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European transfer spending at all-time high, says study group

Portuguese player Joao Felix with Atletico Madrid's directors during his unveiling.

This summer’s transfer spending across Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues has set a new record, according to the International Centre for Sports Studies (CIES).

Statistics compiled by the CIES Football Observatory indicate that top-flight clubs in England, Spain, France, Germany and Italy have spent a combined 5.34 billion euros (£4.89bn) on new signings this summer, slightly up from 2017’s record of 5.28bn euros (£4.86bn).

Premier League clubs spent £1.41bn before August 8’s deadline, according to Deloitte’s sport business group, just short of their own record from two summers ago of £1.43bn – while there is still a week until the Italian deadline and two weeks before the window closes elsewhere in Europe.

The leading Spanish clubs have been especially active, with reported £100million-plus fees shelled out for Barcelona new boy Antoine Griezmann and his Atletico Madrid replacement Joao Felix while the likes of Real Madrid signing Eden Hazard and Barca’s Frenkie De Jong also commanded huge fees.

There could still be more to follow, with Paris St Germain forward Neymar linked with a return to LaLiga with either Real or his former club Barca.

Juventus’ capture of Ajax defender Matthijs De Ligt and Inter Milan’s move for Manchester United forward Romelu Lukaku headline Serie A’s spending while Bayern Munich have led the way in the Bundesliga, signing defender Lucas Hernandez for a reported £72m from Atletico and paying a sizeable loan fee to take Philippe Coutinho from Barca.

The Football Observatory cites last summer’s spending in the five leagues as 4.78bn euros (£4.37bn), with the last three years far out in front of any previous figure.

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