Nothing will top the summer transfer deadline day of 2008.
We’ve had some memorable last-minute deals since then. Mesut Özil joining Arsenal late on in the summer of 2013 was unexpected, as was Luis Suárez and Andy Carroll both moving to Anfield in 2011’s January window.
But 2008 stands alone. It is the G.O.A.T.
Manchester City signing Robinho was the definition of a gamechanger. Not even Robinho himself could quite fathom what had just happened. Sky Sports News got so excited, they spent the next ten years smothering everything they could find in yellow paint.
But despite their best efforts, they haven’t been able to come close to replicating the drama of ’08. Sure, the goofiness lives on. You’ll still see the occasional reporter having a dildo shoved in their ear by a swarm of supporters as they try to reveal the details of Peter Crouch’s medical. There’s still Jim White, somehow managing to talk nonstop for eight hours whilst checking his phone live on air for a Whatsapp from Harry Redknapp. But it’s all just decoration.
The major transfers in modern football are now prepared months in advance. The elite agents, players and clubs wouldn’t dream of leaving their marquee business to the last day anymore. Juventus had already released their teaser video for Cristiano Ronaldo’s signing before he had even completed his medical. The element of surprise is a thing of the past.
Even Neymar’s £200 million move to PSG was being spoken about long before the deal was completed. If you’d suggested Robinho would rock up at Eastlands before that fateful day in 2008, you probably would have been detained.
For Deadline Day to return to its pomp, we need another Sheik Mansour-shaped asteroid to hit planet football.
Perhaps Crystal Palace could sign Kylian Mbappé following a takeover by Mark Zuckerberg? Maybe a group of Martians will invade earth, only to invest heavily in Port Vale? Forget yellow ties and Twitter polls. I want something so outrageous it causes Jim White to gargle an entire jar of Colman’s mustard and spew it out over Bryan Swanson’s face.
Unfortunately, with ridiculous fees and entire nation’s investing in clubs now becoming the norm, it seems the next big transfer shockwave won’t be for some time. But then again, none of us thought we’d see a jetlagged Robinho shaking Mark Hughes’ hand back in 2008.
Perhaps the next gamechanger is just around the corner.