By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer
Tevez and Mascherano will bring world-class to West Ham
West Ham's transfer ambitions extended to a doomed bid to sign Steed Malbranque and a low-key attempt to prise Damien Johnson from Birmingham City - until presented with the opportunity to seal a deal that has stunned football.
Alan Pardew, on the surface, has outflanked Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho to sign two world-class young Argentine stars in bringing Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano to Upton Park.
The deal has since been shrouded in intrigue, with claims the duo have been "parked" at Upton Park as part of a takeover plan by Iranian-born businessman Kia Joorabchian and the so-called permanent deal may not be as permanent as it appears.
Joorabchian and the company Media Sports Investments are understood to have effectively owned the two players, and the pieces of the jigsaw fitted together to present a rosy picture for West Ham.
They may be sold for a huge profit next summer. But that is then and this is now.
The mystery will unfold further in the weeks to come, but Hammers' fans are entitled to greet the scepticism with a big, fat "so what?"
They will not care about the sub-plot and who can blame them? They will have rubbed their eyes in disbelief at this coup, and rightly so.
Cole's departure is a good deal for Arsenal and Chelsea
Hypocrisy abounds in football, particularly with fans who are jealous and critical of Chelsea's success while wishing they could have a slice of the Roman Abramovich action themselves.
West Ham have signed two hugely-gifted, coveted and marketable stars. They were the winners of all the transfer deadline day kudos.
It thankfully put the summer's most tiresome transfer saga in the shade, namely Ashley Cole's arrival at Chelsea.
The twist was the reported size of the fee - Arsenal getting £5m plus William Gallas for the world's best left-back.
Chelsea look to have got the better end of the deal here, with Gallas disaffected and set on a course away from Stamford Bridge with only a year left on his contract.
It went to the wire in an almost farcical piece of brinksmanship, but Arsenal's end of the deal is not to be sniffed at.
They heal a wound that has scarred the club in recent months, and land the world-class central defender they so desperately need into the bargain. A decent deal for both clubs.
Julio Baptista's arrival at Arsenal from Real Madrid in a loan exchange for the disaffected Jose Antonio Reyes may also prove another Arsene Wenger master-stroke.
Roy Keane was predictably the busiest man around on transfer deadline day - with the phone lines and fax machines humming from Sunderland to Sydney.
For a man who has a reputation for being aloof, confrontational and difficult to work with, Keane's old friends, fellow countrymen and former colleagues appeared to be forming an orderly queue to join him at the Stadium of Light.
Keane was predictably busy on deadline day
Republic of Ireland midfield man Graham Kavanagh could represent outstanding value at £500,000 from Wigan, while the under-achieving Liam Miller may flourish under Keane's guidance.
Dwight Yorke's return to England from Sydney FC is a gamble, but one Keane clearly feels is well worth taking.
It would not be transfer deadline day without a flurry of activity at Spurs and Portsmouth - and they did not disappoint.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy appears to enjoy the excitement of the final moments of transfer actitivity, with Pascal Chimbonda - a deal which has been seemingly touted for decades - sneaking through the transfer window just before it closed.
Steed Malbranque has been linked with every club in the Premiership, but finally got his wish of a move to Spurs late on.
Spurs need a lift after a poor start to the season, and both players are quality additions, although Malbranque is out for 10 weeks.
Redknapp built on Portsmouth's fine start by adding Manchester City's Andrew Cole, Cameroon international Roudolphe Mbela Douala and Hajduk Split star Niko Kranjcar to his squad.
It's a real mix-and-match affair - but no-one mixes and matches them better than Harry.
Antoine Sibierski - not what Newcastle fans expected
If you are looking for losers on transfer deadline day, look no further than Newcastle United - and their young star James Milner.
Newcastle signed Oba Martins to add to Damien Duff, but they were outmanouevred by neighbours Middlesbrough to land Chelsea's Robert Huth, who also captured a genuine class act in another Toon target Jonathan Woodgate.
Freddy Shepherd was apparently working morning, noon and night to land his top targets - after chivalrously standing aside, so it was reported, to let Liverpool sign Dirk Kuyt and and allow Thomas Gravesen to join Celtic.
But he missed out on Middlesbrough's Mark Viduka, and the fruits of Newcastle's labours were a favour from Sir Alex Ferguson to sign the highly-rated Giuseppe Rossi on a short-term loan and a successful deal to sign Antoine Sibierski, surplus to requirements at Manchester City.
As the Viduka move stalled, poor Milner was hauled back to Newcastle after agreeing terms at Villa Park - a ridiculous turn of events and not the finest piece of man-management.
The return of Olivier Bernard on a free transfer is hardly likely to have them dancing in the Bigg Market.
Boss Glenn Roeder knows fans will be frustrated, and will be hoping for good fortune with injuries to stave off early discontent.
It concluded another hectic final day in the market, with brinksmanship and clock-watching the order of the day.
The day is a mixture of blind panic, penny-pinching and sound business - it is also a day that has its critics.
But it is also one of the most exciting days in the football calendar.