Top European clubs spent $2 billion on transfers
The top leagues in England, Spain and Italy all increased their spending in Europe's summer transfer window, splashing out nearly 1.2 billion pounds ($2 billion US) on new players as football continued to defy the continent's tough economic climate.
England's Premier League led the way, with clubs spending 485 million pounds ($790 million) in total — an increase of 33 per cent from 2010, according to a study released Thursday by business advisory firm Deloitte.
Clubs in Italy (400 million pounds; $651 million) and Spain (300 million pounds; $488 million) also spent more than in the same period last year, Deloitte said.
"The football authorities' encouragement for homegrown players has contributed toward the increased scale of fees for the transfer of young English talent [in England] this summer," Deloitte's Dan Jones said.
"The resurgence of transfer spending is also apparent in other top European leagues. Despite domestic difficulties delaying the start of their seasons, transfer spending is considerably up among clubs in Serie A and La Liga."
By the time the transfer window closed in Europe on Wednesday night, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal had all spent more than 50 million pounds ($81 million), accounting for 66 per cent of the league's overall amount.
City, bankrolled by Abu Dhabi billionaire Sheikh Mansour, was the biggest spender in the Premier League as deals for Argentina striker Sergio Aguero and France midfielder Samir Nasri helped raise the club's summer outlay to 74 million ($120 million).
With around 100 million pounds' worth of deals concluded in the Premier League on deadline day, overall summer spending is nearly double that of the same period in 2006.
Around 165 million pounds (34 per cent) of that total outlay was on British players, with United (Phil Jones and Ashley Young) and Liverpool (Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam) focusing on homegrown players.
Transfer fees to overseas clubs were around 205 million pounds ($334 million), 25 per cent down from last summer.
Soccer's biggest summer signings
"This summer's spending is largely focused among the top-end Premier League clubs most strongly competing for domestic and European success and the consequent financial rewards," Jones said.
Given the increasing need to balance the books to comply with UEFA's financial fair play rules, there were a raft of loan signings as clubs sought to offload their big wage-earners.
As well as selling Shaun Wright-Phillips and Craig Bellamy, City loaned out Emmanuel Adebayor (Tottenham) and Roque Santa Cruz (Real Betis) while Liverpool sent Joe Cole and Alberto Aquilani on loan to Lille and AC Milan respectively and Tottenham offloaded David Bentley (West Ham) and Jermaine Jenas (Aston Villa).
Elsewhere in Europe, France's top league increased spending to 165 million pounds ($270 million) but Germany's expenditure was at a similar level to the summer of 2010.