All good things must come to an end, and so too must the transfer window. As we spend the next few days peeling our bruised collective sanity off the Jim-White-fronted, will-he-won’t-he, passport-to-mass-hysteria steamroller (I would never have used such hyperbolic compound adjectives a few weeks ago; this is what deadline day does to a fragile mind) we may get round to asking ourselves whether it was all really worth it.
It probably wasn’t. While the self-propelled bluster of the thing may have made James McCarthy’s protracted transfer to Everton seem like The Most Important Thing in the World at 11:05 on Monday night, it is worth noting just how localised this kind of obsessing remains.
Take Brazil, for instance. This isn’t a country afraid of overstating football’s importance, yet coverage of Europe’s deadline day was decidedly muted. Insistent minute-by-minute commentaries on the country’s big sport websites were few and far between; a friend from São Paulo informs me that only two transfers – Kaká’s return to Milan and Gareth Bale’s switch to Real Madrid – made TV news bulletins.
The public reaction, judging by my admittedly selective Twitter timeline at least, was one of amused curiosity. And while the odd comment suggested that some were gleaning a vicarious buzz from the caffeine-sustained paroxysms of Arsenal and Manchester fans (if you say “Manchester”, most Brazilians will still assume you mean United), there must also have been a feeling of trepidation – if just among journalists – that wall-to-wall coverage of this sort could soon be a thing supporters in Brazil demand as well.
But enough doom and gloom. It turns out that Brazil did rather well for itself during the (European) transfer window, thank you very much: according to German site Transfermarkt, profits totalled £156 million, making Brazil the country that reaped most financial reward since May.
This can be read positively. Firstly, it indicates that Brazilian clubs are producing high-calibre players. Due to the favourable exchange rate between Euros and Reais, it also means that those who sell players abroad get more bang for their buck than ever before should they look to find replacements domestically. This in turn may result in a trickle-down effect that benefits the country’s football landscape as a whole.
That last sentence sounded rather optimistic, and so it should. Teams in Brazil have long relied on player sales to merely stay afloat, with only a select few (Internacional being the benchmark here) proving themselves capable of exploiting their academies for sustainable long-term growth.
The reality is that much of the money received this summer will be used to pay off debts, catch up on unpaid wages and fund severance packages for hastily-sacked coaches. While the great strides taken by commercial and marketing departments have allowed some Brazilian clubs to hold onto their star players longer, compete with European wages and repatriate established stars, a great deal remains to be done before the Campeonato Brasileiro can claim to be on an even footing with its more feted European counterparts.
We must not forget the individuals involved in the£156m figure, either. While Paulinho and Neymar are said to be delighted with their new homes, others were not so lucky: Bernard (pictured), an impish winger who enchanted Brazil with his displays for boyhood club Atlético Mineiro in the early part of the year, was sold to Shakhtar Donetsk despite harbouring a clear preference for Porto.
He, like many before him, felt pushed around by market forces beyond his control. Not that that’s a rare feeling during the transfer window.
Jack Lang writes about Brazilian football for the Guardian, ESPN FC, When Saturday Comes and WhoScored, among others.
Follow him on Twitter: @snap_kaka_pop