Tottenham today face a tense wait to discover if they have pulled off the deal of transfer deadline day – the £8m acquisition of Real Madrid's Dutch midfielder Rafael van der Vaart – as the Premier League investigate the club's claims that technical problems saw them struggle to meet the 6pm deadline.
Spurs, who were only alerted to Van der Vaart's availability two hours before the deadline, according to manager Harry Redknapp, are understood to have told the Premier League that technical difficulties relating to at least one of the computer servers being used by the buying and selling clubs then exacerbated attempts to submit the relevant paperwork in time. The League will today investigate that claim in more detail before they decide whether the new acquisition Redknapp had begun to despair of can be allowed to stand.
With Real desperate to release a player whose use to them has been severely limited by the arrival of Sergio Canales and Mesut Ozil, a €12m (£10m) deal with Bayern Munich had seemed likely but that collapsed, handing Spurs chairman Daniel Levy the opportunity which Redknapp said he had put to him yesterday afternoon. There was no announcement of a sale from Real last night, though the Spurs manager was confident that enough had been done before the 6pm deadline to secure the major signing which he had wanted following Champions League qualification. He certainly has history where last-minute deals are concerned: January's deal to bring in Niko Kranjcar was as close run as the release of Benjani Mwaruwari to Manchester City from Portsmouth, where he was manager, two years earlier.
"I think he was going to Bayern Munich yesterday for about £18m, but suddenly it became an awful lot cheaper," said Redknapp, whose attempt to sign Ryan Babel from Liverpool for £10m earlier in the day fell through as Liverpool's own £9m bid for West Ham's Carlton Cole came to nothing – even though Babel and possibly Lucas Leiva, were thrown in. "For that sort of money, he is a top player and he will improve us for sure. We have made the effort. I am hopeful. It could happen. It was a last-minute job."
Van der Vaart, who may not settle for anything less than regular starts, will be a tough management challenge for Redknapp. The Real manager, Jose Mourinho, appreciated his talents but simply had a preponderance of players for the position occupied by the 27-year-old. Redknapp's only other acquisition yesterday was Croatian goalkeeper Stipe Pletikosa from Spartak Moscow on a season-long loan.
Sunderland and Birmingham City to dominated the day otherwise, revealing the extent of their Premier League ambitions with the most eye-catching deals. The Ghanaian international Asamoah Gyan arrives on Wearside for a club record £13m, as Birmingham secured Alexander Hleb on a season's loan, the exciting Chilean winger Jean Beausejour on a permanent deal and Martin Jiranek, the Spartak Moscow captain, as left-back and central defensive cover.
Gyan's move from Rennes – sealed 20 minutes before the transfer deadline – will capture most attention. The Sunderland manager, Steve Bruce, said last night that he had tried to buy the 24-year-old a year ago but "couldn't do it". His 13 goals in the France's Ligue 1 were a good return last season, though he managed only one the year before.
Birmingham's £4m move for Beausejour, a strong wide man from the Mexican side Club America, may be a shrewder one, based on a World Cup showing which included a dazzling opening 20 minutes against Spain in the group stage. Hleb, with proven English experience, chose the Midlands over Benfica.
Stoke's frantic last day saw the return to the Midlands of Jermaine Pennant, after an unhappy four years away at Liverpool and Real Zaragoza since he left Birmingham in July 2006. Pennant, at the Britannia on a six-month loan, hasn't started a game in Spain since January and failed to score in 25 appearances since arriving there.
Salif Diao has returned to the Potteries on a new two-year deal, having fallen out of contract, and the Stoke manager Tony Pulis drove through a deal to bring in Portsmouth's Marc Wilson by sending Dave Kitson and Liam Lawrence the other way. Marcus Bent made way, joining Wolverhampton Wanderers on a four-month loan deal.
West Ham were hoping last night that they has secured the purchase of Blackburn's Danish right-back Lars Jacobsen in a deal which ran hard up against the deadline. West Ham held on to Scott Parker, for whom Tottenham did not make a second bid.
Owen Coyle's rebuilding at Bolton Wanderers continued with the signing of forward Rodrigo Moreno from Benfica on a season-long loan, subject to international clearance.
Wigan also sought to bolster their squad, signing the England Under-21 midfielder Tom Cleverley from Manchester United on a season's loan and Chelsea's 21-year-old Argentinian striker Franco Di Santo on a three-year deal.
Arsenal, who released Armand Traoré to Juventus on a season's loan, move into the season without the new goalkeeper Arsène Wenger sought. Liverpool must continue to rely on David Ngog as back-up for Fernando Torres. Neither Babel nor Lucas wanted to move to West Ham for the Cole deal. Liverpool's left-back Emiliano Insua joined Galatasaray on a season's loan with a view to a permanent deal and midfielder Damien Plessis signed for Panathinaikos.
Who went where
Top deadline day deals:
Robinho (Man City to Milan) £22m
A Gyan (Rennes to Sunderland) £13m
G Sigurdsson (Reading to Hoffenheim) £6m
F di Santo (Chelsea to Wigan) £2m
M Phillips (Wycombe to Blackpool) £325,000
P Konchesky (Fulham to Liverpool) Und
J Beausejour (C America to Birmingham) Und
D J Campbell (Leicester to Blackpool) Und
M Jiranek (S Moscow to Birmingham) Und
E Insua (Liverpool to Galatasaray) Loan
R Moreno (Benfica to Bolton) Loan
A Hleb (Barcelona to Birmingham) Loan
E Gudjohnsen (Monaco to Stoke) Loan
S Pletikosa (S Moscow to Tottenham) Loan
M Bent (Birmingham to Wolves) Loan
Top summer transfers:
Y Touré (Barcelona to Man City) £30m
J Milner (Aston Villa to Man City) £26m
D Silva (Valencia to Man City) £25m
M Balotelli (Inter to Man City) £24m
Ramires (Benfica to Chelsea) £18.3m
A Kolarov (Lazio to Man City) £17m
A Gyan (Rennes to Sunderland) £13m
R Meireles (Porto to Liverpool) £11.5m
J Boateng (Hamburg to Man City) £11m
L Koscielny (Lorient to Arsenal) £10m
C Smalling (Fulham to Man United) £10m
S Ireland (Man City to Aston Villa) £8m