With less than a week to go until the transfer window slams shut (why can no one just shut it gently?), this is the time when a significant proportion of the summer's spending takes place, as last-minute buyers are forced to ante up on deals lest they miss out entirely.
Players, agents, chairmen and managers are all glued to their phones, scheming around looking for the late deals which will boost their prospects for the coming season.
While the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool have done most, if not all, of their summer spending, there are plenty of clubs in the Premier League who have been dragging their heels—Arsenal and Tottenham being two notable examples.
While the Gunners have spent around £25 million thus far on Gervinho, Alex Chamberlain, and Carl Jenkinson, the fans are demanding more. With nearly £60 million sitting in his pocket from the Fabregas and Nasri transfers, the onus is on Wenger to use that money to strengthen his squad in those two stars' absences.
Fortunately for them, there are still plenty of quality players out there being touted around to make those decisive, last-minute purchases a possibility.
"The information about my departure is a lie. There is no agreement with Tottenham and I do not think there will be."
So told the Real Madrid midfielder to Spanish football daily AS. Whether his destiny is as assured as he thinks is very open to question.
The France international's talent and ambition had always had him on the fast track to one of Europe's elite clubs. He was tipped for great things as a teenager at Chelsea when he arrived from Le Havre, but his impatience for first-team football took him across London to Arsenal. Again, he was unable to break into the Gunners' side, and no doubt his demands for a regular slot contributed to Arsene Wenger shipping him out on loan to Portsmouth.
At Fratton Park, Diarra revelled as a big fish in a small pond, and he helped Pompey to safety in the Premier League and a famous FA Cup final victory.
It was clear from his spell on the South coast that he was ready for bigger things, and that manifested itself in the form of a move to the Bernabeu in January 2009. While he has seen a fair amount of game time, there is little room for tidy, adaptable footballers at a club fixated with the need for a steady stream of galacticos to keep arriving.
With Sami Khedira claiming the starting berth in the heart of a midfield in which Xabi Alonso is a permanent fixture, the arrival this summer of Hamit Altintop is yet another sign that 'Lass' will not be playing 90 minutes every weekend.
He looks surplus to requirements at the Bernabeau, much in the same way another Diarra—this time, Mahmadou—found out last season, before moving on.
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp brought Diarra to Portsmouth, and in a season which ends with a European Championship Diarra may yet be tempted into making the sixth move of his career in order to enhance his international prospects, with next summer's European Championships fast arriving.
Between Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Roman Pavlyuchenko and the now-departed Robbie Keane, Tottenham's strikers scored just 18 Premier League goals last season. The mercurial Pavlyuchenko grabbed the lion's share of those, netting 10 times, second only to top scorer Rafael van der Vaart's 13.
Harry Redknapp desperately tried to remedy the situation in January, tabling haphazard bids for Diego Forlan, Giuseppe Rossi, Fernando Llorente, Alvaro Negredo and seemingly every other striker in Spain as the clock ticked down to the winter transfer deadline.
Now finally, he has bolstered his striking options with the loan signing of Emmanuel Adebayor from Manchester City. Spurs were only able to push the deal through after agreeing to pay a bigger slice of the Togo striker's reported £170,000-a-week wage than they had originally intended. That financial burden, plus the undoubted quality the former Arsenal man would bring to the side if his heart is in it, mean he is likely to feature heavily for Tottenham.
Crouch has been linked with a move away for much of the summer, and Stoke have been the front-runners right from the get-go. The England international may have struck up an immediately productive partnership with Van der Vaart and scored some crucial Champions League goals, but his return of four strikes in 34 league appearances falls well below expectations.
However, he fits the profile of a Stoke striker. With Mamady Sidibe and Ricardo Fuller both consistently struggling with injuries and with getting starts at the Britannia Stadium, manager Tony Pulis is keen to strengthen his options up front as he has done in other areas.
