The Premier League’s summer spending of £2.36billion demonstrates the “incredible pace of growth” in the league’s wealth, according to finance company Deloitte.
The £2bn milestone was surpassed for the first time in advance of Friday’s deadline with moves such as Manchester City’s £53million capture of Wolves’ Matheus Nunes then driving the total to new heights.
Calum Ross, assistant director in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, told the PA news agency: “It took 14 summer transfer windows to exceed £1bn and it’s only taken seven more to surpass £2bn, so that just reflects the incredible pace of growth that we’re seeing.”
Deloitte’s analysis showed the 2023 summer transfer window exceeded the previous record of £1.92bn, set only last summer, by almost £440m.
Chelsea’s spending under Todd Boehly’s ownership group has continued with the £100m signing of midfielder Moises Caicedo from Brighton, £63m for forward Christopher Nkunku and Friday’s £40m capture of Cole Palmer from Manchester City.
With Newcastle beating the Blues, Tottenham and Liverpool to a place in this season’s Champions League and Brighton – who pulled off a deadline-day coup with a loan deal for Barcelona star Ansu Fati – also challenging, there are as many as eight teams with realistic top-four ambitions.
Arsenal signed West Ham captain Declan Rice for a similar fee to that for Caicedo and Manchester City spent £77m on Croatia defender Josko Gvardiol, while Spurs’ £47.5m move for Nottingham Forest forward Brennan Johnson was another standout move on deadline day.
Ross said: “You’ve got that intensity of competition across the league. There are 10 clubs that have spent more than £100m so it’s not all those top clubs.
“I think at the moment, more than half of the clubs have spent more than they did last season.”
England’s top flight has spent almost as much as the other members of Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues – LaLiga in Spain, Italy’s Serie A, the French Ligue 1 and Germany’s Bundesliga – combined this summer.
But a new challenge has emerged with the Saudi Pro League attracting the likes of Neymar, Karim Benzema and Riyad Mahrez to follow Cristiano Ronaldo’s January move to Al Nassr.
The fees and wages on offer in Saudi Arabia are eye-watering with Liverpool rejecting a £150m deadline-day bid from Al-Ittihad for attacking talisman Mohamed Salah.
Ross said: “This is the first time since the summer window of 2016 that one of the big five leagues, LaLiga, doesn’t appear in the top five spenders globally. The Saudi Pro League’s replaced them, I think they’re the second highest at the moment with over 850million euros (£728m).
“Also it’s another source of funding though – I think almost half of the transfer fees received by Premier League clubs came from the Saudi Pro League. So having that extra funding from Saudi Pro League clubs and other overseas markets is then providing them with additional funds to redistribute to their transfer targets.”
The Saudi window remains open until next Thursday and while clubs could be reluctant to sell with no opportunity to replace departed talent, Ross said: “There is still a chance over the next week or so that we will see further outgoings.
“Being able to operate in a financially sustainable manner, as well as complying with the relevant financial regulations, is a key part of their activity.
“It’s balancing that need for financial sustainability and profitability with the desire for on-pitch success.”