Football: Premier League transfer spending sets new record

(AFP) - Premier League clubs' spending has set a new record for a single transfer window as the historically lavish spree reached £1.17 billion (S$2.04 billion) on Thursday (Aug 24).

With a week to go until the window closes, Deloitte's Sports Business Group say the 20 English top-tier teams have shattered the previous record of £1.165 billion for one league in a single window, which was set by the Premier League last year.

Fuelled by global broadcast rights deals totalling £8.4 billion, 12 Premier League teams have broken their transfer record since the end of last season.

Liverpool's record went on £39 million Mohamed Salah, Arsenal broke theirs for £50 million Alexandre Lacazette, while Chelsea, Tottenham and Everton set new marks with the signings of Alvaro Morata, Davinson Sanchez and Gylfi Sigurdsson respectively.

Manchester City were the biggest spenders, with manager Pep Guardiola shelling out £221.5 million, including £54 million on Tottenham defender Kyle Walker.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho splurged £145.8 million on three players, with the marquee recruit, Everton striker Romelu Lukaku, for a British record £75 million.

Everton are currently third in the spending chart after paying £139.9 million on new signings funded by the Lukaku sale.

Some fear the spending is unsustainable and could put the financial health of clubs at risk in the long-term.

But Deloitte consultant Chris Stenson believes the unprecedented fees are in line with reasonable expectations, given the riches available to Premier League clubs from the record broadcast deals which took effect last season.

"The level of transfer expenditure in this summer's window has been extraordinary but when analysed in the context of record broadcast, commercial and matchday revenues, Premier League clubs are spending within their means," he said.

"Their ability to generate these record revenues and attract the world's very best playing talent continues to drive the Premier League's status as the most commercially successful football league in the world."

Even newly-promoted Huddersfield have broken their transfer record four times as the impact of the television deal is felt throughout the top flight.

Despite Paris Saint-Germain paying a world-record £200 million to sign Brazil striker Neymar from Barcelona, the Premier League teams have easily out-gunned the other top European leagues.

There is every chance the new record will climb even higher as teams fine-tune their squads with more spending in the final days of the transfer market, which would not reopen until January.

"We expect further significant expenditure in the next seven days as clubs seek value in the market," Stenson said.

"Last summer, Premier League clubs spent around £300m in the final week of the window, more than they did throughout the entire January 2017 window."

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