A RECORD spending spree by Premier League clubs in the summer transfer market passed the $2.2 billion mark before the window closed Thursday with Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and—belatedly—Chelsea all signing players to conclude the reshaping of their squads.
The headline transfer on a typically frantic final day of trading was the arrival of Brazil winger Antony at United from Ajax for $95 million, making him the fourth expensive player in Premier League history and soccer’s most expensive deadline-day signing.
That took United’s total spend in this wildest of transfer windows to about $240 million—a figure only topped in the whole of Europe by Chelsea, which finally signed an out-and-out striker in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Barcelona. In the club’s first transfer window in the post-Roman Abramovich era, Chelsea spent a staggering $280 million.
Man City’s signing of Switzerland center back Manuel Akanji for $17.5 million felt low-key by comparison, while Liverpool’s only move—the loan signing of Brazil international Arthur Melo from Juventus—was still significant as it strengthened the team’s injury-hit midfield.
Fueled by income from huge global broadcasting deals worth about £10 billion ($11.8 billion) over three seasons, Premier League clubs have reverted to pre-pandemic levels of spending—and then some—to leave the rest of Europe in its wake.
England’s top-flight clubs spent about the same on players as those in the top leagues in Spain ($500 million), Italy ($750 million), Germany ($485 million) and France ($540 million) combined, according to calculations by the Transfermarkt web site.
The net spend of the Premier League teams was $1.35 billion, compared to Italy ($8 million) and Spain ($64 million). In France and Germany, the leagues actually made a profit according to Transfermarkt.
Summing up the outrageous splurge by English clubs was the business conducted by Nottingham Forest since securing a return to the Premier League for the first time since 1999.
Forest signed three players on deadline day to take its total number of incomings across the window to a remarkable 21, at a cost of $160 million. AP