The rules of engagement for English clubs in the transfer window have changed somewhat.
Ordinarily you’d see a mad rush as the clock hurtled towards 11pm on August 31, as manic managers realise they have just minutes to complete a squad to carry them through four months or so of football until the winter window creaked open.
It’s all change this year, however, with the window closing on August 9 at 5pm, with a few extra hours to work with if a ‘deal sheet’ is submitted before that 17:00 deadline.
It could well be a chaotic 24 hours or so, with a few clubs still trying desperately to bring in new faces. Jose Mourinho is keen for a central defender at Manchester United, while Maurizio Sarri is trying manfully to complete a few deals to bring his new Chelsea squad into shape.
But who else is on the phone ahead of the craziest day of the footballing calendar? Let’s take a look at five transfer deals which may still be completed.
Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea to Real Madrid)
This one appears to be done and dusted, with Real Madrid expected to unveil the Belgian giant in front of a press conference on Thursday.
It is also believed that Mateo Kovacic will move the other way on loan for the rest of the season.
Courtois had gone AWOL from Chelsea training earlier in the week as he desperately tried to force a move, and it appears as though he has got his way with the Blues entering discussions with Kepa Arrizabalaga to sign from Athletic Bilbao.
If you have missed out on the odds of 4/9 on Courtois to join Real Madrid during the window, then the ship may have sailed.
Harry Maguire (Leicester City to Manchester United)
Manchester United are desperate to sign the England star, but Leicester don’t want to sell. Something has got to give….
Time could run out on this deal, and the bookmakers are offering 13/8 that Maguire stays at the Foxes for the time being at least.
But some punters will be interested to take on the 11/8 that he joins the Red Devils in the next 24 hours, especially after he supposedly told Sky Sports he wanted to move on Wednesday.
The fact that Leicester are in advanced talks with two centre halves, according to reports, suggests that there is still plenty of life left in this potential transfer just yet.
Paul Pogba (Manchester United to Barcelona)
This one has the feeling of paper talk about it, and certainly enough of them were full of rumours linking Paul Pogba to Barcelona on Tuesday and Wednesday.
According to the Daily Mail, Pogba has told his United teammates he wants to leave the club, and that a contract has already been agreed with Barcelona.
And the Italian version of Sky Sports has reported that Mourinho turned down a £45 million offer plus Andre Gomes and Yerry Mina for his prize midfielder.
The bookies are 1/4 that he stays at United, 3/1 that he signs for Barca.
Nabil Fekir (Lyon to Chelsea)
After supposedly being courted by Liverpool for much of the summer before they took the curious decision to plump for Xherdan Shaqiri instead, Nabil Fekir is now being touted for a move to Chelsea.
He was apparently wooed by Olivier Giroud during their time together at the World Cup, and the creator is odds-on (4/5) to leave Lyon and 2/1 to join Chelsea.
As you can see, Fekir was hardly dismissive of the move himself. “As you can see, I am in Lyon. I am very happy here,” he said.
“But the transfer window is still long and everything goes very quickly in football.”
Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona to Arsenal)
Although blessed with more attackers than Boris Johnson at Speaker’s Corner, Arsenal are apparently going in again for a speedy winger in the form of Ousmane Dembele.
The Frenchman has only been at the Nou Camp for a single season, but the signing of Bordeaux’s Malcom, who plays in exactly the same position and is a similar player, suggests he isn’t fancied by the Catalan giants.
Dembele was pictured with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette last week too, which added fuel to the fire.
He is 1/3 to stay at Barcelona, 5/2 to join the Gunners.