Top ten biggest spenders in Europe so far this summer…

The numbers are from the glorious transfermarkt. They might not be the numbers you see in your tabloids but they are the most informed of all the prices you will find.


10) Aston Villa (£57.59m)
Players bought: Ollie Watkins (£27.72m, Brentford), Emi Martinez (£15.7m), Matty Cash (£14.18m, Nottingham Forest)
After spending over £140m last summer bought them nothing but a relegation battle, Aston Villa will surely want more bang for their buck from this summer’s largesse in the transfer market. Ollie Watkins has become simultaneously the most expensive player ever bought from a Championship club and Aston Villa’s record signing so the pressure is very much switched to ON. No bedding-in period allowed. Luckily, he opened his account on his first start.


9) Leeds United (£61.38m)
Players bought: Rodrigo (£27m, Valencia), Helder Costa (£15,93m, Wolves), Robin Koch (£11.7m, SC Freiburg), Illan Meslier (£5.85m, FC Lorient), Joe Gelhardt (£900,000, Wigan)
While everyone else fawned over this great Leeds side (who lost), we were having a knee-jerk reaction that Leeds will be involved in a relegation battle this season, alongside the other promoted clubs who have not spent quite so extravagantly. Paying that sort of money for a 29-year-old Rodrigo could be an absolute disaster, while early evidence would suggest that Koch is no Ben White. They may need to spend again.


8) Napoli (£63m)
Players bought: Victor Osimhen (£63m)
A total of 12 players have left Napoli for fees as Gennaro Gattuso attempts a re-boot but all of those lovely eggs have been placed in the basket of Nigerian striker Osimhen. But what a basket. Six goals in four friendly victories suggest that Osimhen could be an extraordinary signing by Napoli (who may even manage to start next season with Kalidou Koulibaly on board after asking Manchester City for over £73m for a 29-year-old and being told to bugger off). Gattuso wants to temper expectations, saying: “It’s not like we suddenly signed Pele or Maradona, we simply brought in a player with certain characteristics that can help us.” Spoilsport.


7) Juventus (£68.85m)
Players bought: Arthur (£64.8m, Barcelona), Weston McKennie (£4.05m loan, FC Schalke 04)
“I want to bring back the enthusiasm, propose a proactive football with great mastery of the game,” said Andrea Pirlo at this Juventus unveiling. “I told the lads two things: you always have to keep the ball and when you lose it, you must get it back quickly.” Be peak Barcelona, basically. It’s telling that Pirlo’s first job is to overhaul the Juventus midfield, bringing in Arthur Melo from Barcelona to play the, erm, Pirlo role. A striker – probably Luis Suarez – will surely follow.


6) Manchester City (£70.92m)
Players bought: Nathan Ake (£40.77m, Bournemouth), Ferran Torres (£20.7m, Valencia), Yan Couto (£5.4m, Coritiba), Issa Kabore (£4.05m, KV Mechelen)
A slow-ish start to the summer transfer window for Manchester City, who have made two sensible but understated signings for the first team. We would expect two or three more to arrive as they attempt to bridge the considerable gap to Liverpool. Another centre-half seems certain to sign, though the price for Koulibaly looks too prohibitive for City’s usual plan of ‘spend a lot but never quite break any records’. Remarkably, they still look no closer to signing a long-term replacement for Sergio Aguero.


5) Benfica (£72m)
Players bought: Darwin Nunez (£21.6m, Almeria), Everton (£18m, Gremio), Pedrinho (£16.2m, Corinthians), Luca Waldschmidt (£13.5m, Freiburg), Gilberto (£2.7m, Fluminense)
That’s a whole lot of money to spend only to be knocked out of the Champions League by PAOK even before the Portuguese league season has started. Perhaps it might have been sensible to give a start to Nunez, who had become the most expensive signing in the league’s history after just one season in the Spanish second flight.


4) Atletico Madrid (£81m)
Players bought: Alvaro Morata (£50.4m, Chelsea), Yannick Carrasco (£24.3m, DL Pro), Ivo Grbic (£6.3m, NK Lokomotiva)
It’s no kind of fun when the players you sign in the summer were already in the team last season, but the good news is that Atletico were unbeaten in La Liga after February 1’s defeat to Real Madrid, which was Carrasco’s first game for Atletico. There will have to be outgoings before they spend again, which could mean an Arsenal exit for Thomas Partey.


3) Inter Milan (£81.45m)
Players bought: Achraf Hakimi (£36m, Real Madrid), Nicola Barella (£22.5m, Cagliari), Stefano Sensi (£18m, Sassuolo), Darian Males (£3.6m, FC Luzern), Aleksandar Kolarov (£1.35m, Roma).
Inter have also brought in Alexis Sanchez on a permanent deal so it’s fair to say that Inter are backing Antonio Conte after dodging a parting of ways in the summer, though both Barella and Sensi were on loan last season. The rapid Hakimi has come in as a specialist right wing-back so say a prayer for poor Victor Moses, back at Chelsea and playing in a development game alongside Danny Drinkwater this week.


2) Barcelona (£92.7m)
Players bought: Miralem Pjanic (£54m, Juventus), Trincao (£27.9m, Braga), Matheus Fernandes (£6.3m, Palmeiras), Pedri (£4.5m, Las Palmas).
Let Sid Lowe explain why Barcelona did that deal for Pjanic. Perhaps at some point we will see some new arrivals that actual coach Ronald Koeman wants to make to improve this faltering side, but we suspect that may never happen. Certainly, touted moves for a variety of Dutchmen have so far come to nothing. He will have to be content with heralding Philippe Coutinho as ‘like a new signing’.


1) Chelsea (£200.88m)
Players bought: Kai Havertz (£72m, Bayer Leverkusen), Timo Werner (£47.7m, RB Leipzig), Ben Chilwell (£45.18m, Leicester City), Hakim Ziyech (£36m, Ajax)
So far ahead of the opposition that it feels like they are playing a different game in a different 2020 to their European rivals. The problem for Frank Lampard now is that you cannot spend so much money and not deliver a title challenge. The victory over Brighton on Monday suggested that might not happen any time soon.