The Potters have shown great ambition in their activities since reaching the FA Cup final last season, and signing Crouch would be yet another indication of that.
Another defensive midfielder Real Madrid are looking to get off their books, Gago was hailed as the new Redondo when he signed from Boca Juniors in 2007.
Unfortunately for him, a series of injuries and subsequent loss of form have seen his time in the Madrid first team dramatically reduced. The four league appearances he made last season are testament to how low the 25-year-old stands in Jose Mourinho's estimations.
But the Argentinian could find salvation in the unlikely guise of Manchester City, who are reported to have stepped up their interest in him in the past week. City tried to buy Gago in January of last year, but a rare occurrence happened; they baulked at Real's asking price of £20m.
Now, however, they could snap him up for as little as £8m, and a fit Gago would certainly provide excellent competition for places in central midfield with Nigel de Jong and Gareth Barry.
City may have already shown plenty to suggest they will be a far more enterprising outfit this season than they were last term, but their success is still built upon the protection offered by De Jong and Barry, and below them there are no experienced candidates able to fill that role. Gago could be just that man.
Bolton Wanderers manager Owen Coyle has stated his position on his star defender clearly and maintained it all summer long: Cahill is a top class centre-back, but he will not go anywhere unless a bid comes in which meets the club's valuation.
So far that has not happened, despite him being high on the list of Arsenal's targets since January.
The Gunners' securing Champions League football for another season (with their 3-1 Champions League play-off aggregate win against Udinese) may prove to be a game-changer.
Keeping the tidy £25m cache that comes with a place among Europe's elite, Arsenal must now set about the task of rebuilding with relish.
The physio's room at London Colney seems to be featuring a rotating cast of defenders, with Sebstien Squillaci and Laurent Koscielny currently injured, Johan Djourou a regular visitor and Thomas Vermaelen taking up almost permanent residence there last season.
There is no way 18-year-old Ignasi Miquel would have been anywhere near the Arsenal bench against Liverpool if Arsene Wenger oculd have helped it, let alone getting on the pitch as he did after Koscielny went off injured after just 15 minutes.
Cahill would be a worthy addition to the Arsenal first team. A strong centre-back, dominant in the air but comfortable with the ball at his feet and who chips in with his fair share of goals too.
Arsenal certainly need him, and they can definitely afford him. The only question is if Wenger is willing to meet Bolton's asking price, which may start creeping up as the deadline draws nearer.
This is one of the summer's longest sagas which is yet to be completed.
Even if Spurs manager Harry Redknapp has been gradually softening his position—moving from outright refusal through openly musing on how he would spend the £30m Modric would fetch to stating that the matter is out of his hands —chairman Daniel Levy has not.
Levy even went as far as to contact Chelsea this week to reiterate his stance. His star playmaker is not for sale.
Even Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas—who now has Spain winger Juan Mata among his ranks—is becoming impatient.
"When there's an offer, there's a counter-offer and then you reach an agreement. Modric's name is already out too much in the press. Let's leave it. He's Harry Redknapp's player. He's not my player, unfortunately."
However, we have been here before. When Manchester United came calling for Dimitar Berbatov in 2008, Levy was similarly stubborn, and even threatened to report United over their conduct in the whole affair.
But when the Bulgarian put in an opening day performance that could be best described as apathetic and United lodged a bid upwards of £30m—which would have been a British record were it not for Manchester City's shock capture of Robinho on the same day—Levy was eventually forced to relent.
Modric has not played either of Spurs' two competitive games so far this season, and was left out of the squad for the trip to face United last Monday because, as Redknapp put it, his head was not in the right place.
The Croatia playmaker and his representatives have held a meeting with Levy, and while the Spurs chief continues to insist he is a Tottenham player until being told otherwise, the feeling that Roman Abramovich will eventually make an offer he can't refuse is difficult to shift.
Last season saw a real renaissance in the career of Scott Parker, who had always been a quality performer.
