A brilliant deadline day and an impressive transfer window overall. It seems a long time since those early fears at Roberto Martinez signing three of Wigan's relegated squad.
The fourth such signing, James McCarthy, is clearly worthy of a place at a Premier League club and Everton will probably look at their £13million investment as a figure they can double in a few years' time should the midfielder continue to develop at the current rate. The Romelu Lukaku signing is the real gem, though, and the striker's arrival will prove crucial in the Toffees improving their fortunes in front of goal. He is a player who can get results in the short term while Martinez keeps one eye on the long-term transition to his preferred playing style.
A loan deal for Gareth Barry is another astute piece of business while Gerard Deulofeu is an exciting wildcard from Barcelona. And all for a net profit after Manchester United and West Brom went silly on Marouane Fellaini and Victor Anichebe.
A summer of efficiency in which City proved they have learned from last year's mistakes. The disappointment for Roberto Mancini, of course, is that he wasn't the manager to benefit from his persistent grumbles over Brian Marwood's failings in 2012.
City have spent heavily to recruit Fernandinho, Stevan Jovetic, Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas, but it is wise spending on areas in which the club needed to improve. In particular, Fernandinho and Navas provide convincing solutions to questions that arose time and time again last season as City struggled to make United sweat in the title race.
With two goals so far, Negredo has already demonstrated his penalty-box instincts, while Jovetic is a versatile forward who can work in various combinations when he is fully fit. The only reservations over City's business are 1) whether it was necessary to allow Gareth Barry, who has played a key role in their recent success, to leave on loan and 2) if Martin Demichelis was the additional defender they required following a shaky start at the back.
The loss of exciting academy prospect Denis Suarez to Barcelona is also a disappointment, but City should be relieved to be rid of Carlos Tevez, despite his excellent start at Juventus.
What to make of Arsenal's transfer business? In Mesut Ozil, they have signed the best player to move in any league anywhere in the world this summer, but the squad as a whole still looks short.
Ozil's signing is an incredible coup and the 24-year-old will improve Arsenal immeasurably. There are downsides, of course - when will the rest of the squad start demanding £200,000 a week? - but this is a transfer that needed to happen. Arsenal needed something to lift them, something to restore faith in the manager, something to make their rivals fear them once more, something to simply make everyone giddy with excitement.
Over the past eight years, Arsenal have been living on a Möbius strip, constantly returning to the same point with rarely any deviation in their peformances in the league and in Europe. But Ozil's signing shatters this regularity - this predictability. The Gunners are now an unknown threat that Chelsea, United, City and Spurs all have to fear. Wenger's team has started the season in good form and who knows the effect Ozil's arrival can have on the team? A player of his quality gives belief back to everyone at the Emirates and the response could be enormous.
The response could of course be stunted by the lack of reinforcements in other areas. Arsenal still require another centre-back (although Bacary Sagna has proved a reliable deputy) and a defensive midfielder other than Mathieu Flamini wouldn't have gone amiss. The Gunners also need another centre-forward, but although Yaya Sanogo is still the only back-up to Olivier Giroud in this position, Ozil's arrival re-opens the possibility of Theo Walcott playing in the centre. For tough away tests in the top flight and the Champions League, a front three of Ozil, Walcott and Santi Cazorla could prove deadly on the counter-attack. Ozil proved his qualities in such a system during Jose Mourinho's spell at Real Madrid and it's an approach with which Arsenal have long excelled.
With only four players arriving and ten former first-teamers leaving this summer, Arsenal may have to dip back into the market in January to relieve the strain on the squad. But for now, it's time for optimism at the Emirates.
The loss of their best player assuaged by the arrival of seven excellent signings. The question now is how quickly Spurs can transform from being a team that largely relied on one brilliant talent to a stronger and more cohesive unit overall.
Arsene Wenger has voiced his concerns over Spurs' plans to integrate so many new players into the team and the first three Premier League matches have hinted that it may take Andre Villas-Boas some time. Time he has admitted he doesn't have. The main concern is the lack of a goal threat from open play, but Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen should help in that regard. I'm still not convinced either player offers the subtlety Spurs need, but nor was Bale that sort of player. The aim is to be quicker in the final third and have schemers working closer to Roberto Soldado, which Lamela and Eriksen should both provide.
