Manchester City and Chelsea got most of their business done early in July, United floundered with indecision, Arsenal got tangled up in some unsightly sagas but they waited for the right time to make their big move and it was the right move in the end.
They could have paid £50-odd million for Luis Suarez, they could have paid £30 million for Gonzalo Higuain but they stuck to their guns and now, the morning after the night before, they can sit here and say they took home the best boy at the party.
In Mesuit Ozil - the boy all their friends and foes alike are envious of, the boy with the most class, the most talent and, crucially, the boy that really wants to be with them – Arsenal found their truelove on deadline day.
Whilst all around them other clubs made their moves with swagger and confidence, chatting up anything in a pair of shorts, Arsenal were the wallflowers of the transfer market this summer.
The big boys flashed the cash and their signings flocked and swooned as Arsenal sat nervously in the corner, downing gin and tonics, desperately trying to make eye contact with anyone vaguely human, only to realize the tall fellow with the green eyes was a lampshade with a furr coat on it. He did look a bit hairy, didn’t he.
They did several laps around the party to see if there was anyone remotely attractive who might be available and in their league, figuratively speaking. They made small talk at the bar with some undesirables (biters and racists and brutes) after giving the elbow to some dodgy ex’s that kept hanging around and wouldn’t leave them alone.
And as the last song loomed closer and closer, Arsenal still hadn’t found a dance partner – they had caught up with their old chum Mathieu Flamini and, as they reminisced in French with him and Yaya Sanogo over a cigarette outside, suddenly a tussle broke out in Spanish on the dancefloor.
It was hard to make out what the fuss was and nobody seemed to know what was going on – some Welsh geezer had showed up and spilt the drinks everywhere or something. Some kid had swiped eighty-six million quid from a Spaniard’s wallet and seven other bruisers just came out of nowhere.
Cast out of spollight and into the haze, he walked across the smoke-filled room alone. He looked around, searching for something, someone and there was Arsenal standing before him. They started talking, just polite formalities to begin with but soon enough the conversation turned to Germany and medical tests and they both felt the spark.
Whispers flew around the party, “where did Arsenal come from?” “who do they think they are?”, “they’re not good enough for him”, but all he could hear was the sweet nothings of Arsene Wenger. They talked philosophy, discussed their ambitions, their dreams, the future and as the clock struck 11pm, they walked off into the moonlight hand in hand.
Sure, it was an expensive first date - £42.5 million for dinner and a movie does sound dear – but what’s money without someone to share it with? Yes, it was a shotgun wedding but who cares? They’ve got the next five years to make the marriage work and after that, who knows? Maybe, just maybe, he’s the one.