Bottom six spend big as deadline day passes

Chelsea had a £35 million (S$62 million) bid for Moussa Dembele rejected by Celtic on the final day of the transfer window.
Chelsea had a £35 million (S$62 million) bid for Moussa Dembele rejected by Celtic on the final day of the transfer window.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Chelsea had a £35 million (S$62 million) bid for Moussa Dembele rejected by Celtic on the final day of the transfer window, while the Premier League's lesser clubs scrambled to find players that could help them secure their top-flight status.

Despite Premier League clubs spending £215 million - a six-year high - they collectively recorded a profit of £40 million on player sales during the window for the first time.

That the football horse-trading was in the black was largely thanks to the departures of Oscar (£60 million) and Odion Ighalo (£20 million) - who joined Shanghai SIPG and Changchun Yatai of the Chinese Super League respectively - and Dimitri Payet, who left West Ham for Marseille in a £25 million transfer.

Yet there was predictable exasperation and a sense of disappointment as the clock ticked down. The Dembele deal was not the only one to collapse, while Chelsea's rivals kept to their word and did not strengthen.

Chelsea were also turned down by Jonathan Biabiany, who stayed at Inter Milan. The winger has made only three appearances in all competitions for Inter this season.

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    January spending (£110 million or S$196 million) by the Premier League bottom six - Hull City, Sunderland, Crystal Palace, Swansea, Leicester City and Middlesbrough.

Chelsea did receive an £18 million offer for defender Nathan Ake from Bournemouth, where he had been on loan earlier in the season, but it was rejected.

Burnley shelled out £18 million on Tuesday, breaking their club record to sign Robbie Brady for £13 million from Norwich City, as well as Ashley Westwood for £5 million from Aston Villa.

Crystal Palace signed Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho on loan until the end of season and Serbia midfielder Luka Milivojevic from Olympiakos for an undisclosed fee.

The bottom-six clubs - Hull, Sunderland, Crystal Palace, Swansea, Leicester and Middlesbrough - together spent £110 million, 50 per cent of the total spending.

But Leicester striker Leonardo Ulloa's bid to force a move to Sunderland failed on Tuesday, and he remains with the Foxes after Sunderland's third bid of £8 million was turned down on deadline day.

Ulloa has vowed not to play for Leicester again.

"It is clubs in the bottom half of the table who have driven expenditure this January, investing in their squads in an attempt to secure survival," said Dan Jones from Deloitte's sports business department. "This is no surprise given clubs' reliance on the revenues generated from the Premier League's broadcast deals."

Jones added that Premier League spending for the 2016-17 season of almost £1.4 billion - a record - was up 32 per cent on last season.

THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 02, 2017, with the headline 'Bottom six spend big as deadline day passes'. Print Edition | Subscribe