Premier League transfer spending dips to three-year low

MILAN - Premier League clubs spent less than they did in 2007 in the summer transfer window as cash-strapped clubs sought to balance their books, according to business consultancy Deloitte.

Overall spending by English clubs was around 350 million pounds, 22 percent below the levels of 2009 and the lowest after three years of record growth, Deloitte said in a report released after the English deadline closed on Tuesday.

"In general, an absence of new owners and clubs striving to improve their financial balance has diminished the vibrancy of the transfer market," Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said in a statement.

Gross transfer spending by top clubs in France, Germany, Italy and Spain was down 25 percent to 40 percent compared with 2009, widening the gap with their English peers.

"Premier League clubs generated more revenue and income on aggregate than the other leagues and they can afford to spend more in the transfer market," Paul Rawnsley, director in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, told Reuters.

Clubs from Italy's Serie A and Spain's Primera Liga have reportedly spent around 260 million pounds and 240 million pounds respectively during the window.

Spain striker David Villa moved to Barcelona from Valencia for 40 million euros in one of the biggest deals.

Premier League Manchester City, the world's wealthiest club, dominated transfer activity with acquisitions of around 125 million pounds accounting for 36 percent of total spending.

"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," Rawnsley said.

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