Adam Lord's PNE Press View
The behemoth that started as simply a new football regulation has now turned into a Sky Sports monstrosity that seems to get more ridiculous by the year.
It wasn’t just Jim White that stepped up another notch this year as the eye-watering fees being dished out across the board left some rubbing their eyes in disbelief.
Preston North End were never going to be one of the big spenders of this or any other transfer window, being at the lower end of the second tier when it comes to budgets.
But no one could have predicted how the Championship would join the Premier League in what became a financial frenzy.
With Paul Pogba joining Manchester United from Juventus for just short of £90m, it appears that this scale has filtered down the clubs and divisions. In days gone by it would have been a shock to see Bristol City selling a player for £15m. You read that right – £15m.
Not this window however.
As news broke of star striker Jonathan Kodjia’s move to Aston Villa on Tuesday it was just the latest in a long line of big-money deals and led to a mere shrug of the shoulders.
The game’s gone some said. The reality is the beautiful game left us a long time ago.
The Villans have dropped down to the second tier but it hasn’t stopped the spending with the Frenchman joining £12m Ross McCormack in attack for Roberto Di Matteo’s side as new Chinese billionaire owner Dr Tony Xia splashed the cash.
Fellow relegated side Newcastle United have also brought their financial clout down with them, shipping out Moussa Sissoko, Georginio Wijnaldum and Andros Townsend, while bringing in proven Championship quality in Crystal Palace’s Dwight Gayle, £10m, and Bournemouth’s Matt Ritchie, £12m, as they bid to bounce straight back.
Players have also left English football’s second tier for big money, Nottingham Forest’s Oliver Burke heading to Bundesliga new boys RB Leipzig for a reported £13m in perhaps the most surprising deal of the last few days.
Others, namely Brighton, are seemingly in a position of strength and have stood firm as Burnley tried to prise away midfielder Dale Stephens, Newcastle targeted Anthony Knockaert and Crystal Palace eyed defender Lewis Dunk.
No longer do Championship clubs have to bow to those with loftier ambitions and greater histories, it is seemingly up to the players themselves to make their feelings known.
Money doesn’t obviously buy success, with early-season pace-setters Huddersfield Town having spent nowhere near that amount as David Wagner continues to work his magic at the John Smith’s Stadium.
North End will be hoping that is the case, as they have stuck their own agenda when it comes to recruitment with Aiden McGeady, Marnick Vermijl and Alex Baptiste the deadline-day recruits.
But where does all the big spending leave a club like PNE?
They were never going to compete with the big transfer fees but the knock-on effect has been interesting.
It appears that clubs are taking into account the rising fees when it comes to selling players, with the value of any asset more than it was even a few months ago, clubs going with the market and looking to recoup as much capital as possible when they ship someone out.
That means enquiring about even fringe players has seen some surprising fees quoted in return.
This was certainly the case with Vermijl, at the start of the summer despite the fact he was not going to be regular for Carlos Carvahal at Sheffield Wednesday.
The numbers came down as the window drew to a close and North End finally got their man with the former Manchester United youngster making his expected return to Deepdale.
Boss Simon Grayson has spoken of the difficulties of this window compared to any other but with 10 through the door since the end of last season, now all the talk about transfers can take a back seat.
We can actually focus on the football.
That is until January 1, of course, when it all begins again.