The top-spending leagues of summer 2023: Saudi Pro League above La Liga…

The summer 2023 transfer is in full swing and – as we’re increasingly becoming accustomed to these days – there are some mindblowing figures being spent, particularly in the Premier League.

But this year could present something of a sea change in the old established order of football, with the Saudi Pro League muscling in the territory of Europe’s five major leagues.

We’ve taken a closer look at the totals spent on transfers in the six top-spending leagues in the world this summer. Note: all figures are via Transfermarkt.

6. La Liga – €249million

Gone are the days when Real Madrid and Barcelona would blow one another out of the water by bringing in the likes of Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez and Neymar. The two clubs have scaled things back considerably in recent years, with Barcelona forced into relative frugality amid their serious financial woes and Real Madrid renovating the Santiago Bernabeu for a reported total cost of almost €1billion.

Still, while Madrid’s net spend is actually remarkably low in recent years, Florentino Perez remains a sucker for a Galactico signing – with Jude Bellingham arriving for a mammoth €103million fee. That accounts for almost half of the Spanish top flight’s total spend this summer – and it remains to be seen whether they can push the boat out and make another big splash by landing Kylian Mbappe.

Reigning champions Barcelona, meanwhile, have signed Oriol Romeu for just €3million, while signing Inigo Martinez and Ilkay Gundogan as free transfers.

5. Saudi Pro League – €300million

Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival back in January was perhaps an early indication that Saudi Arabia were seriously intent on flexing their muscles in the world of football.

Many of the major headline-making signings this summer have actually joined on free transfers (Karim Benzema, Roberto Firmino, N’Golo Kante) or for relatively low fees (Alex Telles, Jordan Henderson) – but where the Saudi Pro League clubs are lacking in transfer spend they make up for in paying out exorbitant wages.

And there have been some notable transfer fees paid out, too – nine of the league’s all-time top transfers have taken place this summer, with Malcom (€60million), Ruben Neves (€55million) and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (€40million) at the top of the list, all brought in by current champions Al-Hilal.

Expect this number to grow exponentially in the coming weeks. Mbappe alone – with a world-record bid tabled to PSG – would double the total spend singlehandedly. Ridiculous numbers.

READ: Barcelona star among 7 big-name players that turned down Saudi Arabia

4. Bundesliga – €448million

As ever, there’s been the usual summer exodus of star players leaving the Bundesliga – with Jude Bellingham (Real Madrid), Dominik Szoboszlai (Liverpool), Christopher Nkunku (Chelsea) and Moussa Diaby (Aston Villa) departing for pastures new.

But there have also been a number of eye-catching additions moving in the other direction, with Min-Jae Kim (€50million, Bayern Munich), Lois Openda (€43million, RB Leipzig), Benjamin Sesko (€24million, RB Leipzig) among the players watching out for in the German top flight in 2023-24.

3. Ligue 1 – €456million

It’s been an interesting summer for PSG, with Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos already out the door and Kylian Mbappe’s immediate future in serious doubt after he reportedly informed the club he won’t be extending his current deal beyond 2024.

But PSG show no signs of slowing down when it comes to bolstering Luis Enrique’s squad. Manuel Ugarte, Lucas Hernandez and Hugo Ekitike have already arrived for over €100million combined.

Elsewhere, the likes of Terem Moffi, Enzo Le Fee and Renan Lodi have joined Nice, Rennes and Marseille for considerable fees.

2. Serie A – €520.million

We’re not quite in the lavish days of the 90s and early 2000s, when the Italian top flight was the top-spending league in the world.

The likes of Juventus, AC Milan and Inter have their own issues behind the scenes, but Serie A currently finds itself ahead of Spain, Germany and France when it comes to transfer spending.

No transfer this summer has amounted to any more than €30million, but there’s been lots of business. Milan have been the most active club, bringing in Christian Pulisic, Samuel Chukqueze, Ruben Loftus-Cheek so far for a relatively modest €56million all-in.

1. Premier League – €1.34billion

No surprises, as ever.

The world’s most-watched football league has also been the most lucrative for some time. There’s no sign of that changing any time soon, with over €1.3billion spent and over a month of the transfer window still to go.

Declan Rice becomes the league’s record signing, having left West Ham United to join Arsenal for a £105million fee, but there are huge sums being spent from top-to-bottom.

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