It’s a football tradition entwined with the modern era. Tottenham Hotspur are headed into the final week of the summer transfer window with business yet to be concluded.
Leicester City were the latest side to deny Spurs victory as Riyad Mahrez cancelled out Dele Alli’s 81st minute opener to ensure an occasionally breathless, but often dour, affair ended with a point being shared apiece.
Messrs Roberto Martinez and Mark Hughes, the Everton and Stoke City bosses respectively, have bemoaned the window’s very existence in recent weeks as Premier League clubs struggle to keep hold of their prized assets while also trying to persuade others to offload theirs.
While Daniel Levy’s pragmatism has earned him plaudits in recent years, collecting astronomical fees for the likes of Gareth Bale and Luka Modrić in the process, it’s a policy which appears to hinder Spurs more than aid their efforts to qualify for the Champions League.
The Tottenham chairman was understandably hurt by the manner in which André Villas-Boas poured the £86m Bale funds down a drain which regurgitated Paulinho and Roberto Soldado. It won’t have escaped him that four of the seven players who arrived two years ago have left - all at a considerable loss.
The lack of a proven striker on Mauricio Pochettino’s bench in the East Midlands became all the more pertinent as Harry Kane was out-muscled by Robert Huth and Wes Morgan at regular intervals.
When asked about his search for reinforcements post-match, the Argentine said: "This is difficult to speak about but I think we can improve and compete better.
"We were 2-0 up against Stoke and conceded goals in the last minutes again and this is my focus, to improve that."
Meanwhile, City were showcasing all the guile and vibrancy which saw them sit top of the table on both of the Saturday evenings of the season so far.
As a nation scrambles to include Algerian international Mahrez into their Fantasy teams, the 24-year-old continues to haunt full-backs of all shapes and sizes.
This week’s victim was Ben Davies but spare a thought for Kyle Walker, too, who had to contend with Marc Albrighton, the former Aston Villa fringe-player who now looks destined to join Jamie Vardy in the England set-up. Roy Hodgson, watching from the stands, is known to be an admirer.
With the visitors pining for the adventure of Christian Eriksen, out with a knee injury, Claudio Ranieri’s men started the match in typically industrious fashion but lacked the cutting edge of previous outings.
Pochettino’s attempts to stifle the fearless Foxes, deploying the defensively-minded Erik Dier in midfield, appeared to be working as both sides played out a timid opening forty-five minutes.
Kane, the prodigal son of last season, was being booed at every turn by Leicester supporters who haven’t forgotten his ill-fated loan spell in 2013, where he scored just twice in 15 matches.
But a marauding gallop past Ritchie De Laet on the hour-mark had Foxes hearts in mouths as Spurs turned the screw. Kasper Schmeichel will have been relieved when the England striker’s effort was fired straight at him rather than into one of the two corners available to him.
Leicester went into the clash riding a wave of optimism after two scintillating victories over Sunderland and West Ham, buoyed also by the acquisition of Gokhan Inler in midweek, but will have been aware they’ve never won three consecutive top flight matches at the beginning of a season.
Bragging a bench worth over £30m in transfer fees, the envy of their visitors, the Tinkerman again refrained from giving into type and named the same starting line-up from their earlier successes.
On-fire Mahrez almost rewarded the Italian when he struck the post after 68 minutes but the 24-year-old’s low drive, after weaving in and out of Davies once more, was eventually cleared from danger. It wouldn’t be the last Hugo Lloris would see of him.
Should Tottenham return with an improved offer for Saido Berahino in the coming days, the news is likely to be greeted warmly by Kane.
The England under-21s pair have proven for Gareth Southgate’s men that they can function well together while Spurs continue to appear a decidedly impotent outfit after picking up one point from their opening fixtures.
Now with Inler and N’Golo Kante on the field, Leicester’s seemingly unstoppable winning streak was about to be put under considerable strain as Spurs finally jerked into gear.
Nacer Chadli plotted a course past De Laet and Morgan before dinking a cross onto Alli’s head at the back post. The 19-year-old, signed from MK Dons last year, duly nodded home to send the travelling Tottenham fans into delirium.
Their joy was short lived, as it so often is for Spurs supporters, however, as Mahrez galloped past Davies and arrowed a shot past the outstretched Lloris to level the scores.
In a heartbeat, the three points had escaped Tottenham again. Pochettino has work to do.Reuse content