Europe's Big Five smash soccer transfer window records

AFP, Sunday 31 Aug 2014

Colombia's soccer player Radamel Falcao looks on while coach Jose Pekerman announces the 23-man squad for the World Cup finals, in Buenos Aires June 2, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

England and Spain have led a record breaking summer transfer market by Europe's big five leagues worth well over $2 billion (1.5 billion euros, £1.2 billion), with more big deals looming before the window closes on Monday.

Radamel Falcao and Arturo Vidal are among the big names and Real Madrid and Manchester United in the big clubs touted for major deals on the final day of the transfer window when another $250 million of business could be done.

"This summer transfer window is one of records," said Dan Jones of the Deloitte consultancy's Sports Business Group.

He highlighted that in the last two summer windows more than 20% of English Premier League clubs’ spending occurred on deadline day. "There is still potential for a significant increase" in the record breaking spending already seen, he said.

FIFA's transfer monitoring system said that by Sunday, $2.09 billion had been spent by top clubs in England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France, breaking last year's record of $2.02 billion.

It said that England's Premier League accounted for more than 43% of the big five's spending, followed by Spain on more than 25% and Germany on about 10%. Italy and France follow, with spending down in both in Serie A and Ligue 1.

According to Deloitte's figures, more than £725 million ($1.2 billion) had been spent by England's 20 Premier League clubs from June 9 up to Friday. That is already more than £100 million more than last year.

British media said the figure had risen to nearly £750 million by Sunday, helped by Manchester United's £14 million plus purchase of Daley Blind from Ajax Amsterdam.

Manchester United have been Europe's top spenders, laying out more than £140 million ($240 million) to buy Blind, Angel di Maria from Real Madrid for £59 million, Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo. They have been linked with Vidal and other names before the transfer windown closes at 2200 GMT on Monday.

Liverpool have also spent more than £115 million, mainly to buy Mario Balotelli, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren. Chelsea have laid out more than £75 (including Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa) and Arsenal more than £62 million.

- Money goes to big-spending Spain -

English clubs have spent about $300 million on Spanish players. But, according to FIFA, Spain's current spending is closing on $600 million and already three times higher than last year's pre-season transfer window. A spending splurge by Real Madrid and Barcelona has accounted for the buying.

Barcelona paid Liverpool more than $125 million for Luis Suarez, while Real Madrid spent a reported $108 million on Monaco's James Rodriguez and more than $35 million on German World Cup midfielder Toni Kroos.

But after losing Xabi Alonso to Bayern Munich, Real are still in market for a big signing, according to club officials.

Media reports Sunday linked Real to Falcao at Monaco and Manchester United's Mexican forward Javier Hernandez.

Spending by Germany's cautious Bundesliga team is more than 25% up at nearly $300 million so far, according to FIFA's figures. But it is still way behind England and Spain.

And Italy and France have seen dramatic falls in their spending, reflecting the state of their countries' economies and the impact of UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations.

Spending by Italian clubs approaching $200 million is 45% down on last year. AC Milan took Chelsea's Fernando Torres in a loan deal on Saturday.

Top French sides Paris St Germain and Monaco have spent 75% less this year on new players than in the 2013 transfer window. The $67 million move by Brazilian defender David Luiz from Chelsea to Paris was the biggest purchase in France.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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