There is a case that Spurs have neglected their defence in favour of building a midfield that is much of a muchness and in which Sandro is still the best player. Although Steven Caulker has been replaced by Vlad Chiriches, squad players Benoit Assou-Ekotto and William Gallas have both departed with only Danny Rose returning from Sunderland to fill the hole left by the former. Michael Dawson's costly mistake against Arsenal reinforces the argument that he is not a top-four standard defender, while Younes Kaboul is still recovering from a lengthy injury absence and Kyle Walker is hugely unreliable. Villas-Boas may find that he has problems at the back this year.
If the attacking quandary can be solved - and I have absolute faith in Villas-Boas to come up with the answers - then Spurs should enjoy a strong season. The squad is much better equipped to withstand the pressures of the Europa League and closest rivals Arsenal still have problems despite signing Mesut Ozil.
Spurs have responded to last season's late rush in the transfer window, the disappointment of finishing fifth and Real Madrid's interest in Bale by acting quickly and smartly and, once they settle, they will prove strong contenders for a Champions League place and possibly more.
I'm impressed. Back in July, I wrote that Liverpool were still to find the juiciest worms despite their prompt action in the transfer market, but despite missing out on two top targets - Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Willian - the Reds have built on the success of January's window with several fantastic signings. It has been a great start to the season and the squad looks ready to maintain a challenge for fourth, especially when you consider there is no distraction of European football this year.
After cutting their losses on Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing, and getting a good price for Jonjo Shelvey, Liverpool have worked well to attract the best players in the mid-section of the market. Mamadou Sakho and Victor Moses are two stand-out recruits, but the Reds have also found value in Iago Aspas, Kolo Toure and Aly Cissokho. I'm not entirely convinced that Simon Mignolet, at £9million, was the right man to replace Pepe Reina, and his tendency to produce brilliant saves disguises many of the shortcomings in his game. But on the whole, Liverpool will be delighted with the way the summer has played out.
As I said in this top ten, Sakho in particular shows that Liverpool's long-term plan to return to the top four is slowly taking shape. The former PSG captain is a superb player and the leader at the back that Brendan Rodgers' side often lacked last season. Rodgers deserves credit for biding his time in his search for new defenders instead of jumping early to have everyone on board for the start of the campaign. It's often the case that players of Sakho's quality don't become available until the very end of the window, for whatever reason, and Rodgers' patience has been handsomely rewarded.
The only real question is whether a back-up for Lucas should have been acquired. The Reds won only six of 20 matches during his absence between August and December last season (and won the first match on his return at home to Southampton) and should he suffer another injury, Rodgers has no similar option to replace him.
While Cardiff and Southampton weren't afraid to splash the cash from the new TV deal, Norwich arguably received the best value for money through their early forays into the market. For just £3.5million, Nathan Redmond is one of the signings of the summer, as I said in this top ten, and the winger has immediately added fizz to a team that often struggled for pace and inspiration last year. Dutch under-21 international Leroy Fer is another astute acquisition, again offering significant sell-on value, while Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper bring a goalscoring threat and the mobility that Grant Holt lacked. After the club loosened the purse strings to sign eight players, including Johan Elmander on loan, Chris Hughton will be expected to improve both results and performances this season in what could prove to be a defining year for the manager.
Holding on to Michael Laudrup came at a price, but the Swans now possess a squad that should finish comfortably in the top half and can go far in the Europa League. A lot is required of Wilfried Bony and the striker will need to start producing consistently to avoid doubts over his expensive price tag.
Two record-breaking signings that should help the Saints secure a place in the top half. Although Southampton possibly overpaid for Victor Wanyama, the Kenyan's performances for Celtic in the Champions League demonstrated the impact he can have in the Premier League. Dani Osvaldo should bring goals and entertainment while new defensive recruit Dejan Lovren has impressed in his first three appearances and is a significant upgrade on the error-prone Jos Hooiveld. The onus is now on Mauricio Pochettino to translate Saints' big spending into big performances (unlike last week's defeat to Norwich).
