Premier League clubs have spent more than £7bn assembling their current squads – more than twice as much as any of Europe’s other top leagues.
A report published by the CIES Football Observatory found that top-flight clubs in England have spent considerably more than teams in Serie A (£2.9bn), La Liga (£2.8bn), Ligue 1 (£2.3bn) and the Bundesliga (£2bn) on their respective rosters.
The data reveals both Manchester clubs are the most costly in Europe, with Manchester City (£926m) edging Manchester United (£877m) – while Chelsea (£669m), Liverpool (£576m), Arsenal (£542m) and Tottenham (£472m) also feature in the top 10.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Paris Saint-Germain rank third with a squad cost of £820m, while fellow European powerhouse clubs Real Madrid (£675m), Juventus (£563m) and Barcelona (£551m) also rank among the elite.
Other Premier League clubs featuring in the top 30 include Everton (£400m), Leicester, (£352m) Aston Villa (£301m), Wolves (£265m), West Ham (£261m), Newcastle (£237m), Crystal Palace (£206m), Southampton (£192m) and Brighton (£188m).
Arsenal emerged as the window’s most spendthrift club with a £156.8m spree on young talent, including White (£50m), Martin Odegaard (£34m), Aaron Ramsdale (£30m), Takehiro Tomiyasu (£19.8m), Albert Sambi Lokonga (£15m) and Nuno Tavares (£8m).
Manchester United nearly matched the Gunners with a £133.7m outlay on Jadon Sancho (£73m), Raphael Varane (£41m) and Cristiano Ronaldo (£19.7m), while Manchester City invested every penny of their £100m spending on Grealish, with Aston Villa reinvesting £93m of that cash on new recruits to help fill the void left by their former captain – just shy of Chelsea‘s £97.5m outlay spent entirely on Lukaku.
For Sky Sports’ pundit Jamie Carragher, United are overdue a title challenge with eight years passing since they were last crowned champions – and Ronaldo et al could be the difference.
“Forget Ronaldo’s age and name, we are talking about the guy who was top goalscorer in Serie A last season, so that is who United are signing, so it should make a big difference to them,” he said.
“And they’ve added other players in other areas as well, so it is about time United were fighting towards bringing that title back to Old Trafford.”
It’s clear the consensus is that time has come for United to reacquaint themselves with silverware. The question is, with Ronaldo, Sancho and Varane at Solskjaer’s disposal: will that drought end this season?
And, perhaps more importantly, would an FA Cup or League Cup triumph be enough to quench the insatiable appetite for success swirling around Old Trafford?
Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson believes the arrival of Ronaldo means the Premier League title is the only piece of silverware that will suffice for Solskjaer and United.
“Will Manchester United win the league? That is the fairy tale,” he told Sky Sports News. “There is no point Ronaldo coming back to Old Trafford and winning the Golden Boot, it’s all about winning the league.
“Solskjaer is managing the biggest club in the world of football, the pressure is on all the time. They have to win the league. Bringing Ronaldo, one of the best two players in world football for a considerable amount of time, has to be to win the league. Please don’t tell me they are bringing him in to sell shirts.
“Who wins you the league: Ronaldo or Harry Kane? For me, Kane does. If I’m the manager of a football club, I need players who are going to win me the title, and I’m not sure Ronaldo is.”
Getting the deals for Ronaldo, Varane and Sancho over the line was just the easy bit for Manchester United.
The challenge of settling on a formula that utilises the wealth of talent at Solskjaer’s disposal whilst maintaining United’s challenge for trophies is the task which has already got under way and will ultimately determine the success of the campaign.
Whether it be the Premier League, the Champions League, or a domestic cup, Jamie Redknapp says Solskjaer needs to get his hands on a trophy of any kind, and his ability to keep his star-studded squad involved and engaged could prove crucial in that ambition being realised.
“How is Ole going to fit Ronaldo in?” Redknapp said. “United now have five players who can play in that frontline. Ronaldo, at his age, can only play as a central striker.
“So, where does Edinson Cavani fit in? Where does Marcus Rashford fit in? Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has got such a big job to keep everyone happy and that brings tremendous pressure.
“Now, not having won anything at Manchester United as manager, he has to win something. For Ole, as excited as he is, trying to keep everyone happy will bring a lot of sleepless nights.”