His gutsy performances for West Ham earned him the Football Writer's Footballer of the Year award, and he belatedly broke into the England national team set-up.
Even the Hammers' relegation could not sully his reputation. He was, we were told, going to be one of the most sought after players once the transfer window opened.
And then, nothing. Reports of interest from Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal have come and gone, and Parker has played all four of West Ham's fixtures in the Championship so far this season. His status as the best player in the second tier may be assured, but that will not be enough to convince Fabio Capello that he can retain his place in the squad with Euro 2012 just around the corner.
Step forward, Tony Fernandes. The Malaysian entrepreneur has completed his takeover of Queen's Park Rangers, and has immediately set about ringing the changes at the club.
The vastly inflated ticket prices set by the previous regime have been dropped back down, and they are close to completing the signing of Newcastle want-away player and sometimes-quoter of Nietzsche Joey Barton.
Fernandes is a self-confessed West Ham fan. They were the first club he tried to buy, and his Twitter bio still reads 'West Ham supporter' before 'QPR chairman' even now. To bring in Parker would not only be a personal source of pleasure but would go a long way to enhancing QPR's chances of Premier League survival.
West Ham owners David Gold and David Sullivan have always publicly scotched any interest in their celebrated club captain, but privately they will have a figure in mind. It is up to Fernandes to match that.
Yet another defensive midfielder whose name has consistently cropped up this summer, M'Vila is one of the host of players helping to enhance the reputation of France's Ligue 1.
At just 21 years old, the Rennes player has become a favourite of France manager Laurent Blanc, and has already been capped 11 times for his country.
One of those international appearances came in France's 2-1 win over England in a friendly at Wembley last November, and M'Vila's performance led to him being linked with Liverpool and Arsenal.
Liverpool decided to buy British with their midfield recruitment, leaving Arsenal free rein to sign M'Vila if they so wished.
That interest is reported to have increased in the past week, with tentative talks over a move apparently taking place. Estimates over the player's value have varied greatly, from £12m to £22m, but if anyone would find it difficult to pass up on a young, talented French midfielder, it is Arsene Wenger.
Santon exploded on to the world stage in 2009 when he was drafted into the Inter Milan first team for the Champions League clash with Manchester United.
Although United prevailed 2-0 in the second leg at Old Trafford, Santon's efforts in nullifying Cristiano Ronaldo in Italy drew plenty of praise, not least from the Portuguese superstar himself.
Santon seem destined for greatness, and was even hailed as the new Paolo Maldini.
However, he has never been able to establish himself in the Inter first team.
He was reported to have had a run-in with then-manager Jose Mourinho, and when Leonardo replaced Rafa Benitez for the second half of last season he was sent out on loan to Cesena.
After making 11 appearances for the Stadio Dino Manuzzi-based club, he has now returned to his parent club seemingly with his first-team options still limited under new boss Gian Piero Gasperini.
That has led to a whole host of Premier League clubs circling round the 20-year-old starlet, with Inter admitting they are ready to listen to offers.
At such a young age, Santon has bags of potential, and his ability to play at full-back just as capably on either side of the defence makes him a highly desirable asset.
Following a fairly average goal scoring record in the French League, mainly for Metz, Cisse enjoyed a break-out season last term in his sophomore year at Freiburg.
The Senegal striker netted 22 times in 32 Bundesliga appearances last term, and his international strike rate of seven goals in nine caps is just as impressive.
Unsurprisingly, a whole host of clubs have been queueing up to try and sign the 26-year-old, and Freiburg chairman Fritz Keller has revealed his has received some concrete offers already.
"We have received three concrete offers for the services of Papiss Demba Cisse," Keller said. "All three are from clubs in foreign leagues. We are going to consider these offers calmly, but this doesn't necessarily mean we are definitely going to sell him."
Take your pick from any three of the above Premier League clubs as to where those bids have come from, but it looks a fair bet that Cisse could be lining up at grounds around England sooner rather than later.