It was the end of April and Juventus’s sporting director, Fabio Paratici, was talking about the upcoming transfer window for the first time: “We will have to be creative, imaginative.” He was absolutely right. More ideas, less money.

Five months have passed since then and we have just been through an extremely long and intense transfer window. It was unique because the circumstances had changed. There were some great ideas, although not all of them came through. It was a stop-start window, at times coming to a complete standstill, at others exhilarating. Above all, it was a window in line with the summer of a pandemic – it changed the world and therefore the transfer market.

Many clubs’ resources were limited by La Liga’s strict economic control and salary caps applied to every club, all of which found their income heavily hit by the coronavirus crisis. Barcelona, who on the final day of the window announced losses of €97m (£88m) over the financial year, needed to move players on and reduce their wage bill in order to bring new signings in.

Related: Premier League: the big winners and best signings of the transfer window

The Spanish giants could only get Sergiño Dest once they had sold Nélson Semedo and unable to force Ousmane Dembélé or Samuel Umtiti out or to raise greater funds on those who departed were forced to abandon negotiations for Eric García and Memphis Depay on the final day. Real Madrid have given the world the concept of galácticos but this time they did not sign a single player, determined as they were to reduce costs, stabilise and consolidate. Real were hoping for a discounted fee because of Covid-19 and maybe thought that they could sign Jadon Sancho for €90m plus bonuses in late September. “It was