Football

Big spenders: Europe’s Big Five smash transfer window record

Manchester United's Angel Di Maria (top) is challenged by Burnley's Dean Marney during their English Premier League soccer match at Turf Moor in Burnley, northern England August 30, 2014. REUTERS/Andrew Yates

PARIS: England and Spain have led a record-breaking summer transfer market by Europe’s big five leagues, which are worth well over $2 billion, and more big deals loom before the window closes Monday.

Radamel Falcao and Arturo Vidal are among the big names and Real Madrid and Manchester United in the big clubs touted for major deals on the final day of the transfer window, when another $250 million of business could be done.

“This summer transfer window is one of records,” said Dan Jones of the Deloitte consultancy’s Sports Business Group.

He highlighted that in the last two summer windows more than 20 percent of English Premier League clubs’ spending occurred on deadline day. “There is still potential for a significant increase” in the record breaking spending already seen, he said.

By Sunday, $2.09 billion had been spent by top clubs in England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France, breaking last year’s record of $2.02 billion.

It said that England’s Premier League accounted for more than 43 percent of the big five’s spending, followed by Spain, with more than 25 percent and Germany, with about 10 percent. Italy and France follow, with spending down in both in Serie A and Ligue 1.

According to Deloitte’s figures, more than 725 million pounds ($1.2 billion) had been spent by England’s 20 Premier League clubs from June 9 up to Friday. That is already more than 100 million pounds more than last year.

British media said the figure had risen to nearly 750 million pounds by Sunday, helped by Manchester United’s 14-million-pound-plus purchase of Daley Blind from Ajax Amsterdam.

Manchester United are Europe’s top spenders, having laid out more than 140 million pounds($240 million) to buy Blind, Angel di Maria from Real Madrid for 59 million pounds, Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo.

Liverpool have also spent more than 115 million pounds, mainly to buy Mario Balotelli, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren. Chelsea have laid out more than 75 million pounds (including Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa) and Arsenal more than 62 million pounds.

English clubs have spent about $300 million on Spanish players. But, according to FIFA, Spain’s current spending is closing on $600 million and already three times higher than last year’s preseason transfer window. A spending splurge by Real Madrid and Barcelona has accounted for the buying.

Barcelona paid Liverpool more than $125 million for Luis Suarez, while Real Madrid spent a reported $108 million on Monaco’s James Rodriguez and more than $35 million on German World Cup midfielder Toni Kroos.

But after losing Xabi Alonso to Bayern Munich, Real are still in market for a big signing, according to club officials.

Media reports Sunday linked Real to Falcao at Monaco and Manchester United’s Mexican forward Javier Hernandez.

Spending by Germany’s cautious Bundesliga team is more than 25 percent up at nearly $300 million so far, according to FIFA’s figures.

But it is still way behind England and Spain.

And Italy and France have seen dramatic falls in their spending, reflecting the state of their countries’ economies and the impact of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations.

Spending by Italian clubs is approaching $200 million – 45 percent down on last year. AC Milan took Chelsea’s Fernando Torres in a loan deal Saturday.

Top French sides Paris St Germain and Monaco have spent 75 percent less this year on new players than in the 2013 transfer window.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on September 01, 2014, on page 13.

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