The British transfer record was smashed on deadline day as an unprecedented January transfer window ended with Premier League clubs having spent £2.8bn during the 2022-23 season.
Chelsea’s ₤121m (£107m) deal for Benfica’s and Argentina’s midfielder, Enzo Fernandez, once confirmed – will take the total expenditure by top-flight clubs in January to a record-breaking £815m.
More than £275m was spent on deadline day alone before the window closed for English clubs at 23:00 GMT on Tuesday.
The deadline day outlay was an increase of 83% on the previous January record of £150m set in 2018.
And while an all-time high season expenditure across both the summer and winter windows was guaranteed after a record of £1.9bn was set in September, the final total is double the previous record of £1.4bn in 2017.
The 2018 winter record spent of £430m by Premier League clubs had also already been smashed prior to Tuesday’s deadline day, with the eventual total in 2023 an increase of 90% on that – and almost triple the previous January window (£295m), according to financial services firm Deloitte.
The Premier League’s financial dominance in Europe increased to the highest proportion ever reported as the spending by English top-flight clubs accounted for 79% of the total across Europe’s ‘big five’ football leagues, where January spending fell by 35% from 2022 to ₤255m (£225m).
Indeed, Chelsea spent more in January – around £288m – than the combined total of all clubs in the Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1.
Among English Football League clubs, spending rose to £25m, up from £20m in t he previous winter window.
Tim Bridge, lead partner in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said: “The record spending by Premier League clubs this season is beyond anything that we’ve seen before.
“Premier League clubs have outspent those within the rest of Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues by almost four to one in this transfer window, allowing them to hold on to their key players, while attracting top-talent from overseas.
“However, while there is a clear need to invest in squad size and quality to retain a competitive edge, there will always be a fine balance to strike between prioritising success on pitch and maintaining financial sustainability.
“The decline in spending across the English football system is likely to be of growing concern for members of the EFL and could further fuel the debate around distributing finances more evenly across the pyramid.” —BBC