Closing of window means race is wide open

SO, who did win the transfer window then? Anyone expecting a last-minute trolley dash may still be feeling let down – but the lack of significant late moves means the Premier League title race is still wide open.

If Manchester City had secured Alexis Sanchez, sky blue ribbons might well have fluttered around the trophy. Ditto red ones if United had snared Gareth Bale. Or if Liverpool had seen Virgil van Dijk finally stride through the Shankly Gates.

And so a wild, record-breaking European window closed rather tamely and left an awful lot of unfinished business.

The overall winners have to be PSG who not only blew the window open but threatened the whole UEFA edifice by making a mockery of Financial Fair Play.

Politically motivated though they were, their signings of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe (albeit initially on loan) threaten to change the balance of power – Real Madrid were blown out of the water for the Frenchman – but then a realistic challenge to Europe's top trio of Real, Barcelona and Bayern Munich is long overdue.

Conversely, the biggest losers were Barca. Helpless as a rival walked off with one of the precious Tridente, another – Lionel Messi, no less – could go for nothing next year!

It's a damning indictment of a bungling board that their jewel in the crown refuses to sign his contract. And with their main target Philippe Coutinho unobtainable, they panicked.

Ousmane Dembele is a promising young player, rated in the €30 million (RM153 million) – €40 million (203 million) bracket at Borussia Dortmund after scoring six times in 32 appearances last season. But once the Neymar cash was smouldering in Barca's pocket, Dortmund managed to squeeze an extra €100 million (RM509 million) for him!

They also bought an aging former Spurs dud, Paulinho, from China. They are looking not 'more than a club', but less and less like the club they were. And such insanity will only drive Messi closer to the exit door – and the Etihad.

For once, Real Madrid had a quiet but astute window, buying young Spanish players early but they were gazumped for Mbappe. Still, with two of the next big things, Isco and Marco Asensio, now blossoming they can afford to smile – and laugh out loud at Barcelona.

Barca's equivalent in England has to be Arsenal who had a typical Arsenal summer. After suggesting it might be different with a record (for them) signing of Alexandre Lacazette while hinting at more to come, they promised (as usual) not to sell to rivals. What happened was they did precisely that and didn't sign anyone else.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain may not be top draw but his potential was sought by not one but two English clubs – Chelsea and Liverpool.

Yet Arsenal agreed to his joining Jurgen Klopp not just strengthening a team above them but helping fill their homegrown quota as well.

But there would have been a far greater shift in the tectonic plates if they'd sold Sanchez to City. And they agreed to but only if they could get Thomas Lemar as a replacement.

Whether that would have placated irate Gooners is extremely doubtful as Sanchez to City would have been seen as Robin van Persie to United 2.0

And almost unnoticed because it was another deal that didn't go through was that they offered £92m – yes, that is correct – for Lemar. And, yes again, another midfielder. You can only hazard a guess as to how many tranquilisers Wenger and Silent Stan had to be given.

But maybe not. This bid was in the same PR category as when they offered a similar amount for Mbappe – safe in the knowledge that an even bigger one (from Real Madrid) had already been rejected. Lemar preferred Liverpool but didn't want to go anyway.

Somehow they hung on to Sanchez but did nothing about the centre of defence. They were not the only ones guilty of that though.

When you have a lock that is all too frequently picked, an alarm system on the blink and a security guard who falls asleep, you don't spend your money on another Ferrari and stick it in the drive with keys in the ignition. But that is what Liverpool have done.

Unable to clinch a deal for Van Dijk, they could find no alternatives. Yet veteran Germany international Benedikt Howedes ended up at Juventus on loan and Harry Maguire at Leicester for around the £10m Liverpool paid for his former Hull colleague Andrew Robertson. Klopp had to be well aware of both.

But in Mohammed Salah he does have a Ferrari to go with the Lambourghini that is Sadio Mane, and we saw what they did to Arsenal. The Ox also could be a valuable addition under a different tactician and man-manager.

After Arsenal, the next biggest mess is at Chelsea where the unfathomable Diego Costa row could even end up in court.

Antonio Conte does not appear to have the final say on transfers and no less than four players – Romelu Lukaku, the Ox, Ross Barkley and Fernado Llorente – didn't want to join.

You can't see the champions coming 10th as they did in the infamous 'Mourinho season', but you can't see them first either. And with this amount of disarray, they will be lucky to hang on to Conte beyond Xmas.

Mourinho himself has been unusually quiet with just three signings, one of whom, Victor Lindelof, has yet to show anything.

But the impact of Lukaku and Nemanja Matic suggests they are not far short of a title-winning squad. With Bale, you'd have backed them.

City have been far less convincing but the two Silvas, David and Bernardo, may need time to mesh, central defence is still suspect while Ederson has already shown alarming signs of being another Claudio Bravo. Despite spending £220m Pep still has it all to do.

Spurs have been under the radar but have at least now have a Plan B to Harry Kane in Llorente and a replacement for Kyle Walker in Serge Aurier.

In the Premier League, the window had no convincing 'winners' but the title race may be all the better for that.