Nine clubs in Europe have spent more than £50m on players already this summer. Unsurprisingly, more than half are in the Premier League…
Milan – £155m
For those of us of a certain age, Milan being competitive in Serie A is a sign that all is well with the world. Having stumbled and stuttered almost immediately after winning the Scudetto in 2011, Milan are now threatening to become a powerhouse again after Silvio Berlusconi sold up to Chinese investors. If Milan were causing murmurs in Serie A in June, the signing of Leonardo Bonucci from Juventus last week has transformed them from Champions League qualification hopefuls to title challengers. The pressure is on Vincenzo Montella to acclimatise his new signings and have Milan hitting the ground running in August.
The signings (permanent only): Leonardo Bonucci, Hakan Calhanoglu, Andre Silva, Andrea Conti, Mateo Musacchio, Ricardo Rodriguez, Lucas Biglia, Antonio Donnarumma.
Manchester City – £137m
While Milan have spent £155m on eight signings, Pep Guardiola has shelled out £137m on three. Kyle Walker made people get angry but at least partly solves the issue of a chronic lack of full-backs, while Ederson will hopefully make everyone forget about Claudio Bravo within 18 months. Bernardo Silva seems more of a luxury given City’s multitude of options in the final third, but could be the heir to David Silva’s throne. We can reasonably expect City’s spending to continue with left-back Benjamin Mendy.
The signings: Kyle Walker, Bernardo Silva, Ederson.
Manchester United – £105m
“We don’t have our door closed. We are not happy with just Lukaku and Lindelof. We need more,” said Jose Mourinho at the weekend. “We wanted four, so I could say 50 percent of the job is done, but I won’t say that because it’s so difficult.” Classic Jose, literally saying he won’t say something three seconds after saying it. “So I don’t want to say Matic or any other name because I don’t think it’s correct to do it,” Mourinho continued. Classic Jose, literally saying he won’t say something three seconds after saying it. Again. United have spent £105m on two players, but do not be surprised to see their summer spending go beyond £170m.
The signings: Romelu Lukaku, Victor Lindelof
Everton – £91m
Huddersfield Town may have been the Premier League’s busiest boys and the two Manchester clubs spent more money, but Everton is where the buzz is at. Ronald Koeman is in the wonderful position of having tens of millions of pounds to spend and yet not subject to the inevitable transfer sagas that befalls the Premier League’s elite clubs. The chase for Gylfi Sigurdsson might change that, but until now Koeman has been able to adequately compensate for the departure of Lukaku.
The signings: Davy Klaassen, Jordan Pickford, Michael Keane, Wayne Rooney, Sandro Ramirez, Henry Onyekuru.
Real Madrid – £78m
A little controversy here, given that Real Madrid’s signing of Vinicius Jr doesn’t officially go through until July 2019, but a) he counts and b) I make the damn rules round here. Having won La Liga and retained the Champions League, Zinedine Zidane clearly only needed tweaks to his squad but why not raid your city rivals. You wouldn’t bet against them winning three on the spin.
The signings: Vinicius Junior, Theo Hernandez, Dani Ceballos.
Bayern Munich – £76m
Possibly the most exciting summer business outside of Milan, Bayern have focused on youth in an attempt to freshen up a squad that went a little stale last season. James Rodriguez’s loan deal doesn’t count for these purposes, but the ages of the four who have arrived for fees are 22, 21, 21 and 21. It will be fun to watch their progress.
The signings: Corentin Tolisso, Kingsley Coman, Niklas Sule, Serge Gnabry, Sebastian Rudy.
Chelsea – £69m
You can see why Antonio Conte is a little peeved at Chelsea’s lack of signings this summer, but it says a lot about the Premier League that even their sluggish start makes them the seventh highest spending club in Europe. Antonio Rudiger and Tiemoue Bakayoko have made the youth teamers cry by being bought for a touch under £70m, and you can surely expect that to be doubled when a striker finally comes in.
The signings: Antonio Rudiger, Tiemoue Bakayoko.
Roma – £66m
If English clubs’ business is largely focused on key signings at high prices, Milan and Roma are attempting to blend quality with quantity. They see Milan’s eight permanent signings since the beginning of June and laugh squarely in those Milanese faces. “Eight? Only eight? Oh dear. All the good clubs have nine by now.” Milan point at the spaces where Mohamed Salah, Rudiger and Leandro Paredes used to be and laugh back. They have won the war.
The signings: Rick Karsdop, Cengiz Under, Bruno Paredes, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Juan Jesus, Mario Rui, Hector Moreno, Maxime Gonalons, Federico Fazio.
Arsenal – £52.7m
Arsenal creep into the final qualification place with a sole purchase, that of Alexandre Lacazette. It wouldn’t be that surprising if that were the end of the summer business, although the possible departure of Alexis Sanchez might force Arsene Wenger into late action. And I still can’t work out whether that would make them weaker or stronger than last season.
The signings: Alexandre Lacazette, Sead Kolasineac