The final grains of sand are falling in the timer that is the summer transfer window, though if this period in the football calendar has ever taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected.
There are now a matter of hours left in window, as clubs all over Europe embark on a last-minute scramble to get those final few faces in under the welcome sign.
This summer has been one of the strangest in living memory. Some football heavyweights have been left cash-strapped due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, while others have spent money like it’s going out of fashion; here’s looking at you, Chelsea.
While some clubs have seemingly got their transfer dealings done right and others have faltered, a sliver of time still remains for cheques to be banked and cameras to flash down upon unveiling smiles.
As the transfer window enters its eleventh hour before the official close of 11pm on Monday, Sportsmail sweeps through the big deals we could yet see pushed over the line across the continent.
It would be foolish to start anywhere else.
Sancho has dominated the headlines all summer long, and looks set to do so for the foreseeable.
The sticking point has always been Borussia Dortmund’s valuation, with the Bundesliga giants completely unwilling to budge from their £108million (€120m) price demand.
Manchester United established themselves early on as the sole contender for Sancho’s signature, yet somehow still haven’t managed to get a deal done.
The most recent offer, which totalled £91m, still falls some way short. On Friday Ole Gunnar Solskjaer himself admitted he perhaps got this window wrong, in thinking teams would be more compliant when it came to selling players.
Still, United have form. Last summer they refused to meet Leicester’s asking price for Harry Maguire, only to then go and pay the full amount in the final hours of the window.
History could very well repeat itself here, but even by their standards United are leaving this one late.
Jadon Sancho has been the star name of the window, but Man United have made little progress
The enigmatic striker has been a priority for new Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman since day one.
He trusts Depay, and feels his compatriot has the skills and attributes to rally the Nou Camp crowd and provide the goods in La Liga.
Reports in France state Depay has turned down a late offer from AC Milan, in hope of securing his switch to Barca before the window closes.
Lyon are willing to allow their talisman to leave for a respectable fee, though much of this deal could hinge upon what happens to Ousmane Dembele in the final hours.
Memphis Depay has been trailed by Barca all summer, with Ronald Koeman keen to seal a deal
Barca have repeatedly said the Frenchman is not available this summer, though there is growing feeling a loan move would be sanctioned; in order to both relieve the wage bill and allow Dembele to finally get a prolonged run of football in his legs.
The former Dortmund man has been desperately unlucky with injuries since his arrival in Catalonia, and could make way in order for Koeman to bring in Depay and remodel his attacking line.
A final flurry of events could see Dembele head to Old Trafford on loan, with United tipped to make a late enquiry should they finally admit defeat in their pursuit of Sancho.
As it often the case with deadline day transfers, this switch would be just one of the many blocks in a chain reaction of mayhem.
Barcelona want to retain Ousmane Dembele but talk of a late loan departure is now mounting
Watford’s Senegal dynamo has pledged to knuckle down this season, though it goes without saying that the talented youngster is far too good for the Championship.
Earlier in the window Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool were priced out of a move for the £45m-rated star and instead secured the signature of Diogo Jota from Wolves.
Sarr however remains very much on the radar of Manchester United, who have the 22-year-old on a shortlist – along with Dembele – as Sancho alternatives.
It is an area United have highlighted a need to strengthen, and rarely does a window go by when the Red Devil completely pass up on all their targets.
The highly-rated Ismaila Sarr would seize the chance to get himself out of the Championship
Lyon again could be busy on the sales come the final day of the window, and it is no secret that midfield gem Aouar is a man in demand.
Funds are still needed at the Emirates, with Mikel Arteta operating on a shoe-string budget.
The powers that be in north London are working on the final touches to see Lucas Torreira depart the club, freeing up space for Arteta to bring in Aouar in the remaining hours of the window.
Rivals Tottenham have also been linked, but there is growing feeling that much of Arsenal’s groundwork has already been done.
Lyon’s Houssem Aouar has been tracked by Arsenal all summer and is tipped for a late move
Another star linked with the Emirates, Ghana international Thomas has attracted interest across the continent.
Atletico Madrid are determined to keep their midfield general, who is available this summer if his £40m buy-out clause is activated.
Yet to sign fresh terms at the Wanda Metropolitano, Thomas could still feature as a deadline day departure, though it seems likely he is set to wait until the coming window.
