Some 1,100 miles away, a former Tottenham talisman was preparing for his new life with Real Madrid. Back in north London, the club Gareth Bale left behind just got on with business.
Indispensable Welsh wizard? Just not missing you at all. Tottenham are assembling new favourites, chief among whom will be Christian Eriksen, such an impressive debutant in yesterday's one-sided defeat of an outclassed Norwich City.
The 21-year-old Dane, a pounds 11.5 million slice of the pounds 100 million plus White Hart Lane rebuilding project to balance Bale's pounds 85 million departure for Spain, was the outstanding performer in a dominant Tottenham display.
He provided both goals, smartly dispatched by Gylfi Sigurdsson, another who seems to be emerging from a Bale-sized shadow. Andre Villas-Boas, the Tottenham head coach, was quick to praise Eriksen (pictured).
"It was a great debut. His movement between the lines was fantastic. He is a pure No 10, creative player and he came into the game and bonded very easily," he said.
Norwich manager Chris Hughton was succinct: "He's going to be a real star." Villas-Boas was delighted with his team's display: "It was a very good performance from the team today.
On many levels of quality, we dominated physically and tactically. It was impressive. "We used as motivation for this game the fact that we could not beat them in three games last year and the boys stood up to that and gave a very good performance."
Tottenham's control of the game was virtually absolute, Norwich proffering a two-man strike force in Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Johan Elmander that barely touched the borders of the home penalty area.
Spurs pressed relentlessly, and their pressure was rewarded with their first goal of the season in open play, delivered in the 28th minute. Norwich had been fortunate to survive to that point. Eriksen had skipped past two defenders to draw a block save from goalkeeper John Ruddy in the 12th minute, with Roberto Soldado back-heeling the rebound against a post.
Soldado's fierce drive was arrowing towards the Norwich goal before Sebastien Bassong, back at his former club, managed to deflect wide in the 26th minute.
Two minutes later, Spurs were in front. Eriksen slipped a well-weighted pass for Sigurdsson, who took two paces before burying the ball low beyond Ruddy. The visitors fell further behind four minutes into the second half, Eriksen again the architect.
Moments after carving through the Norwich rearguard and shooting over, he chose a different approach, spraying the ball right to Paulinho. The Brazilian fired a low cross behind Norwich's defensive line, where Sigurdsson touched home the simplest of goals.
Sigurdsson might even have had a hat-trick, his 61st-minute piledriver being palmed away by Ruddy. Hughton, who declined to call for a red card for Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris's late handling offence outside the penalty area, which received a caution, said: "We have no complaints, we were beaten by a very good side."
Tottenham (4-2-3-1) Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Rose; Paulinho, Dembele (Lamela 83); Townsend, Eriksen (Holtby 71), Sigurdsson (Sandro 79); Soldado. Subs Friedel (g), Kaboul, Naughton, Defoe. Booked Lloris. Norwich City (4-4-1-1) Ruddy; Whittaker, Turner, Bassong, Garrido; Snodgrass, Fer, Johnson (Howson 64), Redmond (Pilkington 74); Elmander (Tettey 74); Van Wolfswinkel. Subs Bunn (g), Martin, Hooper, Olsson. Booked Johnson, Garrido, Elmander. Referee L Mason (Lancashire).