Transfer spend soars across Europe despite EPL plunge - GulfToday

Transfer spend soars across Europe despite EPL plunge

Transfer spend soars across  Europe despite EPL plunge

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (left) poses in the Roma jersey after joining the club on Tuesday.

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.”

Several big-name players did change clubs on loans, including Mauro Icardi moving to Paris Saint-Germain from Inter Milan and Nikola Kalinic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan going out to Roma from Atletico Madrid and Arsenal.

The biggest names among the permanent transfer were a pair of Central American veterans: Keylor Navas and Javier Hernandez.

The closure of the window interrupted the saga surrounding of Neymar, the world’s most expensive player, who will stay at Paris Saint-Germain having failed to get the move back to Barcelona he craved for.

Real Madrid had also been linked with Neymar as well as Manchester United World Cup winner Paul Pogba and Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen as part of the expensive refurbishment of Zinedine Zidane’s squad.

Pogba excited some suspicious speculation earlier in the day when he dropped out of France’s two upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers with an “ankle problem”.

Real did do one deal with PSG. It even involved a World Cup winner, but the marquee name was the Madrid club’s backup goalkeeper.

Navas, a 32-year-old Costa Rican who won the Champions League three times in Madrid, joined PSG with the younger French international Alphonse Areola moving in the opposite direction on loan.

PSG also pulled a late rabbit from their sleeve late with the loan signing of Argentine striker Icardi “with an option to buy.”

Barcelona were not entirely inactive. They extended the contract of attacking midfielder Rafinha and then loaned him to Celta Vigo, where he also spent the 2013-2014 season.

Even without a deadline-day blockbuster, La Liga clubs spent a record 1.3 billion euros on players including Eden Hazard, Rodri and Ferland Mendy to Real, Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong to Barca and Joao Felix to Atletico Madrid.

Agence France-Presse

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