Premier League clubs breached the £2 billion barrier for the first time as transfer spending reached extraordinary new heights in this summer’s window.
The clubs committed more than £2.5 billion on transfer fees, including add-ons, before the window closed on Friday night.
As part of that record-breaking spend, more than £1 billion was spent on midfield players alone, with the likes of Moises Caicedo and Declan Rice joining Chelsea and Arsenal respectively for a combined £220 million.
Chelsea, with a total outlay of more than £430 million, led the record spree, with the arrival of 21-year-old winger Cole Palmer from Manchester City for £40 million. Chelsea also generated the most through sales, however, having sold their players for more than £230 million.
The £206 million outlay by Man City, the English and European champion, looks modest by comparison. City's fourth and final arrival in the window came on deadline day and was Portugal international Matheus Nunes from Wolverhampton, a ball-carrying central midfielder.
However, Mohamed Salah still remains at Liverpool despite a mammoth offer from Saudi Arabia.
The transfer window, which was open from June 14 to September 1, exceeded last year's record £1.92 billion, with the top-flight clubs spending £255 million on deadline day alone, according to analysis by Deloitte.
Premier League clubs were responsible for 48% of the spending across Europe's top five leagues, including Spain's La Liga, Italy's Serie A, Germany's Bundesliga and France's Ligue 1.
But lurking in the background is the shadow of the rich Saudi Pro League which has emerged as a serious competitor in the market because of the backing of the kingdom's sovereign wealth Public Investment Fund which claims assets of about USD 700 billion.
The crowning signing, they hoped, would be Salah but Liverpool is standing firm in the face of a reported verbal offer totalling £150 million (USD 188 million) by Al-Ittihad, insisting the 31-year-old forward is not for sale.
There are still a few days left in the Saudi window, which closes on September 7, but the European one has shut.
Central midfielders were the priorities on Friday for Liverpool, which bought Netherlands international Ryan Gravenberch from Bayern Munich in a deal worth 40 million euros.
Brighton completed one of the most exciting deals of the window to bring in 20-year-old Spain winger Ansu Fati on a season-long loan from Barcelona. Fati was once billed as Lionel Messi's successor at Barca, even taking his No. 10 shirt after the Argentina star left for Paris Saint-Germain, but struggled to make an impact since an injury in 2020.