Transfer deadline day is historically one of the craziest days in the Premier League calendar. This year, while Premier League clubs splashed less money on deadline day itself, there were still plenty of dramatic stories to follow.
Manchester United brought in Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani – who had been a free agent – while Arsenal made a last-gasp swoop to bring Thomas Partey to the Emirates from Atletico Madrid.
Only time will tell whether those two players have a major impact, or whether they turn out to be big-name flops. However, if they do manage to make their mark on the Premier League in a positive way, they will go down as two of the better deadline day signings of recent years.
With that in mind, here are five of the best transfer deadline day signings in Premier League history.
#1 Wayne Rooney (Everton to Manchester United, 2004)
When Wayne Rooney scored a winner for Everton against Arsenal with a long-range drive at the age of 16, it was clear that he was destined for something special. And by the summer of 2004 – where he starred for England at the European Championships in Portugal, scoring four goals – the teenager was easily the hottest prospect in the Premier League.
With Everton finishing in 17th place in the Premier League in 2003-04, it was always likely that Rooney would move in that summer’s transfer window. And despite his professed love for the Toffees, he placed in a transfer request. But surprisingly enough, it took until August 31st’s deadline day for him to leave Goodison Park.
Thankfully, he chose the correct destination. Rooney was signed by Manchester United for a fee of around £27m, and made an immediate impact on his debut, scoring a hat-trick in a Champions League match with Fenerbahce.
From there, Rooney never looked back. He ended up spending well over a decade at Old Trafford, becoming United’s record goalscorer in the process with 253 strikes, 183 of them coming in Premier League action. And his haul of trophies was also amazing, winning five Premier League titles, as well as the FA Cup, Champions League and Europa League.
In the end, Rooney departed United in the summer of 2017 – returning to Everton and leaving Old Trafford as a club legend. He stands comfortably as one of the best-ever deadline day signings.
#2 Ashley Cole (Arsenal to Chelsea, 2006)
A product of Arsenal’s academy, Ashley Cole debuted with the Gunners’ first-team at the age of just 18 and eventually established himself as their first-choice left-back. By the end of the 2004-05 season, he’d won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups, but had also become frustrated with Arsenal’s failure to offer him an improved contract.
The summer of 2005 saw him land in hot water when he was spotted making contact with rivals Chelsea – and their boss Jose Mourinho – over a potential transfer. But despite spending the 2005-06 season with Arsenal, it was clear that he wasn’t happy at the club.
A move to Stamford Bridge was thus arranged and eventually went through on 2006’s summer deadline day. The Blues paid just £5m for his services and sent defender William Gallas to Arsenal in a part-exchange.
To say that Cole and Chelsea had the last laugh would be an understatement. The England international ended up spending a total of eight seasons at Stamford Bridge, where he became an integral part of their defence.
He finished his Chelsea career in 2014 having won eight major trophies, including the Premier League title, the Champions League, the Europa League and four FA Cups. Despite the questionable way he left Arsenal – gaining the nickname “Cashley” in the process – he is considered one of the Premier League’s greatest-ever defenders.