French clubs smash transfer spending records

Paris (AFP) – Clubs in the top two divisions in France spent a record 697 million euros ($830mn) in the close season, the French league (LFP) announced on Monday.

The total expenditure was more than four times the amount spent by French professional teams 12 months ago, led by Neymar’s world-record breaking move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain for 222 million euros.

The sum is in reality even more, as it does not include the deal for PSG to buy Kylian Mbappe from Ligue 1 champions Monaco, as the capital-city club signed the 18-year-old on an initial season-long loan with an option to buy for a potential 180mn euros, in an apparent attempt to avoid UEFA Financial Fair-Play sanctions.

“The total amount of purchases were four times the amount of 2016, reaching a total of 697mn euros of investment,” the LFP said in a statement.

“In the opposite direction, the total amount of sales doubled to 619mn euros.

“These figures do not include options to buy for players on loan, including Kylian Mbappe.”

PSG’s stunning forays into the transfer market boosted the figures significantly, although Monaco also spent some of the money they received for the likes of Bernardo Silva, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Benjamin Mendy.

Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim splashed out more than 70mn euros on the likes of Youri Tielemans, Keita Balde and Stevan Jovetic.

Despite the record figures, the total spend of the top two tiers in France pales in comparison to the TV-rights rich English Premier League, as its 20 clubs shelled out £1.4 billion (1.5 billion euros) during the transfer window.

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