Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has predicted a bumper month of spending by Premier League clubs in the January transfer window that could surpass the record £235m lavished in 2011.
Top-flight teams have shown signs of loosening their purse-strings following a slow start to the window, with Bournemouth’s capture of Lewis Grabban from Norwich yesterday taking their outlay to £17m.
Clubs have added incentive to gamble this year, due to a more open league contest than in recent campaigns and the promise of a minimum £100m reward for avoiding relegation and taking part next season.
“I would say for the media you could have some good news that January transfer window,” said economics graduate Wenger.
“I believe many clubs will be active. You go from the clubs who are down in the table like [Aston] Villa, who have to do something, to the clubs at the top. I’m sure many of them could be very active. My prediction is that it could be one of the most active transfer windows in January that you have seen.”
Wenger’s Arsenal, who visit Liverpool tomorrow as part of a full midweek league programme, have not spent yet but are finalising the £5m signing of Egypt midfielder Mohamed Elneny from Swiss side Basel.
Top division newcomers Bournemouth signed Grabban on Monday for around £8m, just 24 hours after completing a £9m deal for another striker in Benik Afobe from Wolves.
Newcastle are close to landing Senegal winger Henri Saivet for £4m from Bordeaux and are also thought to be interested in Swansea and England midfielder Jonjo Shelvey, who could cost £10m.
Struggling champions Chelsea are yet to spend but have been tipped to sign Shakhtar Donetsk’s prolific Brazilian attacking midfielder Alex Teixeira for a fee in excess of £20m.
Premier League clubs have spent around £130m in the last two January windows, far less than the 2011 high, in which the Blues shelled out a then-British record £50m on Liverpool striker Fernando Torres.
A new £5bn television contract which takes effect next season means even the worst performing top-flight club is guaranteed £100m – up from the current £60m – in centrally distributed income for 2016-17.