Midfield general Thomas Partey has not signed a new deal and can leave for £40m
The versatile Dutchman is adored by Jurgen Klopp, but is another player entering the final stages of a contract.
Many expected Wijnaldum to depart as Liverpool confirmed the arrival of Thiago Alcantara, only for the silence to continue.
Wijnaldum has been heavily linked with Barcelona, who are set to be one of the most active clubs in the final hours of the transfer window.
He can still agree a deal with another European club in January, though a late surge from Barca may well see hands shaken before that.
Still yet to confirm a new Anfield contact, Georginio Wijnaldum is a man in demand
Napoli had been expecting to be inundated with offers for Koulibaly this summer, after making clear they were finally ready to sell their prized defender.
The Italian club have decided now is the best time to extract the maximum value out of the Senegal star, who is coming towards the end of his contract and turns 30 next year.
Manchester City were heavily tipped to make the signing, and were even left red-faced after an article on the club’s official website claimed to have completed the deal.
City have since signed Ruben Diaz, though Koulibaly’s departure to another European heavyweight is not out of the question.
Italian royalty AC and Inter Milan have each been linked, and Napoli are renowned for concluding swift business if enough cash is on the table.
Napoli have expressed a willingness to sell Kalidou Koulibaly, and a late move is still possible
It’s been a strange summer for Alli, with his days at Spurs now seeming very numbered.
It’s unusual for a player of such promise to fall completely off the radar of his own club, though a recently rejected Paris Saint Germain bid has shown signs of a way back.
Nonetheless, the arrival of Gareth Bale means places in the attacking third are scarce, and a late, improved deadline day bid may well force Spurs’ hand.
Dele Alli has fallen out of favour at Tottenham and PSG are now upping their interest
Lots has happened since Hudson-Odoi broke through at Chelsea and was rewarded with a bumper new deal, though the youngster finds himself on the fringes once more.
A combination of poor injury luck and a spate of new signings has thrust Hudson-Odoi’s future into question, though Bayern Munich have retained their interest throughout.
The Germans remain keen on completing a loan deal for the starlet, though are understood to want an option to buy to be stitched into the small print.
The prospect of Callum Hudson-Odoi to Bayern Munich is now firmly back on the cards
United’s forgotten man is desperate to secure a permanent move to Roma following a highly impressive loan spell.
In testing financial times United are dragging their feet in order to secure the best fee possible, though there is a quiet confidence that a transfer will be concluded.
Roma have seen enough from Smalling that they want to build their defence around him, and the Englishman has settled in the Eternal City and feels no need to consider other options.
Chris Smalling marshaled the Roma defence last season and is hopeful of a permanent move
The Welsh winger was one of several players Liverpool were confident of collecting a fee for this summer, though interest quickly dried up in the testing financial climate.
Sean Dyche’s Burnley have been locked in conversations with their Anfield counterparts, though last week a move stalled due to Liverpool’s pricey demands of £15m up front, with further add-ons.
It is understood that Burnley remain interested, though will not meet Liverpool’s current estimate. Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds are also monitoring the situation.
Harry Wilson’s last act as a Liverpool player could be his Carabao Cup penalty miss
Another Welshman set for a late move is United’s Dan James, who has slipped down the Old Trafford pecking order at a pivotal time in his football development.
Before signing for United, James was agonizingly close to moving to Leeds United, and had completed a medical and all formalities with the club.
Fortunately, Leeds’ interest has remained, and the club are now hopeful of offering a reprieve.
United are searching for upwards of £20m for the youngster, though have not expressed a public willingness to part with his services.
A late loan move to Elland Road is expected to materialise, should Bielsa’s side opt against making headway on a deal to bring in Wilson from Liverpool.
Dan James is set to be handed a lifeline by Leeds after his United career began to stall
It seems only a matter of time on the completion of Torreira’s exit, with the Uruguayan excited by the possibility of working under Diego Simeone at Atletico.
Torreira will head out on loan with Atletico taking up an option to buy. The Spanish giants are hopeful the diminutive star can recapture the early form he showed at the Gunners, and become a dynamic box-to-box general.
As aforementioned, this would free up the possibility of Thomas Partey exiting, though at this stage it seems more likely for Arsenal to make a late dash for Lyon’s Aouar, to cap off their transfer window in style.
Lucas Torreira has already said his Arsenal goodbyes ahead of a late move to Atletico Madrid