The British transfer record was smashed on deadline day as an unprecedented January transfer window ended with Premier League clubs having spent £2.8bn during the 2022-23 season.
Chelsea’s 121m euro (£107m) deal for Benfica’s Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez took the total expenditure by top-flight clubs in January to a record-breaking £815m.
More than £275m was spent on deadline day alone before the window closed for English clubs at 23:00 GMT on Tuesday.
The deadline day outlay was an increase of 83% on the previous January record of £150m, set in 2018.
And, while an all-time high season expenditure across both the summer and winter windows was guaranteed after a record of £1.9bn was set in September, the final total is double the previous record of £1.4bn in 2017.
The 2018 winter record spend of £430m by Premier League clubs had also already been smashed prior to Tuesday’s deadline day, with the eventual total in 2023 an increase of 90% on that – and almost triple the previous January window (£295m), according to financial services firm Deloitte.
The Premier League’s financial dominance in Europe increased to the highest proportion ever reported, as the spending by English top-flight clubs accounted for 79% of the total across Europe’s ‘big five’ football leagues, where January spending fell by 35% from 2022 to €255m (£225m).
Indeed, Chelsea spent more in January than the combined total of all clubs in the Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1.
Among English Football League clubs, spending rose to £25m, up from £20m in the previous winter window.
Tim Bridge, lead partner in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said: “The record spending by Premier League clubs this season is beyond anything that we’ve seen before.
“Premier League clubs have outspent those within the rest of Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues by almost four to one in this transfer window, allowing them to hold on to their key players, while attracting top-talent from overseas.
“However, while there is a clear need to invest in squad size and quality to retain a competitive edge, there will always be a fine balance to strike between prioritising success on-pitch and maintaining financial sustainability.”
Chelsea’s late capture of Fernandez was the headline deal on deadline day as the Blues smashed the British transfer record – previously the £100m Manchester City paid for Jack Grealish in 2021 – to land the 22-year-old World Cup winner.
Elsewhere, Tottenham announced the signing of full-back Pedro Porro from Sporting Lisbon on loan until the end of the season, with an obligation to buy for 45m euros (£40m) – while defenders Matt Doherty (permanent) and Djed Spence (loan) were allowed to leave.
Premier League leaders Arsenal strengthened with the £12m acquisition of Italy midfielder Jorginho from Chelsea, while fourth-placed Manchester United completed the loan signing of Austrian midfielder Marcel Sabitzer from Bayern Munich.
Southampton ended the window with a late flurry of activity, completing a club record £22m deal for Ghana winger Kamaldeen Sulemana as well as signing Nigeria striker Paul Onuachu.
Bournemouth signed Ukraine centre-back Illia Zabarnyi for a reported £24m and Ivory Coast midfielder Hamed Traore on an initial loan before a £20m summer move.
Fellow promoted side Nottingham Forest were also busy, completing deals for Atletico Madrid’s Brazilian defender Felipe and Newcastle midfielder Jonjo Shelvey for undisclosed fees, while Paris St-Germain goalkeeper Keylor Navas arrived on loan.
Leicester City signed defender Harry Souttar from Stoke City in a deal which could rise to £20m with add-ons, and Crystal Palace signed France youth international Naouirou Ahamada from Stuttgart for 11m euros (£9.7m).
A surprise high-profile Premier League departure saw Manchester City full-back Joao Cancelo join Bayern Munich on loan for the rest of the season, with a 70m euro (£61.5m) option to join permanently in the summer.
Chelsea’s deal for Fernandez was a fitting end to another astonishing window. Amid another remarkable spending spree, the Blues agreed a £89m deal with Shakhtar Donetsk for 22-year-old Ukraine forward Mykhailo Mudryk earlier in January.
In addition to their deadline day signing of Jorginho, Arsenal signed Belgium striker Leandro Trossard from Brighton for £21m plus add-ons, along with Jakub Kiwior from Serie A side Spezia for 20m euros (£17.6m).
Elsewhere, Liverpool agreed a deal worth 40-50m euros (£35.4m-£44.3m) to sign Netherlands forward Cody Gakpo, 23, from Dutch club PSV Eindhoven.
And Newcastle United’s signing of 21-year-old Anthony Gordon from Everton could eventually be worth £45m.