New owners and a massive television broadcasting deal have helped English football clubs spend more than £530m on players this summer, a survey says.
Liverpool paid £20.5m for Fernando Torres this summer.
The study, by Deloitte Sports Group, shows the spending was about two-thirds higher than the £330m of summer 2006.
Of the money spent by top-flight clubs, about £110m went to lower-league sides while some £265m went outside England.
The spree came as a three-season, £1.7bn, deal for domestic and overseas television rights began.
Several clubs - including Liverpool, Manchester City and West Ham - also benefited from ambitious new owners bolstering the transfer fund kitty.
"This summer's transfer spending by English clubs has beaten all previous records," said Paul Rawnsley of Deloitte.
"But as Premier League clubs will receive around £300m of extra broadcast payments during the 2007/08 season the increase in transfer spending is not a surprise."
Mr Rawnsley said that player wages would also increase - though by a much lower proportion than the rise in transfer spending.
Darren Bent and Kieron Richardson began the season at new clubs
The average transfer fee paid by Premier League clubs rose from about £3.5m a year ago to £4m. The number of transfers also grew - from about 80 to more than 100.
Twelve top flight clubs spent more than £20m on players.
While established Premier League clubs occupied the top three spots - Manchester United (£51m), Liverpool (£50m) and Tottenham Hotspur (£40m) - the fourth biggest spenders were new boys Sunderland, whose £35m included £9m for goalkeeper Craig Gordon from Scottish side Hearts.
On a net transfer basis - when sales of players were also taken into account - spending by Premier League sides reached £420m during the 2007 January and summer transfer windows, up from £140m in 2006.
In Europe, Real Madrid were the top summer spenders, with the purchase of Gabriel Heinze and Arjen Robben from Manchester United and Chelsea respectively taking their outlay to about £80m.
Rivals Barcelona spent about £50m and overall clubs in the main five European leagues - England, Spain, Italy, France and Germany - spent £1bn.
"It comes as no surprise to see Real Madrid and Barcelona spending at least as much as their English rivals on transfers, given that they have the highest revenues in world football in 2005/06," said Alan Switzer, of Deloitte.
"Broadcast revenues are again the key to explaining the high transfer spending by the two giants of Spanish football, who unlike their Premier League counterparts can sell their own broadcast rights."