Record £6bn spent on international transfers this summer, according to Fifa | Soccer

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A record sum of almost £6bn was spent on international transfer deals this summer, with spending by clubs from Saudi Arabia topping £700m.

The outlay by clubs in the Pro League was second only to the Premier League, whose teams spent just under £1.6bn on overseas deals alone, according to Fifa’s International Transfer Snapshot which was published on Friday.

In total, £5.89bn was spent globally in the summer window, while agents’ fees for 2023 are already at a record annual high – £558m. The spending on deals in 2023 is a 47% increase on same period last year, and 26.8% up on the previous mid-year record set in 2019.

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Saudi clubs spent £701m on transfers according to Fifa, with Al-Hilal’s signing of Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain for a deal that could reach £86.3m the biggest single deal involving a Pro League club. And the figure could have been much higher: Al-Hilal also submitted a world-record £259m bid for Kylian Mbappé, but the France forward refused to enter talks. Al-Ittihad, meanwhile, had a £150m bid for Mohamed Salah rejected by Liverpool.

Saudi clubs’ spending on international deals was just ahead of France (£688.8m) and Germany (£610.8m). They also spent more than double the amount laid out by clubs in Spain, where the total was £324.9m.

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Saudi spending meant that, for the first time, a confederation other than Uefa contributed more than 10% of the total summer spend, with the Asian Football Confederation’s figure at 14%.

Four Saudi clubs – Al-Hilal, Al-Ittihad, Al-Nassr and Al-Ahli – have been majority-owned by the country’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) since June. The fund has assets under management estimated at a value of around £476bn.

The Fifa report also identified an increase in the number of international deals in the women’s game for a sixth successive year. There were a record 829 transfers in the mid-year period, including a record 66 that involved fees.

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