European transfer deadline day sees Premier League spending power significantly reduced

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — The January transfer window closed on Thursday with the Premier League’s spending power considerably down on previous years.

Based on reported fees, top-flight clubs in England spent around $120.55 million on signings, not including loan deals. A year ago, Chelsea’s $357 million mid-season spree was part of a league record outlay of around $831 million.

Figures never looked like getting anywhere near those levels this year, with loan deals dominating the market.

According to auditor Deloitte, gross spending in Spain, Germany, Italy and France rose 80% year-on-year from 255 million euros ($277 million) to 455 million euros ($494 million). French league was biggest spender of the window with an outlay of around $210 million, based on reported fees.

But it was in England where the biggest shift occurred, with leading clubs like Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea all resisting the temptation to spend.

What is not clear is whether the caution shown during the past month represents the start of a new trend in light of the Premier League’s financial rules — or whether normal service will be resumed at the end of the season.

In France, Lyon spent around $54.5 million and Paris Saint-Germain $43.5 million. In Spain, Barcelona brought in 18-year-old Brazilian forward Vitor Roque for a reported $43.5 million.

By comparison Crystal Palace was the Premier League’s biggest spender after the deadline day signing of midfielder Adam Wharton from Blackburn for a reported $23 million took the London club’s total outlay to $31.6 million.


Everton was handed a 10-point deduction earlier this season for breaching the Premier League’s profit and sustainability rules.

The Merseyside club could face more sanctions after being referred last month to an independent commission for further breaches of the rules. Nottingham Forest was also referred.

The league’s profit and financial sustainability rules allow clubs to lose a maximum of 105 million pounds ($130 million) over a three-year period or face sanctions.

The level of the punishment handed to Everton has likely served as a warning to English clubs about spending beyond the limits.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag pointed to spending limitations when asked about signing a striker in January.

“I looked. But there is no space. No space in FFP (Financial Fair Play),” he said last week.


With the chance to qualify for next season Champions League, Tottenham signed Leipzig forward Timo Werner on loan and defender Radu Dragusin from Genoa for a reported $32 million.

Aston Villa is also aiming for the Champions League and maybe more. It secured a deal for Middlesbrough forward Morgan Rogers on deadline day.

And despite the fear of a points deduction, Forest still strengthened with loan deals for United States midfielder Gio Reyna and Sporting striker Rodrigo Ribeiro and the signing of goalkeeper Matz Sels from Strasbourg for a reported $6.4 million.

Kalvin Phillips was one of the biggest names to move within the league from Manchester City to West Ham on loan.

Armando Broja completed a late move on loan from Chelsea to Fulham.


Barcelona, struggling both financially and on the field, did not make any moves in January other than the deal for Roque. The Catalan club is now focused on finding its next coach after Xavi Hernández said he would not continue after this summer.

Real Madrid was satisfied with what it has after hitting the jackpot with Jude Bellingham in the preseason, while Atletico Madrid was the biggest mover last month as it picked up 18-year-old Belgium midfielder Arthur Vermeeren from Antwerp, added veteran defender Gabriel Paulista as a free agent from Valencia, and signed Romania goalkeeper Horațiu Moldovan as a backup to Jan Oblak.


Jadon Sancho’s return from Manchester United to Borussia Dortmund on loan was standout deal of the window. Sancho set up a goal in his first game, won a penalty in the second and Dortmund has won all three of its Bundesliga games since his return to move back in the Champions League qualifying places.

At Bayern Munich the focus has been on adding depth to a small squad depleted by injuries. Eric Dier signed on loan from Tottenham and right back Sacha Boey joined from Galatasaray in a deal potentially worth over 35 million euros ($38 million). Spanish forward Bryan Zaragoza was brought in sooner than expected, joining on deadline day, rather than after the season.

League leader Bayer Leverkusen opted for Real Betis striker Borja Iglesias as emergency cover for the injured Victor Boniface.


Desperate to turn around a disappointing season that has already involved a coaching change, Napoli was the most active of Italy’s big clubs. Mired in ninth place, last season’s champion signed Cyril Ngonge, Hamed Traore, Pasquale Mazzocchi and Leander Dendoncker. Napoli’s biggest order of business might still be to come, amid reports that Victor Osimhen has decided to leave the club at the end of the season.


While Paris Saint-Germain ensured it would at least keep Kylian Mbappé until the end of the season, the superstar striker can leave for nothing in June unless he signs a new deal.

PSG signed Brazilians Lucas Beraldo and Gabriel Moscardo, with the latter loaned straight back to his original club Corinthians.

Lyon made a host of signings including Malick Fofana, Gift Orban, Nemanja Matic and Orel Mangala on loan from Forest.


Joe Wilson contributed from Barcelona, Tales Azzoni from Madrid, Andrew Dampf from Rome, Jerome Pugmire from Paris and James Ellingworth from Germany.


AP soccer:

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