Deadline day: EPL clubs still active after $2 billion outlay

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FILE - Sporting's Ricardo Esgaio, left, and Ajax's Antony jump for the ball during a Champions League group C soccer match between Ajax and Sporting CP, at the at the Johan Cruyff ArenA in Amsterdam, Netherlands, on Dec. 7, 2021. Brazil winger Antony looks set to complete a move to Manchester United for $95 million and join Lisandro Martinez in making a big-money switch from Dutch club Ajax to the English giant in this transfer window. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

A wild summer transfer window was about to close on Thursday with Manchester United and Manchester City completing deadline-day signings and other Premier League clubs still active in the market despite England's top flight already spending more than $2 billion on new players.

By the time the window shuts at 11 p.m. local time (2200 GMT), Chelsea and Liverpool were likely to have made last-minute purchases to plug gaps in their squads while Nottingham Forest might even make it to a remarkable 20 signings, or more, since returning to the league.

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Chelsea — the biggest spender in Europe this window after an outlay of about $265 million — was on the brink of signing striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who joined Barcelona from Arsenal only in February. Left back Marcos Alonso could go the other way as part of the deal.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp belatedly has made signing a midfielder a priority because of a slew of injuries in that department, most recently to captain Jordan Henderson, and was reportedly about to sign Arthur Melo on loan from Juventus.

Forest made its 19th signing of the window by bringing in defender Willy Boly from Wolverhampton and was reportedly in talks with two or three other players. The promoted team has already spent more than $150 million this summer.

A number of major moves had already been made, none bigger than Brazil winger Antony completing his switch to Man United from Ajax for $95 million to take the club's own spending in this window to nearly $240 million.

Hours later, United signed Slovakia goalkeeper Martin Dubravka on a season-long loan from Newcastle as a backup to David De Gea.

The future of Cristiano Ronaldo has been a hot topic since the end of last season — he has pushed to leave because United isn’t in the Champions League — but manager Erik ten Hag reiterated Wednesday that he is counting on the Portugal forward this season. Ronaldo was on the bench for United for a Premier League match against Leicester on Thursday.

City decided to bolster its defensive options, signing Switzerland international Manuel Akanji from Borussia Dortmund for $17.5 million to get a fifth center back in its squad.

Senegal midfielder Idrissa Gueye sealed a return to Everton from Paris Saint-Germain, which sent left back Layvin Kurzawa to Fulham on loan for the season. Fulham also signed former Chelsea and Arsenal winger Willian on a free transfer after he recently left Brazilian club Corinthians.

Leicester chose the final day of the window to make its first outfield signing of the summer, Wout Faes from French club Reims. Faes filled the vacancy left by Wesley Fofana, who joined Chelsea on Wednesday for 75 million pounds ($87 million).

That was one of the most eye-catching moves of the summer as the Premier League reverted to pre-pandemic levels of spending — and then some — on the back of its huge global broadcasting broadcasting deals worth about 10 billion pounds ($11.8 billion) over three seasons.

The rest of Europe just cannot compete, with clubs in the top leagues in Spain, Italy, Germany and France on course to spend less combined than England alone.

Chelsea could yet take its spending on players to around $300 million, like it did two summers ago when the likes of Kai Havertz and Timo Werner joined for huge fees.

The Premier League's record for spending in a single season — covering both summer and winter transfers windows — stands at 1.86 billion pounds ($2.18 billion) in 2017-18. That figure should be comfortably surpassed in this transfer window alone.


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