Winners for their tough stance on Christian Benteke that resulted in the striker committing to a new contract at Villa Park. The Belgian is crucial to Villa's chances of climbing the table this year and has already bagged three goals in the first three matches after firing 40% of the club's top-flight goals last season.
The rest of Paul Lambert's business looks as though it might be very hit and miss. Nicklas Helenius and deadline-day signing Libor Kozak are two enormous strikers who seemingly fail to offer variety in the manager's forward options. Jores Okore, however, could prove to be a shrewd acquistion at £4million while Tony Moon has also made a solid start to his Villa career.
They have spent money for the sake of it. Because they can. Did they need Willian, Andre Schurrle and Christian Atsu? No, no and no. Jose Mourinho set his sights on only one player this summer and he failed to get his man, so Chelsea's transfer window cannot be seen as anything other than a disappointment.
Marco van Ginkel is a good signing for the future but, after Real Madrid sold Mesut Ozil to Arsenal, Mourinho must be kicking himself that Roman Abramovich had already splashed out on Willian. Chelsea may have trumped Spurs to sign Willian, but Arsenal trumped the two of them.
Although I expect Bale to be a success in Spain, the decision to sign the Spurs forward and allow Ozil to leaves exudes more than a faint whiff of Barcelona swapping Eto'o and a stack of cash for Zlatan in 2009.
Nothing encapsulates the highs and lows of deadline day better than West Brom's failed bid to bring Romelu Lukaku back to the club on loan. At the start of the day it seemed impossible that Chelsea would allow the 20-year-old to leave; in the late afternoon West Brom were given hope, and in the evening that hope was crushed as Everton stole in to seal a deal for the striker. The knock-on effect saw Shane Long's move to Hull fall through and Victor Anichebe move to the Hawthorns (for an absurd £6million fee), but the Baggies would have been in a much stronger position to kick on had Lukaku opted to rejoin them for another year.
It has not been a terrible transfer window for West Brom but, as I said in Winners and Losers, the fans are right to feel frustrated at the club's activity while almost all around them have strengthened substantially. The loan signings of Matej Vydra and Scott Sinclair afford some optimism, while Stephane Sessegnon is also a decent recruit if Steve Clarke can get the best out of him.
An embarrassing and unmitigated disaster pockmarked with indecision and incompetence. It says a lot about United's mistakes in the market that the reaction to Marouane Fellaini's arrival - their fourth most expensive signing in history - is one of disappointment. Is that it? No Thiago, no Fabregas, no Modric, no Ander Herrera. No Ozil. Just Fellaini for £4million more than his buy-out.
The 25-year-old should prove to be a decent signing for the champions, offering versatility and the combative presence they need in midfield. However, that such a straightforward transfer became a ham-fisted dash to the line indicates just how out of their depth United's negotiators have appeared this summer. Five weeks ago they allowed Fellaini's £23.5million release clause to expire, two weeks ago they offered £28million for him and Leighton Baines, and yet on Monday they somehow ended up paying £27.5million for only the Belgian. If United's original offer to Everton was 'insulting and derisory' then the final fee for Fellaini was flattering and excessive.
The aim was clearly to bring in two midfielders. Fellaini, it seems, had always been a priority for Moyes, but the manager also wanted to recruit a more forward-thinking player to complement his former charge. The intention was to secure a double signing that would solve United's problems in one fell swoop and also send out a statement to their rivals: Ferguson has gone, but United remain strong.
A move for Cesc Fabregas would have been the ideal solution but, despite making their offer public knowledge, United never seemed close to concluding a deal for the Barcelona midfielder. Ed Woodward's departure from the pre-season tour to conduct 'urgent transfer business' raised brief hopes, but the fall-out of United's three failed bids was an unnecessary club statement detailing their 'respect' for Fabregas and a hasty scramble to find an alternative.
