The new-look summer transfer window in the Premier League could lead to increased spending in January, according to a leading industry analyst.
The window closed on Thursday night, the eve of the new top-flight season. There was a late flurry of activity led by Everton and Fulham, but overall spending was reduced.
The 20 top-flight clubs – or 19 of them, with Tottenham inactive all summer – combined to spend £110million on deadline day and £1.23billion over the window as a whole, compared to £210m and £1.43bn 12 months ago.
Tim Bridge of Deloitte’s sport business group is awaiting the knock-on effect of the earlier closing of the window.
Bridge told Press Association Sport: “The fact that clubs are not able to make purchases on the back of three or four results feels to be a healthy move, in terms of the financial stability of the league.
“The key question for me is if you take a team that last year lost its first three games and then purchased heavily on the last day of the window – does that mean that that spending is going to flick across to January?
“Does that mean therefore that January is going to be a much more active market? (But) the market in January is much more challenging, does that mean that the transfer values are going to stay at a relatively lower level?
“Nothing would surprise you in the way Premier League clubs work – if they were to go out and spend a lot in January, you wouldn’t be surprised.”
For the first time since the summer of 2010 Premier League transfer spending has fallen, Deloitte report reveals. Still at a massive £1.23bn pic.twitter.com/PZsgVY3Mob— James Benge (@jamesbenge) August 9, 2018
Last season’s January window saw Premier League clubs spend £430m – almost double the previous January record of £225m in 2011 when strikers Fernando Torres and Andy Carroll joined Chelsea and Liverpool respectively.
“The 17-18 season, the spending in January was massive in comparison to other years,” said Bridge.
“We’d had anomalous years in the past, with the Andy Carroll transfer and that sort of thing, but January has traditionally been a difficult month to make a lot of headway in the transfer market.”
Despite the slight reduction in this summer’s gross figure, Premier League clubs’ net spend stands at a record £865m – but that figure could be reduced with the window still open throughout the rest of Europe.
It remains to be seen whether other leagues will follow suit in future years by closing the window before the season begins. The window in Italy closes on August 17, the day before the Serie A campaign begins.
Bridge added: “Clubs around Europe may feel this gives them an advantage in the transfer market so they may have a desire to leave their transfer window where it is.
“It gives them time to compete in the market without the Premier League.
“Have the European clubs been holding back, almost, and waiting for the Premier League window to close? It’s quite intriguing really.”
The 25-year-old, a target for Manchester United, starred as England reached the semi-finals in Russia, where Puel believes his player announced himself as “one of the best” centre-halves in the world.
Puel was not exactly watching through his fingers but when asked if he expected other clubs to want to sign Maguire on the back of his displays this summer, the Frenchman admitted he was not surprised.
“Yes, of course I did. It’s a difficulty but my first feeling was that it is amazing for this player to show their quality and it’s good publicity for Leicester,” said Puel, who feels Maguire now has the confidence that he belongs on the world stage.
“When he came back after the World Cup he could maybe feel almost cocky. He could have been, but he’s not. He came back with humility and with desire and will.
“He is one of the best, there are a lot of good players from this World Cup, but he showed a good attitude like the man he is.”
Maguire is thought to have been Manchester United’s number one transfer target as they looked to sign a central defender ahead of Thursday’s transfer deadline.
Talks between the two clubs reportedly took place but the move did not materialise and Maguire is likely to play against United at Old Trafford when the new Premier League season begins on Friday night.
Puel outlined some of the qualities he thought made Maguire of interest to United.
He said: “I was happy with the progress of Harry in the second half of last season. He played with consistency and good progress, was strong in his defensive aspect and with quality to start with the ball.
“I like a player with a possibility to start from the back and Harry is this player. He showed this in the national team.
“He’s a fantastic player and a fantastic man because he listens a lot, he wants to improve, he has a good personality and character but always with good respect for the staff and his team-mates.”
The England striker is now committed to the Foxes until 2022, when he will be 35 years old.
Vardy, a star of the memorable 2016 title triumph, has scored 88 goals in 233 games for the club since his arrival from then non-League Fleetwood in 2012.
He told the club’s website, www.lcfc.com: “Everybody knows how I feel about playing for this football club and it’s a great feeling to know that I can look forward to another four years as a Leicester City player.
“The journey that me, the team and the club have been on in the past few years has been incredible. Going into the new season, it’s an exciting time for
Vardy signed his previous deal in 2016 amid reported interest from Arsenal. The club will hope the new contract wards off any potential further enquiries over his services.
Vardy’s exploits during the 2015-16 campaign catapulted him to the forefront of the national game. He scored 24 times as the Foxes won the title, including a record-breaking sequence of goals in 11 successive games.