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Ranked! Europe's 5 biggest spenders this transfer window

Manchester City midfielder Jack Grealish
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Regardless of whether or not normality returned to society at large, one thing felt inevitable: the excess of the transfer market. On that front, it's felt like just another summer, really.

And while Barcelona reel from their mounting debt and Liverpool have a quiet one, other clubs across the continent (ok, all in England, actually) have been stumping up considerable cash to beef up their squads for the new season.

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Here are the top five...

5. Aston Villa

Aston Villa striker Danny Ings

(Image credit: Getty Images)

They could yet be displaced from the list, but as things stands, Villa have spent more than the likes of PSG, Bayern Munich and Liverpool this summer.

Danny Ings, Leon Bailey and Emi Buendia have all move to Villa Park for fees around the £30 million mark (with Ashley Young also joining on a free and Axel Tuanzebe on loan from Manchester United).

Of course, the £100 million sale of Jack Grealish to Manchester City will have balanced the books, but can certainly be said to have pushed the boat out over the course of the window.

4. Chelsea

Chelsea have actually made two signings this summer - but back-up goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli doesn't factor in for the purposes of this list.

The Blues have only paid one fee, but it was a whopping one close to £100 million to re-sign Romelu Lukaku - who returns to Stamford Bridge seven years after joining Everton for a fraction of that price (£28 million, to be precise).

It's a deal that makes Lukaku the most expensive player of all time over the course of his career, with all fees paid for the Belgian totalling the not inconsiderable amount of £285 million.

3. Manchester City

There have only been two new faces through the door at the Etihad this summer. One was Scott Carson, who signed permanently after two seasons on loan from Derby.

The other? Oh yes, Jack Grealish - at £100 million, the most expensive English player of all time, who overtook Kevin De Bruyne as City's record signing.

And while Harry Kane - who City had a bid for rejected in June - is staying at Tottenham this summer, reports have emerged suggesting a certain Cristiano Ronaldo could be about to link up with Pep Guardiola - a move which could yet take City top of this list...

2. Manchester United

Manchester United winger Jadon Sancho

(Image credit: PA Images)

Like Chelsea and City, United added experienced goalkeeping cover - in the form of the returning Tom Heaton - but they opened the chequebook for not one but two marquee signings: Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane.

A year after they were rebuffed by Borussia Dortmund in the pursuit of Sancho, United finally got their man, shelling out £73 million for the England international's services.

Varane came rather cheaper - costing anything from £34 million to £42 million, according to reports - but either way, the arrival of the former Real Madrid defender took the Red Devil's  summer spending past the £100 million mark.

1. Arsenal

Arsenal defender Ben White

(Image credit: Getty Images)

You could be forgiven for not believing it, given their miserable start to the season, but Arsenal are indeed Europe's biggest spenders in the summer of 2021.

The signings of Nuno Tavares, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale and, most recently, the returning Martin Odegaard have taken the Gunners' outlay to over £120 million.

And with just under a week of the window remaining and one or two rumours still lurking, that total might yet tick even higher.

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