A late flurry of deadline-day signings took Premier League spending for the summer up to £1.41bn, just short of the £1.43bn record set in 2017, according to Deloitte.
Deadline day spending alone by English top-flight clubs was £170m – but on just 18 deals, the joint fewest number of transfers on the last day of the summer window since 2009.
Everton’s £34m signing of forwarding Alex Iwobi from Arsenal was the biggest incoming Premier League deal, while the largest transfer saw Romelu Lukaku leave Manchester United for Inter Milan for £74m – a loss of £1m on the fee they paid Everton.
Arsenal were the biggest spenders in England during the window, splashing out £155m. On deadline day, they bought £25m Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney and £8m Chelsea center-back David Luiz.
Tottenham recruited Real Betis midfielder Giovani lo Celso on loan and signed Fulham winger Ryan Sessegnon for £25m. Their pursuit of Juventus forward Paulo Dybala was one of the big stories earlier in the day but the deal fell through.
Watford spent a club record, reported to be £25m, on Rennes winger Ismaila Sarr and Leicester bought Sampdoria’s attacking midfielder Dennis Praetfor a reported £18m.
Three former England internationals made moves – Burnley signing Chelsea midfielder Danny Drinkwater and Manchester City bringing in Derby goalkeeper Scott Carson, both on loan, while Newcastle re-signed free agent striker Andy Carroll.
A busy day in the Championship was headlined by West Brom spending £4m on Southampton striker Charlie Austin.
This was the second year in a row when Premier League clubs could only sign players until the day before the season started, instead of the end of August.
The deadline has also now passed for Championship clubs, but teams from Scotland, Leagues One and Two and all of Europe’s major leagues can bring in players until 2 September.
The total number of Premier League signings in the summer fell for the sixth year in a row.
What deals happened in the summer?
Eleven of the 20 Premier League clubs broke their transfer record this summer, with Sheffield United smashing theirs four times. Arsenal, Aston Villa, Leicester (twice), Manchester City, Newcastle, Southampton, Tottenham, Watford – on deadline day – West Ham and Wolves are the other 10.
Harry Maguire’s £80m switch from Leicester to Manchester United was the biggest Premier League signing of the summer, followed by Arsenal’s £72m purchase of Lille winger Nicolas Pepe.
Champions Manchester City bought Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodri for £62.8m and Juventus right-back Joao Cancelo for £60m.
Spurs spent £53.8m on Lyon midfielder Tanguy Ndombele – their first first-team signing since January 2018.
The 10 biggest signings by Premier League clubs this summer
Villa spent £125m, the second promoted club to hit nine figures after Fulham, who did so last summer, only to be relegated in April.
The other biggest transfers were Manchester United right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka (£50m from Crystal Palace), West Ham striker Sebastien Haller (£45m from Eintracht Frankfurt), Newcastle striker Joelinton (£40m from Hoffenheim) and Leicester midfielder Youri Tielemans (reported £40m from Monaco).
Chelsea also spent £40m on Real Madrid midfielder Mateo Kovacic despite having a transfer embargo. The Croat was already there on loan, so Frank Lampard’s side were allowed to sign him permanently as he was already registered. Their sale of Eden Hazard to Real for a fee of £89m, which could rise to £150m, was one of the biggest deals in the world.
La Liga could overtake Premier League – Deloitte analysis
This was the second-highest total spend since the introduction of the transfer window system in 2003, according to analysis from Deloitte’s Sports Business Group. It is the fourth consecutive summer that Premier League clubs have spent over £1bn.
But Premier League clubs’ net expenditure (purchases minus sales) was £625m – the lowest in a summer since 2015, helped by Hazard and Lukaku’s big-money moves.
Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: “With this level of net spend, combined with a more modest increase in Premier League broadcast rights values for the coming season than we have seen previously, we would expect wages to increase at a greater rate than revenue, returning to a wages to revenue ratio of over 60%.
“However, this does not signal major financial concerns as Premier League clubs collectively generated pre-tax profits of £426m in 2017-18, while net spend as a proportion of revenue of 12% is at its lowest since 2012.”
Here are some of Deloitte’s other findings…
- La Liga clubs could still overtake the Premier League’s total. Spain’s top-flight clubs have spent £1.1bn, with Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, and Barcelona accounting for two-thirds of that alone. That number will increase with their deadline not until 2 September.
- Championship clubs spent £160m on transfers, an increase from the £155m spent last summer.
- Chelsea (who had a transfer embargo), Crystal Palace and Liverpool were the three clubs to make a profit on transfers this summer.
- Benfica (£170m) and Ajax (£165m) were among the sides to make the most in player sales this summer.
What could still happen?
The deadline for La Liga, Serie A, the Bundesliga, Ligue 1 and other European leagues is on 2 September so their clubs can sign Premier League players until then.
Real Madrid have been linked with United midfielder Paul Pogba all summer, but it seems unlikely United would let the France international go now without being able to bring in a replacement.
Spurs playmaker Christian Eriksen is another who could leave the Premier League. The Denmark international, who has one year left on his contract, is interested in a move abroad. But could their failure to sign Dybala make a move less likely?
Manchester City winger Leroy Sane is a long-term Bayern Munich target but the cruciate ligament damage suffered in Sunday’s Community Shield could see him stay at Etihad Stadium.
Real Madrid forward Gareth Bale was never really linked to any English clubs before the deadline. He has got three and a half weeks to find a European club, or else face a season out of the team, with the Welshman seemingly not in Zinedine Zidane’s plans.
Paris St-Germain forward Neymar continues to be linked to Real Madrid and former club Barcelona, while Real attacking midfielder James Rodriguez – like Bale – may have to move away for first-team football.
The Premier League deadline closing could spark a flurry of signings elsewhere. Some managers in Leagues One and Two have been waiting for this stage, with Premier League and Championship clubs now more likely to know who they will be willing to loan or sell.