By Toby Prince
Manchester United’s late swoop for Nigerian international striker Odion Ighalo was the most striking move of a quiet transfer deadline day for Premier League clubs on Friday.
United looked set to miss out on cover for the injured Marcus Rashford when interest in Josh King was rebuffed by Bournemouth, but Ighalo, 30, will join on loan for the rest of the season from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua.
The Red Devils were also responsible for the biggest move of the window with the signing of Portuguese international midfielder Bruno Fernandes for an initial 55 million euros (£47 million, $61 million) that could rise to 80 million euros in add-ons.
However, deals were difficult to do for even some of the world’s richest clubs as Chelsea and Tottenham were frustrated in their search for a striker.
Total spending for the month by English clubs was marginally up from last season’s £180 million ($234 million), but well short of the record £430-million outlay in 2018.
The mid-season window is increasingly seen as an undesirable time to do business for clubs wary of overpaying in a seller’s market.
“We would need a striker to have a better squad to face the great challenges in front of us in three different competitions,” said Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho, who must cope without England captain Harry Kane for most of the remainder of the season.
“But we want to do things not to resolve the problems of today or tomorrow but things that are also good for the future.”