LONDON Feb 1 – Premier League clubs have made a transfer window profit for the first time, despite near-record spending in January, thanks largely to two big-money moves to China and France playmaker Dimitri Payet’s return home.
Analysis by consultants Deloitte showed the clubs in English soccer’s top flight splashed out an estimated 215 million pounds ($271.09 million) in the transfer window that closed on Tuesday but brought in 40 million pounds more than they paid out.
That took the clubs’ total spending for 2016/17 to almost 1.4 billion pounds, breaking last season’s record of a combined one billion for the summer and January windows and confirming the Premier League as Europe’s biggest spenders.
French Ligue 1 clubs spent a total of about 130 million pounds in January, ahead of the Bundesliga on 85 million and Italy’s Serie A on 80 million.
Spanish La Liga clubs spent about 20 million pounds, although Real Madrid were banned from signing players.
Deloitte said four players accounted for much of the Premier League’s net receipts.
Chelsea sold Brazil midfielder Oscar to Shanghai SIPG for a reported 60 million euros ($64.74 million) while Watford’s Nigeria striker Odion Ighalo signed for Changchun Yatai for a reported 20 million pounds on Tuesday.
West Ham United also made a tidy profit on selling France forward Payet to Olympique de Marseille for 25 million pounds after signing him from the same club in 2015 for a reported 10.7 million.
Manchester United, meanwhile, sold Netherlands winger Memphis Depay to French side Olympique Lyonnais for 16 million euros.
Premier League clubs’ total spending in the January window was the second highest after January 2011’s 225 million.
“As was the case last year, it is clubs in the bottom half of the table who have driven expenditure this January, investing in their squads in an attempt to secure survival,” said Deloitte partner Dan Jones.
“This is no surprise given clubs’ reliance on the revenues generated from the Premier League’s broadcast deals.”
The bottom six teams accounted for half of the total spent while none of the top six saw a need to dip into their pockets beyond Arsenal handing over 40,000 pounds for left-back Cohen Bramall from non-league Hednesford Town.
Crystal Palace, in the drop zone under ex-England manager Sam Allardyce, had a late flurry on Tuesday with Mamadou Sakho arriving on loan from Liverpool and Serbia midfielder Luka Milivojevic joining from Olympiakos Piraeus for an undisclosed fee.
Bottom side Hull City signed three players on deadline day, including Italian defender Andrea Ranocchia and Poland winger Kamil Grosicki.
English Championship (second-tier) clubs spent a total of 80 million pounds, up more than 125 percent on last year and a January record for the division.
($1 = 0.7931 pounds)
(1 = 0.9268 euros) (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, Editing by Ken Ferris)