The summer is long in the rearview mirror and the winter has come and gone, but no matter the season, the world’s top clubs find a way to burn through their untold riches.
Indeed the biggest spenders shopped at the finest footballing boutiques over the last two windows as the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Neymar, Romelu Lukaku and Virgil van Dijk all broke records one way or another.
But which 10 teams spent the most dosh out of them all? And which of those big spenders wish they had kept their receipts? Find out below …
10. AS Monaco – €123m
Big acquisitions: Keita Balde (€30m, Lazio), Youri Tielemans (€25m, Anderlecht), Adama Diakhaby (€10m, Stade Rennais)
They’re on this list and still made a €76m profit given Benjamin Mendy, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Bernardo Silva’s departures – and that’s not even including Kylian Mbappe’s move to Paris Saint-Germain, as he is technically on loan until the end of the season.
Monaco did not buy a player over the age of 27 and cherry-picked some of the best talents in Europe such as Balde, Tielmans, Diakhaby and now 16-year-old Pietro Pellegri from Genoa. But time will tell whether they can develop and match the vintage side of 2016/17.
9. Juventus – €153.4m
Big acquisitions: Federico Bernardeschi (€40m, Fiorentina), Juan Cuadrado (€20m, Chelsea), Blaise Matuidi (€20m, PSG)
Juventus needed to strengthen the spine of their team – and managed to do so without gambling on a mega money signing.
Bernardeschi has not been a consistent starter but, at just 23, has the talent to replace Paulo Dybala should he leave in the summer. Matuidi, unfortunately now injured, was also a canny pick up.
However, with the arms race reaching light-speed across Europe, are they missing out on too many big names?
8. Man United – €164.4m
Big acquisitions: Romelu Lukaku, (€84.7m, Everton), Nemanja Matic (€44.7m, Chelsea), Victor Lindelof (Benfica, €35m).
Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic have been good – up to a point. But when you spend nearly €130m on just two players, good just doesn’t quite cut it.
It’s why Alexis Sanchez was recruited to give United the attacking spark they need. As for Victor Lindelof? The jury is still out, but they won’t need much longer to deliberate the way his Old Trafford career has panned out thus far.
7. Liverpool – €167.8m
Big acquisitions: Virgil van Dijk (€78.8m, Southampton), Mohamed Salah (€42m, Roma), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (€38m).
Liverpool deserve an A+ just for bringing in Salah, right? In reality they could have brought in Lionel Messi on a free and still be lacking as a trophy-winning team.
Van Dijk alone will not fix their atrocious defence on the evidence of his first few weeks in a Liverpool shirt. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a fine buy, and Naby Keita is to come in the summer, but it is simply negligence not to have found a new goalkeeper – and to keep starting Dejan Lovren at centre-back.
6. AC Milan – €195.4m
Big acquisitions: Leonardo Bonucci (€42m, Juventus), Andre Silva (€38m, Porto), Andrea Conti (€25m, Atalanta)
AC Milan certainly made a splash in the transfer market. Only they ended up drenched and miserable.
Bonucci, given the fanfare he arrived at the San Siro with, has been nothing short of a disaster and Silva has yet to even score a goal in Serie A.
Clearly there are internal problems at the club that are preventing the players from showcasing the best of their abilities, but the Rossoneri have been left red in the face.
5. Everton – €202.7m
Big acquisitions: Gylfi Sigurdsson (€49.4m, Swansea), Michael Keane (€28.5m, Everton), Jordan Pickford (€28.5m, Sunderland)
From one sorry situation to another – Farhad Moshiri’s investments have taken a Bitcoin-esque nosedive.
They tried to loan out midfielder Davy Klaassen in January after shelling out nearly €30m for him in the summer, while Michael Keane and Gylfi Sigurdsson have been more miss than hit. January arrival Cenk Tosun has started life at Goodison much the same way.
The saving grace is Jordan Pickford, who is an England No1 in the making. Theo Walcott has started brightly, and at least Wayne Rooney has weighed in with 11 goals.
4. PSG – €238m
Big acquisitions: Neymar (€222m, Barcelona), Yuri Berchiche (€16m, Real Sociedad).
The figure will not include Mbappe until the deal converts from a loan – otherwise PSG would be leading this list by a gargantuan margin.
Swiping Neymar from under the noses of Barcelona, annoying La Liga to such an extent that they threatened La Liga action, must have been a giggle.
But the world will be laughing at the Brazilian and his owners if all that effort brings only yet another Ligue 1 title and no Champions League final.
3. Chelsea – €257.8m
Big acquisitions: Alvaro Morata (€66m, Real Madrid), Tiemoue Bakayoko (€40m, Monaco), Danny Drinkwater (€37.9m)
When your own manager doesn’t think your summer signings are up too much, and then pines for Peter Crouch and Andy Carroll in January, it should set alarms blaring.
Chelsea have not only failed to keep up the Premier League pace but have signed several wastes of space in Bakayoko and Antonio Rudiger. They have not improved one facet of their team. Even swapping Morata for Diego Costa looks like a downgrade.
