Barcelona’s €40million capture of David Villa was the biggest of the January transfer window (Getty)

(WFI) Analysis by World Football Insider reveals that three quarters of the European transfer market’s biggest twenty moves took place outside of the English Premier League this summer, and that when free-spending Manchester City are taken out of the equation 14 of the 16 biggest transfers in Europe did not involve English teams as the buyer.

Sunderland’s £13million (€15.7million) deadline-day capture of Rennes’ Ghanaian international forward, Asamoah Gyan, was a late entry into a top twenty that is notable for its lack of activity by the EPL’s so-called big four.

Only Chelsea, with the £18.2 million capture of Ramires, make the list, with Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool conspicuous by their absence in a table that is dominated by oil-rich Manchester City.

Taking City’s spending aside, France and Russia are as well represented in the top twenty as England, with two each of the summer’s big signings, while Italy (five) and Spain (four) lead the way with big buys.

The trend is reflected in research published by business advisory firm Deloitte, which shows that even with City’s £125million spending spree, overall EPL summer transfer window spending of £350million is at its lowest level since 2006, and down 22 per cent on last year.

Nevertheless, net spending is up on previous seasons, with significantly more spent on overseas signings this year than last.

Moreover Deloitte say that despite headline grabbing acquisitions as Barcelona’s signing of David Villa and AC Milan’s double-deal to bring Robinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovich to the San Siro, gross transfer spending by top division clubs in France, Germany, Italy and Spain is also down compared to 2009.

Deloitte say that spending in these countries is down by around 25-40% in each country and overall less than in England. The top division clubs in Italy and Spain have reportedly spent around £260m and £240m respectively in the summer 2010 transfer window.

“Premier League clubs’ spending in this transfer window has been restrained at around £350m, after three years in which the clubs had spent £450-500m each summer,” said Dan Jones, Partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte.

“In general, an absence of new owners and clubs striving to improve their financial balance has diminished the vibrancy of the transfer market.”

“Whilst the headline figure for player transfer spending is 22% down, the level of net spending by Premier League clubs of £190m is actually more than double that in summer 2009 and similar to the levels in each of 2008 and 2007.

“Last year’s net transfer spending of £80m was lower in particular due to Premier League clubs in receipt of £110m in transfer fees from Real Madrid alone.”

In England the decline in spending is even starker beyond the Premier League, with research by accountants Grant Thornton showing Championship clubs spending only around £21million – approximately half of last year’s total.

Clubs in English football’s second tier have traditionally augmented their income by selling players to Premier League clubs, but this year their net transfer income is just £13million – little over a fifth of the £61million championship clubs received last year. Of that figure £4.1million was added by the deadline day sale of Reading’s Gylfi Sigurdsson to the Bundesliga’s Hoffenehim.

The knock-on effect of the Championship’s lack of income is that League One net transfer income is down 50 per cent to £6million and so it trickles down the league ladder.

The drop in business between the EPL and Football League is reflected within the EPL itself, where intra-league transfer business amounted to just 20 per cent (£71million) of all transfer business. Last year 48 per cent of transfer business was conducted between EPL teams (a total of £215million).

With the pound strengthened against the euro on this time last year and broadcast revenues up on last season, the news that transfer spending in the EPL has fallen is unexpected.

But Paul Rawnsley, director of Deloitte’s sports business group believes that club owners are consolidating and without significant capital injections from them the situation is set to remain the same for some time to come.

“Despite improved economic conditions and enhanced values from international media rights that kicked-in for the 2010/11 season, without further significant capital injections from owners, transfer spending is unlikely to exceed the high watermark achieved in 2008,” said Rawnsley.

“In general, for the time being at least, we are seeing a new financial reality as clubs strive to improve their financial balance.”

Europe’s top twenty transfers summer 2010

David Villa             
      Valencia-Barcelona               €40m

David Silva             
     Valencia-Man City                
€32m

James Milner**             Aston Villa-Man City             €30m

Mario Balotelli               Inter Milan-Man City             €28m

Angel di Maria               Benfica-Real Madrid              €25m

Zlatan Ibrahimovic*       Barcelona-AC
Milan               €24m

Yoann Gourcuff              Bordeaux-Lyon                     €22m

Bruno Alves             
     Porto-Zenit St Petersburg      €22m

Javier Mascherano          Liverpool-Barcelona              €22m

Ramires                         Benfica-Chelsea
                   €22m

Robinho                         Man
City- AC Milan               €22m

Carlos Eduardo               Hoffenheim-
Rubin Kazan      €20m

Aleksander Kolorav         Lazio-Man
City                      €19m

Pierre Andre Gignac        Toulouse-Marseille
                €18m

Edinson Cavani               Palermo-
Napoli                     €17m

Asamoah Gyan               Rennes-
Sunderland               €15.7m

Leonardo Bonucci           Bari-Juventus
                        €15.5m

Diego                            Juventus-Wolfsburg
               €15.5m

Milos Krasic                    CSKA
Moscow-Juventus          €15m

Mesut Ozil                      Werder
Bremen-Real Madrid    €15m

(€1 = £0.82/ $1.27)
*Initial loan with Milan to pay transfer fee in 2011
**Part exchange with Stephen Ireland

By INSIDER’s James Corbett.

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