FC Barcelona's Antoine Griezman runs with the ball during the Joan Gamper trophy soccer match between FC Barcelona and Arsenal at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, Aug. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)
INTERNATIONAL - Spending by teams in Europe’s Big Five leagues totalled a record 5.5 billion euros during the close season transfer window, financial analyst Deloitte’s Sports Business Group said on Tuesday.

The outlay was 0.9 billion euros (£817 million) more than the previous record set in 2018, with England’s Premier League clubs spending 1.55 billion euros with a net spend of 635 million euros.

Spain’s La Liga clubs spent 1.37 billion euros — exceeding 1 billion euros for the first time — while Italy’s Serie A (1.17 billion euros) Germany’s Bundesliga (740 million euros) the French Ligue 1 (670 million euros) all set new records.

“Spending across clubs in Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues has reached record levels in this summer’s transfer window,” said Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte.

“This unprecedented level of spend has been driven by a number of factors, including additional income from new league broadcast cycles, participation in, and subsequent distributions from, UEFA club competitions.”

Jones said club-specific factors such as management changes and improving playing squads to achieve on-pitch objectives were also contributing factors.

“The improved financial performance of European football clubs has also reduced the need for clubs to sell their best players,” he added.

Spain’s Atletico Madrid signed 19-year-old striker Joao Felix from Benfica for 126 million euros while Barcelona landed France international forward Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid for 120 million euros.

Real Madrid ended their long pursuit of Eden Hazard by signing the Belgium winger from Chelsea for a reported fee of 100 million euros.

Net spend in the Premier League fell by 50 million pounds since the league’s deadline day on Aug. 8.

“Looking to the Premier League, this summer’s transfer expenditure fell narrowly short of record levels, and net spend was at its lowest level since summer 2015,” Jones said.

“While this level of net spend as a proportion of revenue of 11% is the lowest since summer 2011, we still expect wages to increase at a greater rate than revenue in the next couple of seasons.”

REUTERS

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