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Recapping the European Summer Transfer Window

GarethBaleIntroductionRealMadrid1 (Getty)


With all the madness of transfer deadline day, it’s sometimes hard to remember everything that happened up to that point.

This summer’s transfer window has had plenty of highlights throughout, from Mario Götze’s announce move to Bayern Munich before last season even ended and Neymar’s €57 million transfer to Barcelona ahead of the Confederations Cup, to Gareth Bale’s world-record arrival at Real Madrid and Mesut Özil’s big move to Arsenal on the final two days of the window.

According to Deloitte, the English Premier League lead the way this summer with more than £630 million ($980 million) spent on transfer fees, a 29 percent increase from last summer and nearly twice as much as La Liga (£335m/$521), Serie A (£335m/$521), and Ligue 1 (£315m/$490).

On the final day of the transfer window, Premier League clubs spent a gross £120 million ($187 million), as teams finished their summer deals in the final seconds of the window.

Here’s a closer look at the major European transfers of the summer (all values approximate):


For the fans who love to argue that the England Premier League is the best league in the world, they can certainly argue one thing in their favor: England’s clubs spend more than anyone else.

However, those who don’t rate the EPL highly can point to this stat. Only £120 million ($187 million) was spent on foreign clubs buying EPL players, with the Gareth Bale transfer equaling the bulk of that total.

Despite the lack of spending until the final hours for Arsenal and Manchester United, the top four clubs spent upwards of £230 million ($358 million), a five percent increase from last season. Chelsea and Manchester City took care of their business early, and though it didn’t have the glamor of last season’s signings of Eden Hazard (Chelsea) and Robin Van Persie (Manchester United), the top four teams certainly opened their wallets for business when all was said and done.

Mesut Ozil’s reported $66 million move to Arsenal clearly takes the top spot in his shock move to the Emirates Stadium, while Brazilian duo Fernandinho and Willian, both teammates at Shakhtar Donetsk at this time last year, moved in separate deals to Man City and Chelsea for a reported £30 million ($47 million).

Here’s a closer look at the top five most expensive transfers into the English Premier League:

1. Mesut Ozil, Arsenal, $66 million
2. Willian, Chelsea, $47 million
3. Fernandinho, Manchester City, $47 million
4. Marouane Fellaini, Manchester United, $43 million
5. Erik Lamela, Tottenham, $40 million ($47 with add-ons)



La Liga’s two big powers each had multiple players on their transfer wishlist this summer, and while they failed to bring in some, the men at the top of their lists both made successful moves to Spain.

Gareth Bale’s reported world-record $134 million transfer to Real Madrid certainly took all of the headlines as the transfer window neared it’s end, but Barcelona dishing out nearly $75 million to Santos for Neymar ended the longest transfer saga to date, with people speculating on Neymar’s future for the last two years.

In addition to Bale, Real Madrid paid big money to sign two of the brightest young Spanish talents, Isco and Asier Illarramendi for more than $74 million combined.

Here’s a closer look at the top five most expensive transfers into La Liga:

1. Gareth Bale, Real Madrid, $134 million
2. Neymar, Barcelona, $75 million
3. Asier Illarramendi, Real Madrid, $42 million
4. Isco, Real Madrid, $35.5 million
5. Joshua Guilavogui, Atletico Madrid, $13 million



Arguably the most prudent league in terms of it’s finances, most Bundesliga clubs resisted any movement in the final week of the transfer window, instead preferring to conclude their business before the start of the season. According to Deloitte, the Bundesliga spent just £230 million ($358 million) on transfers, even though that was a 10 percent increase from last season.

However, that doesn’t mean they hadn’t spent plenty in domestic and international transfers. Bayern Munich, with new head coach Pep Guardiola, brought in Mario Götze and Thiago Alcantara over the summer, while Borussia Dortmund reinvested the money acquired from the Götze sale to acquire talented midfield player Henrik Mkhitaryan and forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

In the final few weeks, Wolfsburg spent big to sign Brazilian National Team midfielder Luiz Gustavo from Bayern, while Kevin-Prince Boateng returned to the Bundesliga in a stunning transfer to Schalke 04.

Here’s a closer look at the top five most expensive transfers into the Bundesliga:

1. Mario Götze, Bayern Munich, $49 million
2. Henrik Mkhitaryan, Borussia Dortmund, $36 million
3. Thiago Alcantara, Bayern Munich, $33 million
4. Luiz Gustavo, VfL Wolfsburg, $26 million
5. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Borussia Dortmund, $17 million



For potentially the first time ever, Italian powers Juventus, AC Milan, and Inter Milan have been outspent by Napoli, who finished last season in second place and hired Rafa Benitez, who is known to enjoy having a big squad at his disposal, to take charge this season.

Despite Edinson Cavani’s inevitable departure from the club, Napoli brought in three Real Madrid players, including a big deal for Gonzalo Higuain, one of nine transfers overall. Juventus figured out a way to bring in Argentine forward Carlos Tevez for nearly $12 million, a huge steal, while selling Alessandro Matri, a good but not top quality striker, for $14.5 million to AC Milan.

Fiorentina made big moves this summer, acquiring Mario Gomez from Bayern Munich to replace Stevan Jovetic, who moved to Manchester City in the EPL, while AS Roma made three eight-figure transfer’s, with Kevin Strootman’s arrival from PSV Eindhoven leading the way.

Here’s a closer look at the top five most expensive transfers into Serie A:

1. Gonzalo Higuain, Napoli, $49 million
2. Mario Gomez, Fiorentina, $26 million
3. Kevin Strootman, AS Roma, $22 million
4. Mehdi Benatia, AS Roma, $18 million
5. Angelo Ogbonna, Juventus, $17 million



For the second year running, Paris Saint-Germain have opened their checkbook, signing three players for a large fee, including the high-profile transfer of Edinson Cavani.

