With the transfer window closing, some moves that looked likely to happen all summer eventually failed to materialise. While Frenkie de Jong's long and public courtship by Manchester United was the most high-profile, there were other well-known names who also somewhat surprisingly stayed put.
There are a variety of reasons why players might not move on: The protagonists themselves might choose to stay and try to kick-start a faltering career; there are also those who may have outgrown their current clubs, but whose profile and contribution are too integral to be allowed to leave; and on occasion a collapsed deal might compromise the career of a player in the short term. Here we look at a selection of players who, for one reason or another, may have prospered from switching clubs during the summer.
Cristiano Ronaldo, 37, Manchester United
From potentially signing off his second spell at Old Trafford on a relative high note, as few can argue with his individual contribution last season, the ambiguous events surrounding the Portuguese this summer -- was he orchestrating a move elsewhere? -- may have left some supporters unsure of his commitment. As Erik ten Hag starts to make his mark on Manchester United without Ronaldo playing any significant role in the club's remarkable turnaround in fortunes since the start of the season, winning the last four games, it's legitimate to wonder whether the 37-year-old might just remain a peripheral figure under the Dutchman's leadership. While there are no obvious reasons why the fitness-obsessive Ronaldo shouldn't continue to make a decisive impact at the very highest level, it's hard to think of another project that would appeal to him as much as it would appeal to the club -- or vice versa.
Memphis Depay, 28, Barcelona
From being a regular -- and making a fairly positive contribution -- during his first half a season at Camp Nou, the stock of the Dutch international had already started to slide as Xavi Hernandez took over as head coach. Ending up as a bit-part player was certainly not in the script when the former Man United forward signed for Barcelona on the back of four outstanding seasons in Ligue 1 with Lyon.
Rather surprisingly -- despite reported interest from Chelsea late in the transfer window -- Depay opted to stay at Barcelona. Not only does he seem to be getting even fewer chances from Xavi than he did toward the end of last season (he has yet to feature in a league match), but Barcelona's recent signing spree has also seen the competition for the attacking spots significantly sharpened.
Frenkie de Jong, 25, Barcelona
Another Dutchman who ended up staying at Barcelona instead of jumping ship to join the Premier League, De Jong's on-off move to Manchester United (or Chelsea) was arguably the most-talked-about non-event of this summer's transfer window. The story -- partly played out in the media -- was an ever-shifting one that went as far as allegations of broken promises and threats of legal action. In an effort to balance the books and juggle their finances to meet LaLiga's salary cap requirements, Barcelona reportedly agreed a €75m fee with Manchester United.
But with De Jong showing no intention of leaving Catalonia, the stalemate resulted in a public display of disaffection rarely seen between a club and a player. From the outside at least, it appeared that the animosity between the parties was of a kind from which there's no return, but rather oddly, the Dutch midfielder has featured in Barcelona's first four league fixtures of the season (though he has started just one.) Still, it's hard to envisage that the wounds will quickly heal.
Wilfried Zaha, 29, Crystal Palace
While not under the radar, it's fair to say that Zaha's impact for Crystal Palace over the past seasons has been somewhat underappreciated outside south-east London. Whether his ill-fated spell at Manchester United -- where his Premier League career amounted to coming off the bench twice -- might still underpin an idea that the Ivory Coast international isn't suited for a "big club" or whether he's been consistently priced out of the market, it can be argued that Zaha has matured into a player who deserves more than carrying a team destined for midtable or merely being perceived as a counterattacking presence.
Based on his start to the season (four goals from open play in five Premier League outings) there are few signs of slowing down from the wide forward, who also features a fine hold-up game when playing through the middle. But with an alleged interest from Chelsea last month, not seeing the 29-year-old in the Champions League this season may seem like a missed opportunity.
Eden Hazard, 31, Real Madrid
Though the Belgian never seemed likely to move away from the Bernabeu this summer -- ostensibly based on his own determination to fight for a first-team place or few clubs likely to offer him a tempting enough wage package -- seeing how Hazard would respond to the role of a key player with added responsibility elsewhere is nonetheless an intriguing thought.
With a plethora of attacking options, in wide and deep areas, in a side built on power, pace, intensity and mobility, it's hard to envisage that this is finally the campaign for Hazard's long-awaited resurrection -- or that such is ever likely to happen at Real Madrid. With the World Cup coming up in a few months, the prospect of regular playing time might also have come in handy.
Ruben Neves, 25, Wolverhampton
Still just about on the right side of his mid-20s, there's no desperate rush for the Portuguese to move away from the Molineux. That said, it might be argued that the transfer period just gone was the summer of opportunity for defensive/sitting midfielders with a steady passing game (to mention a few: Manchester City brought in Kalvin Phillips, Manchester United signed Casemiro, and Liverpool signed Arthur on loan.)
With his contract running for another two years, Wolves' resolve in keeping their influential midfielder might be properly tested next season. As much as his loyalty to the club that he joined in the Championship should be applauded, Neves (who made his Champions League debut for FC Porto at the age of 17) is a footballer of a standard that one expects to see regularly in European competition.