English Premier League clubs spent a record £835 million (NZ$1.65 billion) on players during the summer transfer window, almost twice as much as any of Europe's other top leagues.
A study by football finance expert Deloitte showed gross spending in England's top league was up more than 30 percent on the previous record of £630 million (now NZ$1.25 billion) set in 2013.
Spanish clubs were the second-highest spenders of the so-called "big five" divisions in Europe, with an outlay of £425 million (NZ$7842 million), Deloitte said. Italian clubs were next highest on £260 million (NZ$515 million). Germany spent £250 million (NZ$495 million) and France £100 million (NZ$198 million).
Increased domestic and international broadcast deals fuelled the spending by English clubs, with Manchester United paying out about £150 million (NZ$297 million) as part of its rebuilding under Louis van Gaal. That's the most spent by a Premier League club in a summer window.
"We continue to see the increased resources that Premier League clubs enjoy, as a result of improved broadcast deals, translate into investment in players," said Dan Jones, of Deloitte's Sports Business Group.
There was also a record net spend by Premier League clubs of £410 million (NZ$812 million), only marginally higher than the previous highest from last summer with teams still having to abide by financial fair play regulations.
"With Premier League clubs in a stronger position to afford increased transfer and player costs than ever before, the key challenge remains pursuing their ambitions responsibly," Jones said. "Regulations are now in place at both a league and continental level encouraging clubs to balance their costs with revenue."
Will Burnley retain their EPL status?