As the clocks struck midnight across Europe on Monday night, the hectic activity of the summer transfer window was brought to a crashing halt. But a flurry of late activity helped to break all sorts of records in expenditure on the market as football once again showed its unbelievable spending power.
Not for the first time it was Real Madrid who outspent the rest, and once more it was a world-record signing which helped to tip the balance. Gareth Bale’s €100 million transfer became the latest in a string of Blancosdeals to outdo all previous records.
Following Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Zinedine Zidane and Luis Figo, the Welshman is now the fifth successive player to become the subject of the highest transfer fee in making the move to the Santiago Bernabeu, and his purchase was part of a €181.5m campaign for Madrid which also saw Isco arrive from Malaga and Asier Illarramendi brought in from Real Sociedad.
Unsurprisingly, it was Monaco who ran Madrid the closest. The principality club, owned by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, splashed the cash in a previously unprecedented level at the beginning of the summer following promotion from Ligue 2, adding Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho to their ranks ahead of a tilt at the French title.
Tottenham made great use of the cash recouped on Bale’s switch to Spain by spending €121.9m themselves to recruit the likes of Roberto Soldado, Christian Eriksen, Paulinho, Erik Lamela and Etienne Capoue. Andre Villas-Boas' men and Shakhtar Donetsk were the only two clubs in the top 10 biggest spenders to make a profit from this summer's transfers.
Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, meanwhile, were the other two of the five sides to spend in excess of €100m in the market, with the French champions making the second most expensive move of the summer to acquire Edinson Cavani from Napoli for €64m.
While Madrid made plenty back on the market thanks to the sales of Mesut Ozil, Gonzalo Higuain, Jose Callejon and others, Anzhi Makhachkala made more than any other club during the window on player sales. After Suleiman Kerimov decided to cut back the Dagestan outfit’s budget, Anzhi went on a selling spree which saw the exits of Willian and Samuel Eto’o to Chelsea, Lassana Diarra and Mbark Boussoufa to Lokomotiv Moscow and six players to Dinamo Moscow, including Igor Denisov, Yuri Zhirkov and Aleksandr Kokorin.
In total, Premier League clubs paid out biggest of all, with around €750m going towards transfers over the course of the summer, while Serie A and La Liga spent over €400m.
Football’s spending frenzy continues apace.