Mbappe joins PSG but other deals collapse in record transfer window
Paris Saint-Germain signed teenage star Kylian Mbappe in a deal that could make him the second most expensive player in history, but the record-breaking transfer window closed in England late Thursday without moves for big names including Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez.
Premier League clubs spent a record £1.4 billion ($1.8 billion, 1.5 billion euros) in the transfer window, capped by a final day splurge of £210 million, cementing its position as Europe’s richest league.
But the most eye-catching deal of the day saw 18-year-old Mbappe join PSG on a season-long loan less than a month after the club rocked world football by signing Brazilian superstar Neymar in a world record 222 million euro ($264 million) deal.
Mbappe is expected to sign a permanent contract for 180 million euros next year in a move designed to prevent PSG falling foul of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations.
Europe’s governing body are however set to scrutinise the deal.
“I really wanted to be a part of the club’s project, which is one of the most ambitious in Europe,” said Mbappe, who celebrated his move by scoring his first goal for France in a 4-0 World Cup qualifying win over Netherlands.
PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi hailed Mbappe, who exploded onto the scene last season during Monaco’s run to the French title, as a star of the future.
“Among players of his age, he is without doubt the most promising in the world,” he said.
In the scramble to replace Neymar after his unexpected exit, Barcelona have already spent 105 million euros, in a deal that could rise to 145 million euros, to lure another France starlet, Ousmane Dembele, from Borussia Dortmund.
Liverpool have resisted Barcelona’s attempts to bring Philippe Coutinho to Camp Nou, rejecting three offers for Neymar’s Brazil team-mate.
But while the deadline has passed in England, France, Germany and Italy, clubs in Spain remained open for business until midnight Friday and Barca could yet test Liverpool’s resolve again.
Coutinho scored in Brazil’s 2-0 World Cup qualifier against Ecuador Thursday.
Both Liverpool and Arsenal missed out on Monaco winger Thomas Lemar, who starred with two goals in France’s win over the Dutch in Paris.
“I’m a Monaco player,” Lemar told Canal+. “I’m very happy there.”
Arsenal managed to hold on to star forward Sanchez after rebuffing an improved second bid for him from Manchester City, reportedly worth an initial £55 million plus add-ons.
But with Lemar reportedly refusing to move to Arsenal, the club’s fans will see this transfer window as a huge disappointment.
Barkley snubs Chelsea
That feeling was underlined when Liverpool tempted Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain away from Arsenal, reportedly paying £35 million to sign the England midfielder on a five-year contract.
“I know my choice might come as a surprise to many,” Oxlade-Chamberlain said on Twitter.
“But I feel that this move is right for the next stage in my ongoing development.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain follows Mohamed Salah, Andy Robertson and Dominic Solanke through the door at Anfield, while Naby Keita will arrive from RB Leipzig next year in a club-record deal worth over £48 million.
Making room for the new arrivals, French centre-back Mamadou Sakho returned to Crystal Palace, where he spent part of last season on loan, in a £26 million deal, while Belgian striker Divock Origi was loaned to Wolfsburg.
Chelsea completed a £35 million deal to sign Danny Drinkwater from Leicester City, but missed out on Everton’s Ross Barkley, whose agent allegedly said the player had changed his mind about joining the champions despite having agreed personal terms.
Chelsea also brought in Italy right-back Davide Zappacosta from Torino.
Leicester’s unsettled Riyad Mahrez could also be a late target for a Spanish club.
Tottenham completed deals for PSG right-back Serge Aurier and Swansea’s Spanish striker Fernando Llorente.
Spurs are believed to have paid £23 million for the controversial Aurier, who received a two-month suspended prison sentence last year for assaulting a police officer.
Wilfried Bony returned from Manchester City to take Llorente’s place at Swansea, who pulled off a major coup by signing 20-year-old Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches from Bayern Munich on a season-long loan.
‘EPL can afford it’
Sanches, voted Young Player of the Tournament at Euro 2016, will rejoin forces with Swansea manager Paul Clement, who was previously Carlo Ancelotti’s assistant at Bayern.
Accountants Deloitte said Premier League clubs’ spending was sustainable given a background of hugely increased revenue from TV rights.
“When analysed in the context of generating record broadcast, commercial and matchday revenues, Premier League clubs are spending well within their means,” Deloitte’s Dan Jones said.
In Germany, World Cup winner Benedikt Hoewedes reluctantly moved to Italian champions Juventus after losing his place at Schalke in a loan deal that could be made permanent.
And Dortmund gave Dembele’s number seven shirt to 17-year-old England youth international Jadon Sancho, signed from Manchester City.
Sancho has never played a senior match yet still cost around eight million euros.
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