Sunderland smashed their club record transfer fee, but efforts to sign a much-needed striker and goalkeeper on deadline day failed.
Midfielder Didier Ndong signed from French side Lorient for a record £13.6million and Manchester City centre-back Jason Denayer arrived on a season-long loan.
But the club failed to sign a striker to relieve some of the pressure from the shoulders of 33-year-old top scorer Jermain Defoe.
And a late bid to sign goalkeeper Mika Domingues from Boavista was not completed in time.
It leaves manager David Moyes with just Fabio Borini – out with a groin injury – Duncan Watmore and 17-year-old Joel Asoro as the other forwards and Jordan Pickford and Max Stryjek as the goalkeeping options.
Moyes had targeted another goalkeeper, defensive cover, midfield reinforcements and a striker as his key priorities before the window closed.
Sunderland strengthened two of those areas, but it was the failure to land another striker that has led to concern among anxious supporters that the club has left themselves short.
Free agents are still an option for Moyes, who has made eight signings this summer.
Sunderland had hoped to sign Steven Naismith from Norwich City but personal terms could not be agreed with the Scotland international, who worked with Moyes at Everton.
Hopes for a last-minute move for Leicester City striker Leonardo Ulloa came to nothing, while Southampton refused to let Jay Rodriguez – who scored the late equaliser at St Mary’s Stadium – leave the south coast on loan.
Regarding Domingues, a Sunderland statement read: “Despite the best endeavours of both clubs, a deal has not been completed for the transfer of Mika Domingues from Boavista to Sunderland AFC.”
Meanwhile, despite frenzied speculation throughout the day after he posted a picture of his arrival at Heathrow airport, Sunderland also didn’t sign Yann M’Vila on a permanent deal.
The French midfielder – who spent the day in London – is understood to have signed a pre-contract agreement to join Sunderland from Russian side Rubin Kazan in January on a free.
On a brighter note, Sunderland did break the £13million fee shelled out for Asamoah Gyan from Rennes back in 2010.
Ndong, who is currently on international duty with Gabon, completed his medical in Geneva, joining the Black Cats on a five-year deal.
The 22-year-old arrives on Wearside having made 46 appearances for the Ligue 1 team since joining them in January 2015.
Sunderland also managed to keep hold of key defender Lamine Kone, who was subject of fierce interest from Everton who had tabled an £18million bid earlier in the window.
Moyes strengthened his options in central defence with the capture of City defender Denayer.
The 21-year-old, who had his medical at the Academy of Light late last night, has spent the past two seasons out on loan at Celtic and Turkish side Galatasaray.
He will now compete with Kone, Papy Djilobodji and captain John O’Shea for a starting place at Sunderland.
While playing for Celtic in the SPL he was crowned the PFA Young Player of the Year and helped the Scottish giants to a league and cup double.
Denayer has also won eight caps for the Belgium national team.
As well as the deadline day signings, Sunderland also signed Djilobodji, Manchester United trio Paddy McNair and Donald Love, Adnan Januzaj on loan, free agent winger Steven Pienaar and Atletico Madrid right-back Javier Manquillo on loan.