A world record fee for a defender and a rash of late activity on deadline day saw English Premier League clubs spend 1.41 billion pounds ($1.59 billion) on new players in the summer transfer window. The total, confirmed by Deloitte's Sports Business Group, is the second-highest of all time, marginally short of the record of 1.43 billion pounds, which was set in 2017. "Premier League clubs' transfer spend continues to be driven by the desire for success on the pitch, ranging from competing at the top of the Premier League and qualification for the UEFA Champions League to simply survival in the top division," Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said in a statement.
Eleven of the 20 Premier League clubs broke their transfer records while 170 million pounds was spent on deadline day alone. Though European champions Liverpool largely kept their powder dry and Chelsea were restricted by a transfer-ban, most of the big clubs spent big. Arsenal topped the spending list at 155 million pounds, breaking their transfer record by paying Lille 72 million pounds for winger Nicolas Pepe. "Nicolas is a highly rated and talented winger who was wanted by many of the top teams in Europe," Arsenal manager Unai Emery said. "Signing a top-class winger has been one of our key objectives in this transfer window. He will add pace, power and creativity, with the aim of bringing more goals to our team."
Premier League champions Manchester City were second, at 150 million pounds, bringing in Rodri, Joao Cancelo, Angelino, as well as goalkeeper Scott Carson on loa
n. Manchester United were third, with 145 million pounds, a figure that included 80 million pounds paid to Leicester for Harry Maguire, a world record fee for a defender. That beat the 77 million pounds Juventus paid Ajax for Matthijs de Ligt this summer and the 75 million Liverpool previously paid Southampton for Virgil van Dijk. The big price tag brings its own pressure, as Van Dijk knows, but the Dutchman said Maguire should relish playing for such a big club. "Just focus on doing what you love to do... enjoy your game and don't think about the other things," he said. "It is not easy to completely shut off all the pressure. Quite a lot of things are more important than playing football and what we do, we are blessed. You need to enjoy it but the pressure will always be there."
Newly-promoted Aston Villa invested around 125 million pounds on 12 new players, while Everton, who paid just under 40 million pounds for Arsenal's Alex Iwobi on deadline day, spent 110 million pounds. Tottenham paid 105 million pounds,
including Tanguy Ndombele (53 million pounds) and Ryan Sessegnon (25 million pounds); while Everton, West Ham United, Leicester City and Wolves each spent more than 80 million pounds. Only three clubs, Chelsea, Liverpool and Crystal Palace, recorded net player transfer receipts (receiving more than they spent), Deloitte said. Each of the 20 Premier League clubs are guaranteed a share of the overall revenue from television rights. In the 2018-19 season, 19 of the 20 clubs earned more than 100 million pounds, with relegated Huddersfield the odd one out, though they received 96 million pounds.