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How Leicester's title victory led to pounds 1 billion buying binge

Published: 01st September 2016 08:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st September 2016 08:07 AM   |  A+A-

LONDON: And so ends the first pounds 1 billion transfer window, the biggest - and, some might say, craziest - summer spending spree in Premier League history.

Whether it was almost three-quarters of clubs smashing their transfer records [if Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur or Stoke City break theirs, it will be 15 of 20], English sides spending nearly as much as their Spanish, Italian and German counterparts combined, or simply Chelsea re-signing David Luiz, money madness took hold like never before.

Such a splurge appeared likely the moment the Premier League secured a 70 per cent increase in domestic television deal and inevitable once overseas contracts took broadcast income over the next three years to pounds 8.4?billion.

But there were other factors which fuelled the pounds 1?billion buying binge, according to Britain's most respected football finance expert, Dan Jones, of Deloitte's Sports Business Group.

They include an unprecedented turnover of managers at the biggest clubs and the uncertainty sparked by Leicester City's shock title triumph that has made the battle for the top four - and Champions League football - between Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham more intense than ever.

"It's a bit of a perfect storm," Jones told The Daily Telegraph, predicting a period of stabilisation in spending, which has more than doubled in the last five years.

"You've got all those factors all coming at once, so I don't foresee that next year's window is going

to be bigger than this year's. Now, what happens in terms of what the next TV deal is and what that brings, we'll have to wait and see."

The likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona will be hoping not much, the giants of European football already in danger of being totally eclipsed financially by their Premier League rivals.

United's capture of Paul Pogba suggests the days of the best players in the world choosing England over Spain may be returning. "If you're looking at

the top five players and where are they, that might be a bit more balanced or skewed towards a couple of clubs in Spain," Jones said. "But if you're looking at the top 100, then it's clearly very heavily skewed towards England."

So much so that the big Spanish and Italian clubs resurrected talk of a breakaway European super league this year amid fears they now had less financial muscle than even the likes of Bournemouth.

"I still don't think that a European super league will happen because I think you narrow the opportunities to win," Jones said.

"If you're Bayern Munich, you're about winning; if you're Juventus, you're about winning. As soon as you have a European super league, you narrow the field of potential winners to one."

But where will it all end? "There's plentiful room left for growth. A lot of people have previously called the top of the domestic market and it's kept growing, so I don't think you can necessarily say it's absolutely reached its peak."

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