After having all summer to strengthen their squads, Arsenal and Manchester United managed to rush through just two significant signings in a $100-million spree as the transfer window was closing.
Arsenal signed playmaker Mesut Ozil for a club record €50 million ($66 million US) from Real Madrid on Monday, and United bought midfielder Marouane Fellaini from Everton for £27.5 million ($43 million).
The transfers pushed spending by Premier League clubs over £600 million ($932 million) over the summer, a record amount on the back of new lucrative television deals.
Arsenal's recruitment of Ozil on a five-year deal was a coup, and the 24-year-old German's arrival is an emphatic response by American owner Stan Kroenke to supporters who have demanded big spending.
Fans had watched in frustration throughout the summer as north London rival Tottenham spent more than $150 million on seven players, while Arsenal's only permanent recruits were the free signings of Yaya Sanogo and Mathieu Flamini.
But after manager Arsene Wenger missed out on Gonzalo Higuain, Luis Suarez and Yohan Cabaye, the Gunners have pulled off the big-name signing promised in June when they said there would be an "escalation in our financial firepower."
Ozil's fee easily outstrips Arsenal's previous largest transfer — £15 million (then $21.3 million) for Andrey Arshavin in 2009 — and the club hopes he will help to produce its first trophy since 2005.
"We have signed a world-class player who is one of Europe's brightest young talents," chief executive Ivan Gazidis said. "Mr. Kroenke ... has always fully supported Arsene and the club in making significant investments to strengthen our squad and to bring in talented players who fit our style and ambitions."
United, though, has been frustrated in its bid to spend before transfer activity was halted until January.
Fellaini is the only notable signing since David Moyes replaced Alex Ferguson as manager at the end of last season.
Moyes turned to former club Everton, after being unable to mark the start of his reign with a marquee signing. Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas was pursued for several weeks and the champions failed in high-profile attempts Monday to bring Real Madrid defender Fabio Coentrao and Athletic Bilbao midfielder to Old Trafford.
"When I was given the opportunity to work with [Moyes] again, I jumped at the chance," Fellaini said.
The biggest Premier League spenders of the summer were Tottenham, who splurged more than £110 million ($170 million) on seven players in its bid to break back into the top four and qualify for the Champions League.
The spending spree was largely funded by Gareth Bale being sold to Real Madrid for a world-record €100 million ($132 million). But to subsidize that signing, Madrid had to offload players, and Tottenham's north London rival Arsenal was a beneficiary with the capture of Ozil.
It was double-blow for Tottenham, having lost the derby to Arsenal on Sunday.
Unbeaten leader Liverpool was active on deadline-day, building on a strong start to the season that has seen the team open the Premier League with three straight wins for the first time since 1993.
The defensive options were enhanced with France international Mamadou Sakho signed from Paris Saint-Germain, and Tiago Ilori, who has represented Portugal at youth age groups, arriving from Sporting Lisbon. The duo cost a reported £25 million ($39 million).
Winger Victor Moses is at Anfield on a season-long loan after seeing his chances of first-team action at Chelsea plummet following the arrival of forwards Willian and Andre Schuerrle.
Liverpool sent striker Fabio Borini on a season-long loan to Sunderland, while another Italian, former Anfield left back Andrea Dossena, joined the northeast club from Napoli.
While raising money from the sale of Fellaini, Everton signed midfielder James McCarthy from Wigan for £13 million ($20 million), and brought Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku and Manchester City midfielder Gareth Barry in on season-long loans. New City manager Manuel Pellegrini was looking to offload Barry after spending more than £90 million ($140 million) rebuilding the 2012 champions' squad which ended last season without a trophy.
West Bromwich Albion added two forwards to its squad, with Victor Anichebe arriving from Everton in a deal worth up to £6 million ($9 million), and Stephane Sessegnon coming from Sunderland. France midfielder Morgan Amalfitano is on board too after being recruited for the season from Marseille.
A striker left the Hawthorns, with Peter Odemwingie leaving for Premier League rival Cardiff for around £2 million ($3 million).
Stoke signed Austria forward Marko Arnautovic from Werder Bremen, and Fulham brought Montenegro defender Elsad Zverotic from Swiss side Young Boys.