Recession? What recession? Football goes for broke

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The Independent Football

Premier League clubs spent around £477m during the transfer window, according to calculations by The Independent. That figure has only ever been topped in one window, summer 2008, when the elite spent £500m. So much for the recession.

The Premier League thus remains the world's biggest spending division, ahead of Spain's top division (where around £430m was spent this summer, more than half by Real Madrid) and Italy's Serie A, with £400m spent and Jose Mourinho's Internazionale spending most, £90m.

Manchester City's outlay of £123.7m on Gareth Barry, Carlos Tevez, Roque Santa Cruz, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Touré and Joleon Lescott underpinned the English splurge, with Aston Villa spending next most (£41.5m) as the "big four" were kept in the shade.

But if two deals by Premier League clubs told the wider story of the window, then they were Sunderland's signing of Michael Turner from Hull and Manchester United's low-profile capture of Mame Biram Diouf from Molde. This pair of deals exemplified the nouveau riche credentials of "lesser" clubs on the one hand, and the financial prudence of the giants on the other.

Turner cost Sunderland an astonishing £12m, or rather a fee that will rise to that. Diouf has cost United £4m and could yet prove to be the steal of the summer. He is a 21-year-old Senegal international and a prolific goalscorer. United lured him from Norway in a deal finalised at the end of July while United were touring the Far East. The player will stay on loan with Molde until January but he is a summer signing, bought and paid for now because other suitors were circling.

England's "big four" were unwilling rather than unable to spend; it is an important distinction. Certainly United, Arsenal and Chelsea had more funds available to their managers than they spent. But Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsène Wenger and Carlo Ancelotti were wary of paying way over the odds for, among others, Franck Ribéry and Karim Benzema, as Real Madrid went bonkers.

At Liverpool, Rafa Benitez would have liked to spend more and will be frustrated that his club's American owners did not give him £25m-plus (net of sales) as expected, but he still spent almost £40m.

Elsewhere, clubs as varied as Sunderland (spending £36.5m), Tottenham (£29.5m), Everton (£20.7m), Stoke (£18.3m), Birmingham (£17.6m), Wolves (£16.8m) and West Ham (£15.5m) spent upwards of £15m each. Loan signings were made in addition, by Portsmouth and others.

Business was rarely stellar, but it was steady. Austerity? Ha ha.

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