Sept 2 (BBC) – Another record-breaking transfer window closed on Friday after a busy summer that saw Premier League clubs splash out £2.36bn on new players
The combined outlay of the 20 clubs during the window smashes the previous spending record of £1.92bn set last summer by £440m, according to financial services firm Deloitte.
Premier League clubs spent £255m on deadline day alone, which is more than double the £120m spent on deadline day during last summer’s window.
That already makes the 2023-24 season have the second-highest transfer spend ever after last season’s record £2.73bn, with the January window still to come.
Other records include:
- Premier League transfers accounted for 48% of total spending across the ‘big five’ European leagues – La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1;
- Premier League clubs received £550m in transfer fees from overseas clubs, more than double the previous record of £210m in the summer of 2022;
- With the exception of Spain’s La Liga, gross transfer spend increased in all of Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues;
- Only two of Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues spent more on transfers than they received – the Premier League and Ligue 1;
- There were 13 Premier League transfers valued at over £50m, which is more than the previous two summer transfer windows combined.
Tim Bridge, lead partner in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said: “A second successive summer of record spending by Premier League clubs suggests that year-on-year revenue growth could return following the pandemic
“Nearly three quarters of Premier League clubs (14) spent more this summer than the last, reflecting the increased intensity of competition.
“There continues to be pressure on clubs to acquire top talent to satisfy their on-pitch objectives, whether that’s qualifying for European competition or simply maintaining their position in the Premier League.”
What deals were done on deadline day?
The biggest Premier League deal of deadline day saw Manchester City sign Portugal midfielder Matheus Nunes from Wolves for £55m. The Premier League champions also sold Cole Palmer to Chelsea for £40m.
Manchester United brought in goalkeeper Altay Bayindir from Fenerbahce for £4.5m, midfielder Sofyan Amrabat on loan from Fiorentina, full back Sergio Reguilon on loan from Tottenham and free agent Jonny Evans on a one-year deal.
Nottingham Forest were the busiest club, signing seven players, midfielder Ibrahim Sangare from PSV, winger Callum Hudson-Odoi from Chelsea and midfielder Nicolas Dominguez from Bologna.
Other notable deadline day deals included:
- Ryan Gravenberch from Bayern Munich to Liverpool for £34.3m.
- Ansu Fati from Barcelona to Brighton on loan
- Brennan Johnson from Nottingham Forest to Brighton for £45m
- Alex Iwobi from Everton to Fulham for £22m
- Clement Lenglet from Barcelona to Aston Villa on loan
- Albert Sambi Lokonga from Arsenal to Luton on loan
- Mason Greewood from Manchester United to Getafe on loan
- Rob Holding from Arsenal to Crystal Palace for £4m
- Luis Sinisterra from Leeds to Bournemouth on loan
What were the big transfers of the summer?
There were two transfers that hit the £100m mark this summer, with Chelsea signing midfielder Moises Caicedo from Brighton for a £100m fee that could rise to a British club record of £115m, while Arsenal signed England midfielder Declan Rice from West Ham for £100m plus £5m in add-ons.
Along with deadline day capture Nunes, Manchester City have bought defender Josko Gvardiol for £77m from RB Leipzig, winger Jeremy Doku from Rennes for £55.4m and midfielder Mateo Kovacic, who arrived for £25m from Chelsea.
Rivals Manchester United signed Denmark striker Rasmus Hojlund for £72m, while fellow Champions League side Newcastle United brought in Italy midfielder Sandro Tonali for £55m and Leicester forward Harvey Barnes for £38m.
Last year’s Premier League runners-up Arsenal added to the Rice deal by buying Kai Havertz for £65m and Ajax defender Jurrien Timber for £34m.
Liverpool strengthened their midfield with moves for Dominik Szoboszlai from RB Leipzig for £60m, Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton for £35m and Wataru Endo from Stuttgart for £16.2m.
Best deals from around Europe
Two of the biggest transfers in Europe this summer involved England players.
Three Lions captain Harry Kane joined Bayern Munich from Tottenham for £86.4m, while midfielder Jude Bellingham moved to Real Madrid from Borussia Dortmund for £88.5m.
Barcelona signed Ilkay Gundogan on a free transfer after the midfielder left Manchester City, before sealing deadline day loan moves for City defender Joao Cancelo and Spain forward Joao Felix from Atletico Madrid.
The most expensive deal of deadline day was Paris St-Germain’s capture of France striker Randal Kolo Muani from Eintracht Frankfurt for £64.2m plus £12.8m in add-ons.
Chelsea top spending league
This was Chelsea’s third transfer window under new owner Todd Boehly and their spending showed no signs of slowing down.
The London club spent more than £380m on 10 players in this transfer window, more than any other side in Europe. The highest summer spend by any club in the world before now had been Real Madrid’s £292m spree in 2019.
Chelsea’s outlay on players across three transfer windows since Boehly took charge is now close to £1bn.
Their spending this summer has been partially offset by significant player sales, with nine players leaving on permanent deals, including Havertz to Arsenal and Mason Mount to Manchester United for an initial £55m.
Saudi Arabia flexes financial muscle
The Saudi Pro League splashed the cash on an array of global stars, including Neymar and Karim Benzema, as the Saudi authorities pushed to make the league one of the most competitive in the world.
Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund recently took over four of the country’s top teams – Al-Ittihad, Al-Nassr, Al-Hilal and Al-Ahli – while the other 14 top-flight clubs have some big-name players too.
According to Deloitte, Saudi Pro League clubs have so far spent £690.55m (805m Euros), with £245m of that spent on Premier League players.
It makes the league the fourth-highest spending in the world this summer, behind the Premier League, Ligue 1 and Serie A.
And there could yet be more big-money moves too, with the Saudi transfer window not closing until 7 September.
“The emergence of more active participants in the global transfer market has the potential to accelerate clubs’ efforts to establish financially sustainable business models,” said Calum Ross, assistant director in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group.
“In this summer’s transfer window, clubs that have sold players to those from emerging international leagues have then gone on to spend receipts with a large number of other clubs, both within and outside of the Premier League.
“This distribution of the new flow of funds into the market will be key to ensuring the financial benefits of a more active global market are enjoyed across the board, serving to reduce rather than widen any existing gaps.”
Some of the notable departures from the Premier League for Saudi Arabia include Newcastle winger Allan Saint-Maximin and Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez joining Al-Ahli, Wolves captain Ruben Neves moving to Al-Hilal, Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte joining Al-Nassr and Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson moving to Al-Ettifaq.
The ones that got away
Despite millions of pounds being spent, there were still some deals that did not materialise.
PSG gave Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal permission to talk to Kylian Mbappe after making a world-record £259m bid, but the striker opted to stay at the French champions.
Another Saudi club, Al-Ittihad, had an offer worth up to £150m for Mohamed Salah rejected by Liverpool.
Joao Pahlinha had agreed terms with Bayern Munich and even flew to Germany to have a medical on deadline day, but Fulham were unable to strike a deal with the Bundesliga champions and the move collapsed.
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