Who spent the most in the summer transfer window?
The transfer window has closed in the leading European leagues. FootyRoom has tallied how much clubs spent during the summer. The top spot goes to Chelsea, who conducted their first transfer window without Roman Abramovich since 2003.
English Premier League Domination
The English Premier League clubs have set a record for summer transfer window spending. According to Deloitte's data, as reported by the BBC, they spent €2.75 billion on new players during this period.
The cumulative spending of the 20 clubs during the summer transfer window surpassed the previous spending record of €2.24 billion, set last summer, by €513 million. On the final day of the transfer window alone, Premier League clubs spent €297.3 million, more than double the €140 million spent on the last day of the previous summer window.
One can look at the percentage of total transfer spending to gauge the EPL's impact on the transfer market. Thus, 48% of the total spending in the "BIG FIVE" European leagues — La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, and Ligue 1 — went towards transfers in the EPL.
The Chelsea Paradox
The summer's spending leader, Chelsea, shelled out €464.1 million, more than any other club in the world during this current transfer window. This transfer window was Chelsea's first since Roman Abramovich's departure as the club's owner. The new owner is Todd Bowley. However, the club's performance has not been stellar, with the team finishing 12th place last season. Expensive acquisitions like Mykhailo Mudryk for €100 million have not significantly improved the club's fortunes.
During this offseason, Chelsea's most expensive acquisition was Moises Caicedo from Brighton for €116 million. The player has signed an eight-year contract with the club, with an option for an additional season. According to Transfermarkt, Caicedo's transfer is among the top five most expensive transfers in EPL history. Only the transfers of Enzo Fernandes (€121 million, Chelsea), Jack Grealish (€117.5 million, Manchester City), and Declan Rice (€116.6 million, Arsenal) surpassed it in terms of cost to their respective clubs.
However, Chelsea became the transfer income leader in this offseason. Bowley's club earned €264.2 million from player sales. Nearly half of this sum came from the transfers of Kai Havertz to Arsenal for €75 million and Mason Mount to Manchester United for €64.2 million.
Superclubs' targeted reinforcements
Against the backdrop of daily transfer rumors about a possible move of Mbappe from PSG to Real Madrid, the Madrid club has shifted its focus to targeted strengthening of the squad. The club has added one of the most promising young players in the world, Englishman Jude Bellingham. The 20-year-old midfielder joined Real Madrid from Borussia Dortmund for €103 million, with an additional €30.9 million potentially paid as various bonuses.
Bayern Munich, who miraculously became champions last season, decided to bolster their attacking line with one of the best snipers of the generation, Harry Kane.
The Briton, after many years at Tottenham, decided to move to Germany. The Germans paid €100 million for his transfer, with an additional €20 million potentially paid as bonuses. This is a record amount for Bayern Munich. Previously, the club's most expensive purchase was French defender Lucas Hernandez (€80 million in 2019).
Last season's best club, Manchester City, won the Premier League, and the Champions League had a modest summer transfer period. In August, the club acquired Croatian defender Josko Gvardiol for €90 million. Gvardiol became the most expensive defender in the history of football. The previous record belonged to Manchester United, who bought Harry Maguire from Leicester for €87 million in 2019.
Arab buying spree
Arab clubs have been the leading providers of sensations during the summer transfer window. While Cristiano Ronaldo's move to Al Nassr in the winter was a one-off, stars have been flocking to Saudi Arabia this summer. In just a few months, players like Karim Benzema, Neymar, N'Golo Kante, Ruben Neves, Sadio Mane, Jordan Henderson, Kalidou Koulibaly, Ever Banega, Edouard Mendy, Marcelo Brozovic, Roberto Firmino, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Riyad Mahrez, Fabinho, and Yassin Bounou have all come to play in the country. This has been made possible thanks to the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Sports allocating €19 billion for transfers in the professional league until 2030.
Neymar's transfer is particularly notable. The 31-year-old Brazilian accepted a contract offer from a Saudi club for two seasons with the option to extend for another year. Neymar's current agreement will make him the second-highest-paid player in the world in terms of yearly contract earnings with the club. Throughout two seasons, he will earn €320 million. He could make an additional €100 million through bonuses and sponsorship deals. This salary is second only to what Cristiano Ronaldo is achieving at Al-Nassr, which is €400 million.
Another notable transfer was Malcom's move from Zenit (Russian Premier League) to the most successful club in Asia, Al Hilal, for €60 million. This transfer was one of the most expensive in the Saudi Arabian league this summer.
The situation with transfers has become a problem for the Premier League. The Daily Mail reported that clubs in the league want to ask FIFA to extend the closing date for transfer windows in Saudi Arabia. The current transfer window in Saudi Arabia closes on September 20, while in the Premier League and other top European leagues, the summer window closes on September 1.
Premier League clubs want to prevent their star players from moving to the Saudi league after the transfer window closes, leaving English teams unable to sign replacements. Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has also expressed concern about the difference in transfer window closing dates between the Premier League and Saudi Arabia.
Messi and the USA
Lionel Messi's move from PSG to Inter Miami was one of the most high-profile and exciting summer transfers. The uniqueness of the deal lies not only in the player's salary, which amounts to $50-60 million per season, but also in the opportunities it provides for Messi, the club, and MLS.
The Athletic reported that Messi was lured to the team (MLS) thanks to co-owner David Beckham but also with the assistance of Apple and Adidas. Apple has become the league's leading broadcaster from 2023 onwards. The company offered Messi a share of the revenue generated by new subscribers to the MLS Season Pass, which grants exclusive access to all season matches. League matches can officially only be viewed on this service.
Adidas has been one of the most prominent sponsors of MLS for several years and has had a personal contract with Messi for several years. After Messi's move, Adidas and Messi are preparing a new agreement under which the corporation will allocate a certain percentage of the income related to his transfer to Inter Miami.
Published by Patrick Jane