Apart from fleecing Everton for Ross Barkley – he’ll have to go some way to depreciate that €17m fee – it’s hard to get excited for the future.
2. Man City – €315.8m
Big acquisitions: Aymeric Laporte (€65m, Athletic Bilbao), Benjamin Mendy (€57.5m, Monaco), Kyle Walker (€51m, Tottenham)
As this list has proved, you can blow a lot of money on very little. City have spent a lot … on a lot. Walker and Ederson have helped sweep in fundamental changes in line with Pep Guardiola’s philosophy at the back, as as well as Benjamin Mendy before his unfortunate injury.
The only question mark is Bernardo Silva, who has not had the run of games required to fully immerse himself at the Etihad Stadium. It’s hard to complain when they are aeons ahead of the rest in the Premier League.
1. Barcelona – €324.3m
Big acquisitions: Philippe Coutinho (€120m, Liverpool), Ousmane Dembele (€105m), Paulinho (€40m)
Barcelona’s success in La Liga this season has been down to Ernesto Valverde’s structure rather than any of their new signings. Nevertheless, they’ve not just dipped their toes into the transfer market but dived right in.
With Coutinho still adapting after injury slowed his start and Dembele’s horrible hamstring predicament, it’s hard to judge too harshly. Paulinho has been a mild surprise while Nelson Semedo has been a mild disappointment. Nothing to see here – for now.
West Ham have signed former Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra on a short-term contract.
The 36-year-old Frenchman arrives as a free agent, having been without a club since he left Marseille in November after kicking one of the club’s fans before a Europa League match.
The incident saw Evra banned from UEFA competition for the rest of the season, but he will be able to play domestically for West Ham.
Hammers boss David Moyes, who managed Evra at Manchester United, needed to bolster a squad decimated by injuries to a host of key players.
Most of those injuries are in midfield and attack, although left wing-back Arthur Masuaku is still suspended for the next four matches for spitting in the recent FA Cup defeat at Wigan.
Evra told the club website: “I’m really happy to be a Hammer, to be back in the Premier League and I love this game.
“It’s amazing to be back and I am thankful to West Ham for giving me the opportunity to do my job.
“When I wake up and know I am going to work hard, to have fun with my team-mates and give my best on the pitch, I want to say a massive thanks to West Ham, to the chairman, to the manager to all my team-mates, who have given me a nice welcome, my agent and my brother.
“I’m just happy to be here, it’s really simple. You don’t realise how lucky you are and just to wake up this morning and know I am going to train with my new team-mates made me smile!”
Evra, who won the Premier League five times with United and the Serie A title twice with Juventus, could make his Hammers debut against Watford on Saturday.
The January transfer window may be shut but there’s still plenty of news from the rumour mill with several moves being put off until the summer. Here, we round-up the transfer tales that have got everyone talking.
Chelsea are reportedly keeping tabs on Real Madrid star Marco Asensio. The 22-year-old is playing second fiddle to Cristiano Ronaldo this campaign and has only started seven La Liga matches. The Spanish international has already turned down a move to PSG and has attracted interest from Inter Milan as well as Arsenal. With game time mattering most for the star attacker, Antonio Conte may succeed in bringing him to West London.
DAVID DE GEA
Manchester United will reportedly demand £115million from Real Madrid for de Gea, whose current contract runs out at the end of the season. Los Blancos have been on the lookout for a goalkeeper since last summer and were heavily linked with rising Athletic Bilbao star Kepa Arrizabalaga during the January transfer window. The 27-year-old, on the other hand, is eager to return home to Madrid where he previously plied his trade with Atletico in from 2009-2011.
STEFAN DE VRIJ
Manchester United have reportedly joined Liverpool in the race to sign de Vrij next summer. The Lazio defender is out of contract at the end of the season and has yet to agree fresh terms at the Stadio Olimpico. The Dutchman endured an injury-hit 2016-17 campaign with the Serie A club but is still very much on Jose Mourinho’s radar and a bid of around €15m could be accepted. The totemic centre-back would offer more consistency than the incumbent pair of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling.
Man City will have to shell out £8.5m in compensation to get rid of Kompany this summer. The Belgium international has no intention of leaving the Etihad Stadium with his current contract expiring in 2019. Pep Guardiola has serious concerns over the 31-year-old’s health and has a big decision to make whether to keep the centre-back. The City boss has Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones in central defence and has just broken the club transfer record to land Aymeric Laporte from Bilbao.
Liverpool will have to pay £45million to sign Roma goalkeeper Alisson. The Brazilian is currently keeping Manchester City’s Ederson out of a place in the national team and has been heavily linked to the Reds this summer. The 25-year-old has impressed at Stadio Olimpico over the last 18 months and would be a welcome addition to the Reds. With Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet rotating between the sticks, Jurgen Klopp needs to find a new keeper if they are to seriously compete for honours.