This year however, PSG weren’t alone, as AS Monaco spent upwards of $210 million in total on a number of transfers to the recently promoted club. Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez, and Joao Moutinho all joined early this summer in big-money moves, whilst the club signed French wonderkid Geoffrey Kondogbia to a deal in the final few days of the window.

On deadline day, Marseille wrapped up one of the brightest young wingers in Ligue Un, Florian Thauvin, signing him from Lille before he ever played a match for the club.

Here’s a closer look at the top five most expensive transfers into Ligue 1:

1. Edinson Cavani, PSG, $85 million
2. Radamel Falcao, AS Monaco, $79 million
3. James Rodriguez, AS Monaco, $59 million
4. Marquinhos, PSG, $41 million
5. Joao Moutinho, AS Monaco, $33 million



Even though much of the soccer world’s financial power rests in the five leagues above, there are a few exceptions.

Shaktar Donetsk of Ukraine is no stranger to spending big money and turning an even bigger profit, which they’ve done again this summer, signing Atletico Mineiro and Brazil National Team starlet Bernard for a reported $33 million and another Brazilian midfielder, Fred, while selling off Fernandinho to Manchester City and Henrik Mkhitaryan to Borussia Dortmund.

Meanwhile in Russia, the previously big-spending Anzhi Makhachkala have had a change of heart, selling off nearly all of their players in order to slash their budgets. Whether or not due to UEFA’s Financial Fair Play, ever since the start of August, Anzhi has been in sell mode, including the laughable $25 million signing of Aleksandr Kokorin from Dinamo Moscow on July 4, only to sell him straight back on August 6 before Kokorin had even played a game for the South Russian side.

In the Turkish SuperLig, Emmanuel Emenike’s move to Fenerbahce was the biggest signing of the summer, worth around $17 million.

Here’s a closer look at the top five most expensive transfers into other European leagues:

1. Bernard, Shakhtar Donetsk, $33 million
2. Aleksandr Kokorin, Dinamo Moscow, $25 million
3. Igor Denisov, Dinamo Moscow, $20 million
4. Fred, Shakhtar Donetsk, $20 million
5. Mbark Boussoufa, Lokomotiv Moscow, $20 million


  1. I know these prices have gotten crazy and it’s hard to separate what true value is, but some of these deals just seem hard to justify. I think way too much for Fellaini even though I think he’s a good player. And when I checked out Willian’s bio and stats, I didn’t see anything justifying what Chelsea paid. The big signings whom I think are worth the money are Falcao, Cavani, Ozil, Gomez, and Neymar. How much did Schalke pay for Boateng? I’m surprised Milan let him go and that was a good pick up for the Germans.

  2. Juventus also picked up Fernando Llorente, but I can’t remember what the price was for that one. Napoli also added goalkeeper Pepe Reina from Liverpool on a loan deal. Some good moves by the Italian clubs. Oh, and Kaka was a free to AC Milan.

    • In terms of spending, yes, but in terms of return on that spending, I would argue that the EPL is very ineffectively run.

      Team MP W D L F A D P
      1 Barcelona 3 3 0 0 11 2 +9 9
      2 Atlético Madrid 3 3 0 0 10 2 +8 9
      3 Villarreal 3 3 0 0 8 3 +5 9
      4 Real Madrid 3 3 0 0 6 2 +4 9
      5 Athletic Club 3 2 0 1 5 4 +1 6

      • Believe he was talking more in terms of competitiveness and if you look at La Liga over the last 20 years it is extremely difficult to argue it isn’t a 2 team league.

      • Pllease Travis. If Spain is a two teAm leagiue, the epl must be weaker then we think because teams from Spain not named real And barca are winning the Europa league.

      • Where exactly did I mention the Europa League? The EPL teams in it rarely take it seriously so it is hard to judge them off that, although an EPL team did win it last year. When was the last time a team other than Real or Barca won La Liga? A decade ago? Also with the way that TV revenue is set up the league is clearly catering to two teams.

      • What about the Champions league? Do EPL teams take it seriously? Last year, there were 3 Spanish teams in the quarterfinals of the Champions league and no EPL teams. However, I agree with you that TV revenue distribution that it is clearly catering to the top two teams.

      • Yet Man U has won the EPL 13 out of the last 20 seasons. Throw in Arsenal and Chelsea, and you have 19 of the last 20.

        So again I ask, with 600 millions moving from England to Spain this year, and Spain’s success in head-to-head competitions (I would take issue with the allegation that English teams do not take the Europa seriously), where do you see the best football?

        None of this, by the way, is to counter the uncompetitive way TV money is handled in Spain. If it were distributed equitably, you would start seeing more foreign investment in Spanish football, and more competitiveness at the very top.

      • Where do I see the best football? Bundesliga probably. I find La Liga to be some of the worst football to watch, I can not stand diving and berating of officials which are commonplace there.

        There have been 5 EPL champs in the last 20 years, believe there has been 3 La Liga ones.

        The biggest reason I see La Liga as a two team league is when I look at the table at the end of the year generally it is two teams and everyone else 20+ points behind and the GD is always a joke. Sharing TV money equally (which will never happen) would be a great starting point

      • actually there have been 5 different champs (Barca, Real, Atletico, Deportivo, & Valencia) in La Liga the last 20 yrs. same as PL

      • You can make a similar argument with respect to EPL. The combination of ManUtd/Chelsea won 8 out of last 10 titles.

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