately short of quality.

Everton’s squad is threadbare and vulnerable, with real concerns in central defence, where numbers are low after the departures of Yerry Mina and Conor Coady, who figured last season.

This, sadly, is also a reflection of the desperate financial reality Everton now face after years of mismanagement and money squandered which has led to fan revolt against owner Farhad Moshiri and chairman Bill Kenwright as many continue to call for change at boardroom level.

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Will Forest’s revolving door keep them safe again?

Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper did brilliantly to mould an unprecedented number of new arrivals into a squad that stayed in the Premier League last season – and a busy deadline day will hope to set him up for something similar this term.

Brennan Johnson may have been a painful departure to Spurs but Cooper was certainly allowed to beef up his squad on a frantic day at The City Ground.

Forest brought in Chelsea’s former England winger Callum Hudson-Odoi – a real talent who lost his way – and Bologna captain Nicolas Dominguez on permanent deals plus Arsenal full-back Nuno Tavares on loan. Greek international keeper Odysseas Vlachodimos was also signed on a four-year deal from Benfica.

The most significant announcement may have come after midnight with the signing of PSV Eindhoven midfielder Ibrahim Sangare in what is understood to be a club record deal worth around £30m.

The 25-year-old Ivory Coast international was a key member of the PSV side that thrashed Rangers 7-3 on aggregate, scoring in the first leg at Ibrox, to reach the Champions League group stage and has caught the eye of many of Europe’s top clubs. Forest have pulled off a coup to sign a player who could have been looking forward to Champions League football but instead came to the banks of the Trent.

Former Liverpool striker Divock Origi has signed on loan from AC Milan to add vast experience and there was also a late addition of Norwich City defender Andrew Omobamidele, the 21-year-old costing £11m.

They arrived in addition to six previous signings, Anthony Elanga, Matt Turner, Ola Aina, Andrey Santos, Gonzalo Montiel and Murillo.

It means Cooper has to perform his mix-and-match act again – but he has shown he is capable of doing it.

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