Transfer special, plus another unwanted international break

THE transfer window usually slams shut amid great fanfare and noise.

But this year it meekly, almost apologetically, closed in a manner usually reserved for leaving a sleeping baby’s room.

Alexis Sanchez didn’t go to Manchester City, Phil Coutinho isn’t a Barcelona player and Virgil van Dyke hasn’t joined Liverpool.

The three biggest sagas of the summer are now set to drag on into January and next summer. Deep joy.

The unhappy trio will stay at their clubs despite being as keen as a herd of cows who mistakenly wandered into an Argentinian steakhouse.

Signing of the summer is hard to call but Manchester United fans are delighted by new £75million striker Romelu Lukaku who has three goals in three Premier League games. Keep it up, they win the title and there is no doubt the big Belgian takes it.

Or will the award go to City’s new-look defence – the area that let Pep Guardiola down so last campaign?

Another big shout is Swansea’s incredible loan signing of Renato Sanches.

Last summer after winning Euro 2016 with Portugal and picking up the Golden Boy award he was the hottest young player in Europe.

Bayern Munich won the race for his services but he has lost his way at the German giants.

Despite being linked with Manchester United, Chelsea, Juventus and Monaco it was Paul Clement at the Liberty who managed to persuade the exciting 20-year-old to revive his career with him.

He was not the only player to snub Chelsea. The curious case of the champions suddenly not being as attractive as they once were also saw them miss out on top targets Lukaku, van Dijk, Leonardo Bonucci and Alex Sandro, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain chose £100,000 a week LESS at Anfield over the riches on offer on the King’s Road.

And even more surprisingly Fernando Llorente picked Tottenham over Chelsea – something Ross Barkley also seems set to do in January.

The best bargains have to be the frankly ridiculous £5m Watford found down the sofa and gave moneybags Chelsea for new England midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah and the £8m Liverpool paid Hull for promising Scotland defender Andy Robinson.

In an era where West Ham paid £24m for Marko Arnautovic, the Hornets and Reds can feel a little smug with their business.

The worst currently looks like the £31m United forked out for Victor Lindelof with the defender not impressing coaches at Old Trafford since his arrival from Benfica.

The Iceman looked anything but cool in his debut against Real Madrid in the Super Cup and has not been seen since.

Most unusual deal goes to Liverpool who have announced the £55m signing of No 1 target Naby Keita . . . for next season!

The RB Leipzig midfielder is a real prospect and it could drive Kop fans nuts excitedly waiting 12 months to see him in a red shirt.

Advance deals like this one don’t happen often in England but are common practise in Germany.

And summing up a weird old window, Chelsea signed Drinkwater, while Everton got a Drinkdriver!

THE Three Lions thrashed Malta 4-0 on Friday night.

Nothing to see here you might think – but the scoreline flattered Gareth Southgate’s boys – big time.

Three of the goals came in the final five minutes and the first came from a goalkeeping mistake.

The dull football served up saw the restless away crowd boo and sing ‘we’re f***ing s***’ and you could not disagree.

Those chants will reverberate around the whole of London on Monday night if the same bone-crushingly boring style is repeated at Wembley against Slovakia.

ENGLAND’S cricketers snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the Second Test against the West Indies.

The Windies were brilliant, which was both impressive and surprising after being annihilated in the First Test.

Shai Hope made history as his side cruised to an improbable target. He struck his second century of the game, a feat that had never been achieved at Headingley in 533 first-class matches.

England captain Joe Root rightly took some stick for declaring too early but he must still fancy our chances of a Series win as surely his players won’t drop SEVEN catches in the decider.

Root needs to remember that if plan A fails, there are 25 more letters.

AND finally Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather picked apart Conor ‘The Pretender’ McGregor in Vegas.

The American promptly announced his retirement and while his 50-0 record is something to be proud of you can’t help but feel all the class he possesses is saved for the ring – and now that’s over.

Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted.

Mayweather is no longer a classy boxer just a very rich man distinctly lacking in class.

Tweet @BabsDouglasBP

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