In the final few days of the window, offers for Daniele De Rossi and Ander Herrera were submitted and swiftly rejected. De Rossi was always a non-starter but there was no shame in taking a £10million punt on a player of his quality, especially when reports claimed the Italian was restless at Roma. The real humiliation lies in the botched bid for Herrera, a hugely talented midfielder who could have been the perfect foil for Fellaini and Michael Carrick.
"Isn't it great that the club says 'There's no budget here, you go get who you want to get'," said David Moyes in July. Despite the manager's excitement, reports on Monday claimed United missed out on the midfielder over a reluctance to pay an extra £5million to meet the 24-year-old's release clause. Considering they needlessly slapped £4million on to Fellaini's price through their own sheer incompetence, it was far too late to be dithering over an amount that should be pocket change to the Glazers.
United needed the Ander deal. Not only in terms of strengthening the team, but also as a recovery move at the end of a long and bungled window. According to the Guardian's Daniel Taylor, the club had everything in place - his shirt number was ready, the announcement planned - just not the money required to seal the transfer. It was a consequence of leaving a complicated deal to the death, for a player the club have reportedly been tracking for four years.
The same issue of United officials seemingly not having the foggiest arose with a late loan move for Fabio Coentrao, as the club failed to register the transfer before the deadline. Such hopelessness has surely had a harmful effect on the club's image - while United ended Sir Alex Ferguson's reign as champions they have quickly made themselves appear desperate and clueless.
The main question at Old Trafford this season is how will United cope now Ferguson has retired, but these past few months of severe mismanagement reveal that the loss of David Gill is just as significant when it comes to transfer dealings and keeping the club's business in-house. Moyes will be pleased and relieved to have captured Fellaini, but he is now firmly in the firing line of frustrated supporters. A blistering run of form is required.
Crystal Palace and Hull
Numbers but an evident lack of quality.
If the events of deadline day didn't cause Bendtner to realise he's nowhere near as good as he thinks, then nothing ever will. The man who once scored 11 out of ten on a self-confidence test was left twiddling his thumbs ahead of proposed move to Crystal Palace while Arsenal searched for a significant upgrade. That the Gunners failed in their bid to sign Demba Ba on loan, causing Bendtner's move to Palace to collapse, leaves the striker in a quandary. He is no longer wanted (Arsenal were reportedly willing to pay £3million just to get rid of him) but he might be needed in times of utter desperation. And so, in a World Cup year (admittedly, Denmark are struggling to qualify), he has been left to potter about in the reserves waiting for his chance in the League Cup.
"Next season, I can finally make my breakthrough and then I still have two years to become better than Zlatan - and I will," said Bendtner in June 2009. "By then I will be close to my peak and will be able to look upon myself as one of the world's greatest strikers."
How's that working out for you, Nicklas?
Martin Jol and Fulham
A new owner and yet no boost to the manager's transfer kitty. This is a Fulham team going nowhere fast.
Another roll of the dice.
From the back-to-back Scudetto winners to Sunderland.
"Judge me on my signings," was the defiant message from Joe Kinnear after the uproar over his appointment at Newcastle.
Okay, Joe, you're absolutely useless.
It seems the only thing Kinnear got out of having Sir Alex Ferguson's number on speed dial was a confused old man begging him to stop calling and the threat of a restraining order. Kinnear's 'contacts' were clearly just the boast of a pompous neanderthal who the game should have left in the past. The loan signing of Loic Remy is a decent piece of business, it must be said, but it was hardly a coup. Newcastle were already familiar with Remy and his representatives after the striker rejected the Magpies at the 11th-hour in January and Harry Redknapp was presumably the one manager who was willing to deal with Kinnear.
It's telling that the closest Newcastle's director of football came to securing a second signing was his bid to bring in Mick Harford as his assistant. It's equally telling that Harford decided to remain at Millwall in a coaching capacity. It has been one mess after another on Tyneside this summer and even the Magpies' resolve to hold on to Yohan Cabaye fails to offer the silver lining Kinnear will surely try to spin.
Matt Stanger - he's on the Twitter.