There is a cruel joke doing the rounds at Tottenham Hotspur that David Bentley has been doing more DJ-ing in the last six months than he has played football. The Tottenham winger, who owns a bar in Marbella, had hoped to get out of his Spurs nightmare this summer but as the transfer window shut yesterday he was the one who got left behind.
This time last year Bentley had made his £15m move from Blackburn to Tottenham and was in favour with the then new England manager Fabio Capello. He started Capello's first game in charge against Switzerland and came on as a substitute in the next four matches. That England squad was the last for which he was picked and these days he is not even a consideration.
Bentley's big hope was that Mark Hughes, his former manager at Blackburn, might come to the rescue by taking him to Manchester City as the clock ticked down to the deadline at 5pm yesterday. That hope was lost when Spurs were unwilling to match the wages of Martin Petrov, City's Bulgarian winger, and so Bentley was left at a club with a manager who has lost faith in him.
Hughes wanted Bentley at City because of his great belief in the winger's ability to give Roque Santa Cruz the kind of service which allowed him to thrive in the season before last at Blackburn. David Moyes was also understood to be interested in Bentley, but his enthusiasm for the player was not reciprocated by the Everton chairman Bill Kenwright who was not keen on the winger.
Yesterday was a transfer deadline day that was more about the misses than the hits. None of the big four, or Manchester City, surprised us, with a last-minute deal that suddenly made their squads look that bit stronger. There was none of the deadline-day drama of Robinho's transfer last year or Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano's move to West Ham in 2007.
With a chairman in Daniel Levy who likes to extract the maximum value from deals and a manager in Harry Redknapp who does not mind switching transfer targets at the last minute, Tottenham are always a good bet for final day action. As reported in The Independent yesterday, the David James move hit the skids when Paul Hart rejected the opportunity to sign Carlo Cudicini but Spurs still got Niko Kranjcar.
The Croatian winger would have left for free and got himself a decent move next summer but in his time in England he has never quite done enough to persuade one of the big four to sign him. It is no coincidence that he was the last of Portsmouth's big name outfield players – after Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, Lassana Diarra et al – to get away from the struggling club.
Aston Villa have sought a centre-back ever since Martin Laursen stopped playing in January and in the end yesterday they got two in James Collins from West Ham and Richard Dunne from Manchester City. It is debatable as to whether either are currently up to the standards of Villa's former Danish favourite, although Dunne, on his day, is still capable of being one of the best defenders in the league.
The Israeli international Tal Ben Haim has not played since April and he looked a little out of shape when he turned up at Portsmouth yesterday. For a club under the new ownership of Sulaiman al-Fahim who has promised not to sell the best players any longer it might strike one as odd that Kranjcar was allowed to leave. However, Portsmouth would surely have lost the player for nothing next summer, with him unwilling to sign a new deal.
As well as Villa, Sunderland have been one of the big spenders in the window, lavishing £12m on Michael Turner. Even Hull City centre-backs cost big money these days and Steve Bruce has been forced to spend large while still operating in that middle tranche of Premier League players where the likes of Darren Bent are regarded as a coup.
Bolton's new loan striker Igor Klasnic scored the goal in Croatia's momentous Euro 2008 game against Turkey last summer. He arrived in Lancashire yesterday on loan from Nantes, one of the last deals of the day for a side desperate to strengthen their attacking options. There will be no more room for manoeuvre from now until January.
Premier League clubs: Summer spend (£m)
Manchester City 123.7
Aston Villa 41.5
Manchester United 24
Stoke City 18.3
Birmingham City 17.6
Wolverhampton Wanderers 16.8
West Ham United 15.5
Hull City 12.4
Blackburn Rovers 11.5
Wigan Athletic 9
Bolton Wanderers 8.2