Transfer spending soars across Europe despite Premier League downturn

Romelu Lukaku (Getty Images)
Romelu Lukaku (Getty Images)

London - Clubs from Europe's 'big five' leagues in England, Spain, Italy, France and Germany combined to spend a record £5 billion ($6 billion) on transfer fees during the summer transfer window, financial experts Deloitte revealed on Tuesday.

However, despite boasting the largest television rights deals, the net spend of teams from England's Premier League fell to its lowest level since 2015.

A busy summer for La Liga giants Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid saw spending in the Spanish top-flight reach a record £1.2 billion.

But there were also summer spending records in Italy (£1.06 billion), Germany (£670 million) and France (£605 million).

Premier League clubs still led the way with a total spend of £1.4 billion, but net spend was only £575 million, the lowest in four years.

"Looking to the Premier League, this summer's player transfer expenditure fell narrowly short of record levels, and net spend was at its lowest level since summer 2015," said Dan Jones, Deloitte's head of sports business group.

"While this level of net spend as a proportion of revenue of 11 percent is the lowest since summer 2011, we still expect wages to increase at a greater rate than revenue in the next couple of seasons."

Some spending from Premier League clubs may have been curtailed by the early closure to the English top-flight window on August 8, a day before the season began.

Clubs across Europe had nearly a month more before their window closed on September 2.

According to The Times, a proposal to again set the English window in line with other leagues will be put forward at a Premier League meeting next week, just two years after the deadline was moved to before the season started to avoid disrupting the opening weeks of the campaign.

Managers such as Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino and Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp have been critics.

"I think that was a big mistake for the Premier League to allow that - we open the door to different clubs in Europe to try to create confusion within your squad," said Pochettino, who has repeatedly complained of having an unsettled squad in recent weeks.

"I think after two seasons operating in this way, the Premier League realises that if Europe doesn't change, we need to go back and start to operate in the same way they operate now."

The Premier League had hoped other leagues would follow suit in bringing their windows forward to before the season started, but that has not happened.

"They spoke about finishing it before the season starts. Good idea, but only England did it," said Klopp.

"That makes no sense. It was a good idea but it didn't work out."

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