Cristiano Ronaldo completed his shock move back to Manchester United on transfer deadline day to help push Premier League clubs’ outlay past £1bn – but overall spending has dropped for the second year in a row.
The Portugal forward’s eye-catching Old Trafford return was one of the early moves to be rubber-stamped on Tuesday, before England’s summer window closed at 23:00 BST.
The biggest deal was Nikola Vlasic’s £26.8m move from CSKA Moscow to West Ham, while Chelsea left it late to sign Saul Niguez on loan from Atletico Madrid.
However, there would be no late move for Kylian Mbappe as Paris St-Germain rejected two bids from Real Madrid for the France World Cup-winning forward.
In total, Premier League clubs spent £1.1bn on transfers during the window, which was open from 9 June until 31 August. That outlay was 11% lower than the previous summer’s total of £1.3bn, itself was a 9% fall from 2019.
According to financial services firm Deloitte, this is the lowest collective gross spend by Premier League clubs since 2015, and the first time there has been a consecutive decline since the global financial crisis between 2008 and 2010.
Some of Deloitte’s other key findings from the window include:
Deadline day activity totalled £150m, meaning Premier League clubs have spent in excess of £1bn for the sixth summer in a row;
Premier League clubs signed 148 players, compared with 132 in summer 2020 and 128 in summer 2019;
No less than 22% of all players signed by Premier League clubs this summer were acquired on free transfers, up from 20% in summer 2020;
Only four Premier League clubs did not acquire a player on a free transfer, while there were eight in summer 2020;
The German Bundesliga is the only European ‘big five’ league to increase its gross spending this year;
The Premier League’s net player transfer spend of £560m dwarfed that of La Liga (£55m), Serie A (£50m) and Ligue 1 (£15m).
Dan Jones, of Deloitte’s sports business group, said: “This has been a remarkable transfer window.
“Club spending records have been broken, player moves – including the two greatest players of their generation [Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo] – have grabbed the headlines and Premier League clubs have spent in excess of £1bn for the sixth summer in a row.
“Perhaps most remarkable is that all this has been achieved with lower spending than we have seen in the previous two summers.”