Tuesday, 2 September 2014

The curtain came down on a record-breaking summer transfer window on Monday, with more than £842m spent by @PremierLeague clubs.

On a #DeadlineDay bookended by news of Radamel Falcao’s move from @AS_Monaco to @ManUtd, there were more than 4.2 million Tweets sent in total as Twitter came to life with speculation, debate and confirmation.

Here are seven things that we learned as the deadline passed:

1) Twitter is home to Deadline Day

@Falcao’s dramatic move - first mentioned mid-morning on Monday but not sealed until 01:30 GMT on Tuesday morning - dominated conversation, with more 1.5 million Tweets related to him during the 24 hour period.

The most talked about players on Twitter up until the 23:00 GMT deadline were:

  1. Radamel Falcao (@Falcao)
  2. Danny Welbeck
  3. Javier Hernandez (@CH14_)
  4. Daley Blind (@BlindDaley)
  5. Tom Cleverley

The most-discussed non player was @Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, who was under scrutiny from fans to strengthen his squad. It was only the deals including Falcao, Welbeck and Hernandez that generated more Twitter buzz on the day than Wenger.

The biggest peak in Twitter conversation during the 24-hour period came at 22:58 GMT, with more than 21K Tweets per minute (TPM) . The spike in conversation can most likely be attributed to anticipation of the deadline passing, with fans questioning whether deals for #Falcao and #Welbeck would be concluded in time.

The second most Tweeted about moment of #DeadlineDay came at 20:31 GMT with more than 11K TPM, moments after Daley Blind’s transfer to Manchester United was confirmed on Twitter.

2) Hashtags connect a global conversation

The most popular hashtags on the day included:


3) Big names dominate

Since the transfer window opened on 1 July, it has been the deals involving the major names that have created the greatest buzz on Twitter. The unexpected return of two former #PremierLeague stars Mario Balotelli and Cesc Fabregas foremost among them.

Up until Deadline Day itself, the most-discussed deals on Twitter had involved global stars making big-money moves - with the three most-mentioned players costing in the region of a combined £200 million:

  1. Angel Di Maria - @RealMadrid to @ManUtd
  2. Luis Suarez - @LFC to @FCBarcelona
  3. James Rodriguez - @AS_Moncao to @RealMadrid

4) News breaks first on Twitter

With more than 60% of #PremierLeague players now on Twitter, as well as all 20 clubs, the platform is increasingly becoming a key official breaking-news source within the game.

The two late blockbuster deals were broken on Twitter by @ManUtd and @Arsenal:

And, earlier in the window, @ManUtd and @QPRFC took to Twitter in creative ways to unveil the new squad numbers for marquee signings:

5) Fans love rumour and humour

Not every mooted deal ended up being done, but that’s half the fun of #DeadlineDay, with Twitter providing fans and journalists with a platform for transfer gossip.

The five players who sparked the most unfounded speculation on Twitter this summer were:

  1. Arturo Vidal (@kingarturo23)
  2. Sami Khedira
  3. Marco Reus (@woodyinho)
  4. Karim Benzema (@Benzema)
  5. Mats Hummels (@matshummels)

Meanwhile, players got in on the act, with Hull City’s @DavidMeyler7, winding up @HullCity fans and @Joey7Barton winding up his manager Harry Redknapp.

6) Location, location, location

In the lead-up to #DeadlineDay, Twitter data revealed how a selection of the major summer transfers across Europe had been discussed geographically. This visualisation tracks where the majority of conversation unfolded between 1 July and 22 August, based on the cities that the relevant buying and selling clubs are located in.

  • Of the players measured, @jamesrodriguez and @ToniKroos were the most-discussed players in the city of Barcelona, despite signing for Spanish rival Real Madrid
  • The most mentions related to Cesc Fabregas were recorded in Monaco, not in London or Barcelona where he transferred to/from

7) Pundit power

High-profile broadcasters helped to drive the conversation, with @SkySportsNewsHQ presenter @JimWhite - for whom #JimWhiteDay trends every #DeadlineDay - celebrating his first transfer window on Twitter, by giving away the famous yellow tie he wore on air.

Fellow new boy Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) joined the fun on Twitter, by paying tribute to @JimWhite and was commenting on the transfer buzz all day:

While his sparring partner Gary Neville (@GNev2) joked that his persuasive powers may have had an impact on @Falcao joining his old club @ManUtd.

@BBCSport presenter @GaryLineker, meanwhile, took in good humour criticism from viewers of last Saturday’s Match of the Day that his decision to grow a goatee was not best placed:

It takes all sorts on #DeadlineDay. From blockbuster transfers to sartorial faux pas, nothing goes unnoticed.