Premier League clubs in England have spent more than £1 billion in a single transfer window for the first time, driven by soaring television money and increasing competition for the big prizes.
The 20 clubs have been offered the chance to pay big money for even mid-ranking players after agreeing a £5bn three-year television deal which gives each club between £30 million and £50m.
Competition for broadcasting rights, particularly from BT Sports, has helped drive up the price.
According to Deloitte, total gross spending hit £1.005bn at 8.30am today. At the same stage last year, it was 23% less at £870m.
There were £155m of deals yesterday alone, taking the total to £1.165bn.
Dan Jones, head of the sports business unit at Deloitte, said the lure of the European Champions League was playing a major part.
There is an intention by the so-called big four – Manchester United and City, Arsenal and Chelsea – to wrest back the top Champions League places after a year which saw Leicester City break their domination to be crowned Premier League winners. Tottenham have also emerged as title contenders and came a close second.
This has intensified the competition, along with new managers wanting to make an immediate impact at the Manchester clubs and at Chelsea.
This year’s transfer market is also likely to have been spurred by the Euro 2016 tournament which put a number of previously unknown talents in the shop window.
Aside from these internal pressures, clubs are receiving investment from owners, including new foreign owners who want a quick return on their money. Chinese backers are following Russian billionaires who acquired the top clubs in the early years of the Premier League.
The biggest transfer deal of the summer was French international Paul Pogba’s return to Manchester United from Juventus for a world record £89m.