A record spending spree by Premier League clubs in the summer transfer market topped the $2.2 billion mark before the window closed on Thursday with Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and — belatedly — Chelsea all signing players to complete the reshuffle to their teams.
The headline transfer on a typically frantic final day of trading was the arrival of Brazilian winger Antoni to United from Ajax for $95m, making him the fourth most expensive player in Premier League history and football’s most expensive deadline day signing.
That brought United’s total spending in this most daring transfer window to around $240m – a figure surpassed across Europe only by Chelsea, who finally signed an exiting striker in Barcelona’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. In the club’s first transfer window in the post-Roman Abramovich era, Chelsea spent a staggering $280 million.
The $17.5 million signing of Swiss centre-back Manuel Akanji from Man City seemed insignificant in comparison, while Liverpool’s only move – the loan signing of Brazil international Artur Melo from Juventus – was still significant as it strengthened the midfield of the team, affected by injuries.
Fueled by revenue from huge global broadcasting deals worth around 10 billion pounds ($11.8 billion) over three seasons, Premier League clubs have returned to pre-pandemic spending levels – and then some – to leave the rest from Europe behind.
England’s top clubs have spent about as much 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 Transfermarkt website.
The net spending of Premier League teams is $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 boasting of English clubs was the work Nottingham Forest did after securing a return to the Premier League for the first time since 1999.
Forest signed three players on deadline day to take their total number of signings in the window to a remarkable 21, at a cost of $160 million.
RONALDO IS STAYING
Cristiano Ronaldo’s future has been a hot topic since the end of last season – the Portugal star insisted on leaving Man United because the team are not in the Champions League – but the five-time World Player of the Year will remain at Old Trafford until at least January.
Ronaldo was a second-half substitute in United’s 1-0 Premier League win over Leicester on Thursday and manager Erik ten Hag reiterated after the game that he is relying on the 37-year-old striker this season.
However, Antony’s arrival adds further competition to the attacking positions, with Ronaldo starting just one of United’s five Premier League games.
United’s rebuild under ten The Hague has ended with the signing of Slovakian goalkeeper Martin Dubravka on a season-long loan from Newcastle as back-up to David De Gea.
Fulham had a busy end to the window, bringing in three strikers and a defender on deadline day.
Former Brazilian winger Willian returns to the Premier League after previous spells at Arsenal and Chelsea, while ex-Man United winger Daniel James has arrived on loan from Leeds.
Brazilian striker Carlos Vinicius has joined from Benfica, while Fulham have signed left-back Lavin Kurzawa on loan from Paris Saint-Germain.
PSG have further reduced their squad by selling Senegalese midfielder Idrissa Gueye to former club Everton, who have also signed young striker James Garner from Man United.
Southampton’s deadline-day burst also saw four transfers – including Croatia defender Due Kaleta-Carr, who left Champions League qualifiers Marseille for a side that will do well to finish in the top half of the Premier League.
Aston Villa have signed Belgian midfielder Leander Dendoncker from Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Leicester chose on the final day of the window to make their first and only signing of the summer, Wat Faes from French club Reims. The Fairies filled the void left by Wesley Fofana, who joined Chelsea on Wednesday for 75 million pounds ($87 million).
Leicester’s expensive approach this summer has made the club very much an underdog in the Premier League and manager Brendan Rodgers bemoaned after Thursday’s defeat at United – which left his side bottom and without a win – the club’s failure to strengthen the squad. in the summer transfer.
“With all due respect,” Rodgers said, “we didn’t have the help in the marketplace that this team needed.”
SINGLE SEASON RECORD
The Premier League’s record for spending in a single season – spanning both the summer and winter transfer windows – previously stood at 1.86 billion pounds ($2.18 billion) in 2017-18.
That figure has only been surpassed in this transfer window.
More football coverage: