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Last Updated: Friday, 1 September 2006, 11:29 GMT 12:29 UK
Premier clubs enjoy summer spree
England and Chelsea player Ashley Cole
Ashley Cole finally secured his move from Arsenal to Chelsea
Top English football clubs this summer spent the highest sum on transfers since the introduction of the transfer window system, a study says.

According to analysis by Deloitte, the total reported spending in the summer by Premiership clubs was 300m.

That took total spending for the year in 2006 to more than 330m, with Chelsea the biggest spenders at 70m.

Spending was driven by expected TV cash income, and the World Cup "shop window" of international players.

The total amount spent this year was greater than in each of the previous three years, with 285m spent in 2005, 260m in 2004, and 250m in 2003.

'Renewed confidence'

Chelsea once again topped the list of spenders in 2006 with about 70m invested, taking their reported spending on player acquisitions since July 2003 to more than 375m - about one-third of overall spending by Premiership clubs in that period.

On Thursday, Chelsea ended a long-running saga by signing England full-back Ashley Cole from Arsenal in exchange for 5m and France defender William Gallas.

Nicolas Anelka meets the media in Bolton
Nicolas Anelka's transfer from Fenerbahce to Bolton cost 8m

Other big deals seen this summer were Robert Huth's transfer from Chelsea to Middlesbrough for about 6m, Stilian Petrov's move to Aston Villa from Celtic in a deal worth 8m, and Nicolas Anelka's transfer from Fenerbahce to Bolton for 8m.

More than half (180m) of the disclosed transfer spending by Premiership clubs in 2006 went to clubs outside of England.

Meanwhile, gross spending by Premiership clubs in summer 2006 was double that of the clubs in the Spanish Primera Liga, and about four times greater than clubs in the top divisions of each of France, Germany and Italy.

"Renewed financial confidence from the TV deals announced earlier this summer and the World Cup 'shop window' effect have helped fuel the increase in transfer spending by Premiership clubs," said Paul Rawnsley, director in the sports business group at Deloitte.

'Continuing challenge'

Football League clubs received more than 60m from Premiership clubs in 2006, with nine clubs benefiting by more than 2m each.

After transfer monies going to Premiership clubs, based on the disclosed figures, are taken into account the overall "domestic balance of payments" is an inflow to Football League clubs of about 45m.

Many clubs bought new faces on the expectation of swelling coffers when new, lucrative TV deals begin next season.

The TV rights auction for the three-year period beginning in 2007 generated 1.7bn ($3.1bn) for the Premiership, with BSkyB paying 1.3bn for its four packages and Setanta 392m for its two.

Alan Switzer, a senior sports business consultant at Deloitte, said: "The arrival of more star names is great news for fans and reflects the Premiership's status as the world's richest league.

"Nonetheless, over the next couple of years there'll be a continuing challenge to balance spending to ensure the benefits of revenue growth continue to be felt in areas other than player salaries and transfer fees."

Blues beat deadline to sign Cole
01 Sep 06 |  Eng Prem
Deadline deals as they happened
01 Sep 06 |  Football
First fall in Premiership wages
01 Jun 06 |  Business
BSkyB and Setanta agree TV pact
09 May 06 |  Business
Man Utd dethroned as richest club
16 Feb 06 |  Business

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