With the summer transfer window just hours away from being shut, many top clubs are still on the hunt for a possible steal on deadline day. Signings completed in these chaotic moments are often considered to be last-minute gambles or panic buys. Therefore, fans are usually a lot more skeptical about such transfers.
The haste associated with these deals justifiably produces varying levels of expectation. Sure enough, the deadline day of the 2021 summer transfer window will be no exception.
Transfers that can still go through on deadline day
Arguably the most hotly contested deal of the summer, Kylian Mbappe's potential transfer to Real Madrid has seen more twists and turns than a suspenseful thriller. The French sensation had reportedly submitted a request to be let go in this window. Following the rejection of two €150m+ offers, it seemed that the transfer saga could only end in two ways: either Real Madrid tables a massive bid on deadline day or Mbappe moves to the Bernabeu for free in 2022.
And now multiple sources are reporting that the 22-year-old will be forced to stay in Paris.
Elsewhere, Premier League clubs are leading most of the action involved on this deadline day. While Tottenham are closing in on a €30m acquisition of Barcelona's Emerson Royal, their cross-town rivals Chelsea are vying hard to sway Jules Kounde away from Sevilla. The Blues are also pushing hard to make the Saul Niguez transfer a reality in the next few hours.
With the madness of deadline day guaranteed to amplify towards its culmination, we decided to take a walk in the past and explore some of the successful last-minute deals. On that note, let's take a look at five deadline day transfers across Europe that exceeded everyone's expectations:
#5 Filipe Luís to Deportivo La Coruna
An underrated player for the majority of his career, Filipe Luis' first big break came in the form of a loan transfer to Deportivo La Coruna on the deadline day of the 2006 transfer window. Back then, the Galician outfit were mainstays in the Spanish top-tier, securing multiple domestic titles at the start of the millennium.
Having spent underwhelming spells with Ajax and the B-team at Real Madrid, Luis joined Deportivo as an unproven talent. Initially, the Brazilian left-back struggled for chances but following the departure of Joan Capdevilla to Villarreal, he was projected into the first team.
Luis had such an impressive loan spell that Deportivo officials were compelled to sign him on a permanent basis, offering him a five-year contract in 2008. The defensive stalwart went on to establish himself as one of Los Turcos' most integral cogs, becoming the only outfield player in La Liga to appear in all 38 games in his debut season. His tremendous consistency earned him a much-deserved upgrade to Atletico Madrid in 2010.
#4 Raphinha to Leeds United
On October 5, 2020, Leeds United completed an €18.6m transfer of Rennes' record signing Raphinha. Since then, the Brazilian has gone on to establish himself as one of the best members of the highly-entertaining Leeds squad. Under Marcelo Bielsa's tutelage, Raphinha has transformed into the side's top creator, dazzling audiences with his superior dribbling skills.
Signed on the deadline day last season, the 24-year-old playmaker produced seven goals and nine assists in his debut campaign at Elland Road. A remarkable output for a youngster trying to settle into the highly physical Premier League. His superlative performances have attracted multiple suitors in the English top-flight, with Liverpool prepping up a bid in the range of €40m.
Since the transfer of Daniel James from Manchester United is subject to the question of 'when' rather than 'if', Bielsa will have to rework his tactics to incorporate his star signings. With Raphinha now being labeled an unsellable asset, Leeds truly pulled off a coup on the deadline day of the 2020 transfer window.
Also read: 5 players who forced a transfer to Barcelona
#3 Marouane Fellaini to Everton
Widely known for his strange deadline day transfer to Manchester United in 2013, Marouane Fellaini was once regarded as one of the most promising defensive midfielders of the early 2010s. Before his disastrous switch to Old Trafford, Fellaini was considered David Moyes' most astute signing at Everton.
On deadline day of the 2008 summer transfer window, Everton reached an agreement with Standard Liege over the signing of a young Belgian midfielder. 21 at the time of his arrival, Fellaini spent no time hitting the ground running. He quickly became one of the most trusted players under Moyes, putting in consistent and world-class performances.
Due to his talent, Fellaini was included in the Guardian's "100 Best Footballers in the World" in 2012, ranking as high as 60. His stock took a significant nosedive, following his €32.4m transfer to Old Trafford on deadline day. The 33-year-old Belgian is currently contracted to Chinese outfit Shandong Taishan.
#2 Nemanja Matić to Benfica
From one defensive midfielder to another, Nemanja Matic is popularly regarded as the better player between the two. Following spells with lowly Serbian and Slovak clubs, Matic was snapped up by Chelsea in 2009 on the deadline day of the 2011 winter transfer window. Having played just 66 minutes for the Blues, the Serbian midfielder was used as a bargaining chip to bring in David Luiz from Benfica.
Under manager Jorge Jesus, Matic was transformed from a creative playmaker to a defensive midfielder. The sturdy Serbian thrived in this newfound role, making the spot at the base of Benfica's midfield his own. Matic won two trophies with the Eagles, helping them to their 33rd league title in his final season at the Estádio da Luz.
Having secured the Primeira Liga Player of the Year award in his penultimate season with the club, Matic was once again summoned by his former club Chelsea in 2014. In just three years with the Portuguese giants, the Serbia international had managed to take his market value from a mere €3m to a whopping €27m. Matic is currently playing for Manchester United, having procured a €44.7m transfer in 2017.
#1 Luis Suarez to Liverpool
Andy Carroll's calamitous €41m transfer to Liverpool often takes the front seat in a discussion involving the Reds' business on the deadline day of the winter window of 2011. Luckily for the English giants, they also completed another deal on that fateful day, signing a certain Luis Suarez from Ajax for a cut-price rate of €26.5m.
In 133 appearances for the club, Suarez managed to net a whopping 82 goals, all the while laying out 47 assists for his teammates. The Uruguayan striker was especially prolific in the 2013-14 season, almost single-handedly taking a mediocre Liverpool side to their first Premier League title since 1990. For his 31 goal-haul, Suarez received multiple individual accolades, including the European Golden Shoe as well as the Premier League Player of the Season.
Following three successful years in England, Suarez handed Liverpool a hefty profit of €55m by transferring to Barcelona in 2014. With Blaugrana, he cemented his position as one of the best strikers of our generation. While the aforementioned Carroll has been without a club since July 2021, Suarez is still duking it out at the highest level of Spanish football with Atletico Madrid. One of the best deadline day transfers, indeed.