Clubs in England spent more than £1billion on cross-border transfers in the summer window – more than twice the amount spent by clubs from any other country, according to figures from FIFA.
Manchester City were the biggest spenders in the international market, shelling out more than £200million, but Manchester United and Chelsea invested more than £100million each.
In total, English clubs brought in 526 players from foreign clubs over the summer but made more than £350million in international sales.
Under FIFA rules, all moves involving clubs in different countries must be logged on its International Transfer Matching System, and these numbers come from its annual analysis of transfer activity in the so-called ‘Big five’ – England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Overall, 7,590 international transfers were completed worldwide between June 1 and September 1, and global spending reached a record £3.56billion, which is almost as much as clubs spent in all of 2016.
Most of those moves, though, were either loans, free transfers or for very small sums, and the vast majority of the serious shopping was done by the ‘Big five’, which explains why they accounted for only one in five deals but nearly four fifths of the total spend.
Looking at those five alone, there were 1,608 incoming transfers, up more than 6 per cent on last summer, with £2.77billion spent, up more than 31.7 per cent. The big increase in expenditure – three times the amount spent five years ago – is hardly surprising in a summer when Paris St Germain splashed out £200.6million on Neymar alone.
After English clubs, Spanish sides were the next biggest spenders on 480million, although they actually brought in £565million in sales and were the only ones among the ‘Big five’ to post a profit on international trading.
Buoyed by PSG’s trolley dash, French clubs spent more than £450million, nearly three times as much as their total outlay in 2016. Germany and Italy, on the other hand, did less cross-border business than last year, spending under £400million apiece.