It was, by Sir Alex Ferguson's admission, the most drawn-out transfer in a career which has seen countless. But Dimitar Berbatov, whose £30.75m move to Manchester United in a four-year deal was announced at 12.40am yesterday morning, has already started talking about remaining at Old Trafford for the rest of his career.
"I know I can develop here in the way I always wanted," he said last night. "That is the most important thing for me. I am 27 now. I am at the biggest club in the world and maybe this could be the last step in my career."
United, who were being asked to pay £5m more than they wanted to pay, appeared to be losing their game of brinkmanship with Spurs at one stage but Berbatov's evident desire for the club rather than the superior salary Manchester City would apparently have offered ensured that they were never in contention with their £34m, 11th-hour counter bid, which Spurs had accepted. "If I want to play for money, I will accept the Manchester City offer or Chelsea," Berbatov said. "But the red shirt is a really big thing for me. I want to play for the biggest club in the world."
When he had pulled out of games against Sunderland and Tottenham because he was "in no fit state" to participate, Berbatov was convinced he would sign for the club. "I always believed," he said. "People used to say 'keep the faith'. I went through some very difficult times and it was a long battle, but I always thought it was going to happen and in the end it did."
Ferguson reflected on the more prosaic complications – "the problems have been fax machines and things like that; there's been a clog-up in the system," he said – but the deal, which was dependent on 20-year-old Frazier Campbell heading to White Hart Lane on a season's loan – will aid the development of Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez, he believes. "The fact there will be young forwards there playing with a 27-year-old forward just gives them that little bit more experience," he said.
After a frustrating summer in which the total Premier League spending has topped £500m for the first time, Spurs will not now pursue a complaint against United for making an illegal approach to the player.
Another delighted manager was David Moyes after Everton paid a club record £15m for Standard Liège's Marouane Fellaini. Moyes flew to Belgium to oversee the deal after negotiations seemed to be grinding to a halt and won over a 20-year-old midfielder he said yesterday he had been tracking for two years. Fellaini is cup-tied for Europe, having so nearly helped Liège through against Liverpool in a Champions League qualifier.
Liverpool were also delighted to sign the Spain winger Albert Riera from La Liga side Espanyol for an undisclosed fee. He joined Vitor Flora at Anfield after the 18-year-old Brazilian, who holds an Italian passport, agreed a free transfer. Striker Andriy Voronin and full-back Steven Finnan departed Liverpool for Hertha Berlin and Espanyol respectively. The only disappointment for Liverpool's manager, Rafael Benitez, was Jermaine Pennant's failure to agree terms with Blackburn , causing the proposed £4m transfer to collapse. Riera said: "As soon as I knew they were interested I knew there was only one club I wanted to sign for and it has now happened," he said.
Newcastle completed the signing of 22-year-old Spain Under-21 striker Xisco from La Liga side Deportivo La Coruña for an undisclosed fee, while defender George McCartney rejoined Sunderland from West Ham.
Counting the cost Premier League's deadline day deals
Robinho (Real Madrid) to Manchester City; £32.6m
Dimitar Berbatov (Tottenham) to Manchester Utd; £30.75m
Marouane Fellaini (Standard Liège) to Everton; £15m
Roman Pavlyuchenko (Spartak Moscow) to Tottenham; £12.5m
Vedran Corluka (Man City) to Tottenham; £8.5m
Albert Riera (Espanyol) to Liverpool; £8m
Michael Tonge (Sheffield United) to Stoke; £2m
Tom Soares (Crystal Palace) to Stoke; £1.25m
Mark Bunn (Northampton) to Blackburn; Undisclosed
Daniel Cousin (Rangers) to Hull; Undisclosed
Steve Finnan (Liverpool) to Espanyol; Undisclosed
Peter Gulacsi (HTK Hungaria) to Liverpool; Undisclosed
Danny Higginbotham (Sunderland) to Stoke; Undisclosed
George McCartney (West Ham) to Sunderland; Undisclosed
Carlo Nash (Wigan Athletic) to Everton; Undisclosed
Jon Parkin (Stoke City) to Preston; Undisclosed
Louis Saha (Man Utd) to Everton; Undisclosed
Xisco (Deportivo La Coruña) to Newcastle United; Undisclosed
Vitor Flora (Botafogo) to Liverpool; Free
Collins John (Fulham) to NEC Nijmegen; Free
Nadir Belhadj (Lens) to Portsmouth; Loan
Rachid Bouaouzan (NEC Nijmegen) to Wigan; Loan
Fraizer Campbell (Manchester United) to Tottenham; Loan
Ryan Donk (AZ Alkmaar) to West Bromwich; Loan
Blerim Dzemaili (Bolton) to Torino; Loan
Ignacio Gonzalez (Valencia) to Newcastle United; Loan
Javan Vidal (Manchester City) to Grimsby; Loan
Andrei Voronin (Liverpool) to Hertha Berlin; Loan
Gabriel Zakuani (Fulham) to Peterborough; Loan
Kamil Zayette (Young Boys) to Hull City; Loan
Top 10 moves in the European market
Daniel Alves (Seville) to Barcelona; £26m
Ronaldinho (Barcelona) to Milan; £21m
Amauri (Palermo) to Juventus; £15.3m
Ricardo Quaresma (Porto) to Internazionale; £15.1m
Miralem Sulejmani (Heerenveen) to Ajax; £14.3m
Sulley Muntari (Portsmouth) to Internazionale; £14m
Alberto Gilardino (Milan) to Fiorentina; £14m
Amantino Mancini (Roma) to Internazionale; £12.5m
Martin Caceres (Villarreal) to Barcelona; £12.4m
Jean Makoun (Lille) to Lyons; £12m