Cyprus Mail

Records tumble on final day of transfer window

The headline-grabbing deal of the day saw Chelsea take their former Brazilian defender David Luiz back to Stamford Bridge from Paris Saint-Germain

Records continued to fall as the deadline for European football transfers (2200GMT) drew closer on Wednesday and new managers at some of the biggest clubs refined their squads.

Fees paid by Premier League clubs passed one billion pounds for the first time according to financial analysts Deloitte and reports in Germany said Bundesliga clubs had spent more than 500 million euros, another new record.

Sunderland became the 13th Premier League club to set a new spending high for a single player, by splashing 16 million euros on the Gabon international midfielder Didier Ndong from French side Lorient.

Promoted Burnley broke their record for the second time in this window when they signed the Ireland international Jeff Hendrick from Derby County for a reported fee of 10.5 million pounds.

Manchester City were among those clubs trimming their squad under a new manager, Pep Guardiola allowing four players to leave on season-long loans.

England goalkeeper Joe Hart moved to Torino, French midfielder Samir Nasri joined Sevilla, Ivorian striker Wilfried Bony has moved to Swansea City and French defender Eliaquim Mangala to Valencia.

Another England international, Jack Wilshere, was hoping to tie up his future with a loan move to Bournemouth, after Crystal Palace also confirmed their interest in him.

Arsenal also released midfielder Serge Gnabry on a permanent transfer to Bundesliga club Werder Bremen.

British media reported that Chelsea were on the verge of paying the highest fee of the day – around 34 million pounds – to take Brazilian defender David Luiz back to Stamford Bridge from Paris Saint-Germain.

He left two years ago for 50 million after winning the Champions League and Europa League titles there.

Chelsea’s new manager Antonio Conte also signed full back Marcos Alonso from Fiorentina.

Algerian striker Islam Slimani, of Sporting Lisbon, and Newcastle United’s French midfielder Moussa Sissoko were both given permission to leave their national squads to finalise transfers, with Leicester City and Everton their reported destinations.

French side Nice meanwhile have signed striker Mario Balotelli from Liverpool, the clubs said on Wednesday, with British media saying the Italy international has moved on a free transfer.

The 26-year-old joined Liverpool from AC Milan in 2014 but never fulfilled his potential at Anfield.

He scored one goal in 16 Premier League appearances in his first campaign at the Merseyside club and was sent back to Milan on loan last season where he found the net once in 20 appearances during an injury-hit campaign.

Balotelli, one of modern football’s mavericks, won the Champions League and three Serie A titles with Inter Milan and lifted the Premier League and the FA Cup during a 2-1/2 year spell with Manchester City

“Following a record breaking transfer window it is clear that the transfer spending spree has been fuelled by the massive amount of additional funding that the clubs stand to get from the new television rights contract,” said Philip Shepherd, a partner at auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“The issue for clubs now is not to respond to the additional funding by spending it all on new players and wages.

“Driving up player price inflation also forces up operating costs to the potential detriment of the long-term sustainability of clubs, supporters and the development of new young players.

“The big difference is that now nearly all the English Premier League clubs can be competitive in the European market for players as no other country has such a lucrative contract spread across the league.”

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