Man City, PSG lead spending by Europe`s elite

Last Updated: Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 09:12

London: Manchester City, the world`s richest club, and Paris St Germain, owned by wealthy Qataris, spent the most money in the transfer window that closed on Wednesday as they pursued their quest to turn riches into silverware by splashing the cash.

City laid out about 76 million pounds (USD 123.74 million) while PSG spent some 85 million euros (75.3 million pounds) as they, like City who were bought by Sheikh Mansour of Abu Dhabi three years ago, try to become major players among Europe`s elite.

The next biggest spenders according to media reports were Juventus with an outlay of about 67.0 million pounds followed by European champions Barcelona who paid out 56.0 million pounds, including some 35 million on Arsenal`s Cesc Fabregas.

City`s 41-year-old owner, whose wealth runs into billions of dollars, authorised the arrivals of Argentina striker Sergio Aguero from Atletico Madrid for a reported 38 million pounds, the highest deal of the window.

France forward Samir Nasri also arrived at City for 25 million pounds along with fellow Arsenal team mate Frenchman Gael Clichy and Stefan Savic from Partizan Belgrade.

Since Sheikh Mansour took control, City have spent over 460 million pounds on 28 senior players and were rewarded in May when they won the FA Cup -- their first trophy for 35 years.

They have now set their sights on the Premier League title and the Champions League crown and have got off to a flying start with three straight league wins.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp told reporters they had turned down a massive bid of 40 million pounds from Chelsea for Croatia midfielder Luka Modric, ending the longest running transfer saga of the window which closed at 2200 GMT.

"That`s what I heard," Redknapp told reporters at the end of a busy last day of trading for Spurs. "Chelsea offered 40 million and the chairman (Daniel Levy) turned it down."

Most Expensive

That meant Aguero, 23, cost the most followed by Argentina team mate Javier Pastore, who went from Palermo to PSG, now owned by the Qatar Investment Authority, for 42 million euros which was the most expensive fee ever paid by a French club.

PSG also spent heavily on striker Kevin Gameiro from Lorient, Blaise Matuidi from St Etienne and fellow midfielders Jeremy Menez from AS Roma and Mohamed Sissoko from Juventus plus Uruguay captain Diego Lugano among others.

City and PSG have long been overshadowed by richer and more successful rivals but the new owners are determined to change that.

While those clubs have become enriched, so will Samuel Eto`o of Cameroon, who was the third highest deal of the window.

The four-time African Player of the Year, who moved from Inter Milan to Anzhi Makhachkala of Russia for about 30 million euros, reportedly becoming the world`s highest-paid player with weekly wages of 365,000 euros a week, or 20.0 million a year.

Apart from Aguero`s switch to City and Eto`o`s astonishing move to a Russian club with no international pedigree, the highest profile transfer involved Spain midfielder Fabregas, who finally went home to Barcelona after eight years at Arsenal.

Ecstatic Fans

Fabregas, 24, moved to the Gunners as a 16-year-old after playing his youth football at Barca, who have tried to woo him back for the last three seasons.

Although his return to the Nou Camp was greeted with ecstatic glee by Barca`s fans, his departure from Arsenal, and that of Nasri, has left the 2006 European Champions League finalists, bereft of creativity in midfield.

However, Gervinho, a 24-year-old Ivorian striker, has signed from Lille for 12 million pounds while the late purchase of Mikel Arteta from Everton and Yossi Benayoun on loan from Chelsea will boost a threadbare midfield.

Higher Total

Overall the amount spent by Europe`s top clubs appeared up on last year when, for example, England`s Premier League clubs spent 395 million pounds compared to an estimated 430 million as the window closed this time with late deals to be confirmed.

Dan Jones, a partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, the business advisory firm that monitors the transfer market, said Of the overall activity:

"Going into the final day Premier League clubs spent around 390 million pounds, which is significantly up on last summer and, subject to the completion of transactions on deadline day, could reach a similar level to that seen in the summers 2007 to 2009 (450 to 500 million pounds).

"This summer`s spending is largely focussed amongst the top end Premier League clubs most strongly competing for domestic and European success and the consequent financial rewards."

"The resurgence of transfer spending is also apparent in other top European leagues. Despite domestic difficulties delaying the start of their seasons, transfer spending is considerably up amongst clubs in Serie A and La Liga."

South American players featured prominently in Serie A where Inter Milan, who on Tuesday signed Uruguay forward Diego Forlan from Atletico Madrid for some 5.0 million pounds, added Lazio`s Argentine forward Mauro Zarate to their squad.

Fiorentina signed shaved-headed Uruguayan striker Santiago Silva, nicknamed "The Tank," from Argentine club Velez Sarsfield, and Palermo confirmed they had bought Paraguay midfielder Edgar Barreto from Atalanta.

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First Published: Thursday, September 1, 2011 - 09:12

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