Premier League clubs will today set a new record for summer transfer window spending, after Manchester United agreed a £36m deal for Monaco teenager Anthony Martial yesterday.
Clubs had already shelled out around £730m – fractionally short of last year’s record of £737m – last night, when United’s signing of the forward was still to be confirmed.
But that deal is on course to take English top-flight spending to a new high, while a number of other possible deals in the pipeline could see investment breach the £800m barrier.
Manager Louis van Gaal made room in his squad for the new arrivals yesterday by agreeing the sale of Mexico forward Javier Hernandez to Bayer Leverkusen for £9m and the departure of back-up keeper Anders Lindegaard to West Brom.
United’s move for Martial came as a surprise and was confirmed yesterday when French football chiefs gave the player permission to leave the national team camp and travel to England to conclude the deal.
The 19-year-old is considered one of the most talented young players in Ligue 1 but has scored just 15 goals in his senior career and is yet to make his international debut.
Martial, part of the Monaco side that knocked Arsenal out of the Champions League last season, joined the principality team from Lyon for around £3.5m two years ago.
Premier League clubs have taken advantage of their increasing financial dominance, driven by booming television contracts, to poach talent from other major European leagues this summer.
All 40 top-flight teams are among the 40 richest in the world, according to Deloitte, and that spending power is only set to increase next summer when new TV deals take effect that will guarantee even the bottom Premier League club £100m per season – up from around £60m now.