With a flurry of left-field deals rather than a slew of blockbuster signings, the summer transfer window closed for English clubs yesterday. These are the key trends.
For the first summer since 2009, aggregate spending among Premier League clubs fell year-on-year.
Having obliterated records with a £1.4bn outlay in 2017, the 20 clubs shelled out around £200m less this time, with big-hitters Manchester City and Manchester United buying sparingly and Tottenham not investing a penny.
An earlier transfer deadline and the practical inconvenience of a World Cup and the subsequent delay to players summer holidays did not make trading any easier.
The slowing growth in the value of broadcast rights – Premier League clubs biggest single source of revenue – could also have triggered some uncharacteristic restraint.
Title contenders Liverpool and Chelsea were the top flights two biggest spenders this summer, albeit the latters investment amounted to just two major signings: £72m goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and £57m midfielder Jorginho.
With the rest of the Big Six buying more modestly, it was left to more ambitious mid-table clubs such as Leicester, West Ham and Everton and even newcomers to the division Fulham to splash the most eye-catching levels of cash.
Leicester spent £95m on seven players including deadline-day arrivals Caglar Soyuncu and fellow defender Filip Benkovic.
West Hams signing of forward Lucas from Arsenal yesterday took their total spend to £91m, while Evertons last-minute purchase of Yerry Mina nudged their investment to around £87m.
Fulham topped all of those, betting £100m on surviving their first season back, with midfielder Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa among several late acquisitions.
Despite closing its transfer window early, the Premier League collectively out-spent the other major European leagues by at least £300m.
Juventuss £100m signing of Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid helped take spending in Serie A, the Italian top-flight, to more than £900m, the second highest.
Ronaldo's move to Juventus boosted spending in Italy's Serie A (Source: Getty)
Spains La Liga has spent around £680m, Bundesliga clubs in Germany barely over £400m and French Ligue 1 sides £350m. These leagues can all continue to trade for the next few weeks, however, so these are running totals only.
Englands second tier, the Championship, was the sixth biggest-spending league of the window on £160m.
Where the moneys gone
The bulk of the Premier Leagues spending went overseas, with around £700m flowing to top clubs in Spain, Italy, Germany and France alone.
That was approximately double the sum that went to other Premier League teams and Championships sides, who both received in the region of £170m.
Although La Liga clubs pocketed the biggest share of the spending, almost £190m, that amount paid for 20 players, averaging out at around £9m per signing.
The £175m Serie A teams received from England, however, only covered nine players including the likes of Jorginho – making them more than twice as expensive man for man.
Factor in that £72m of La Ligas take came from one transaction – Kepas move to Chelsea – and the contrast is even more stark.
Incredibly, the two most expensive Premier League signings of the summer window were both goalkeepers – and both for world record fees.
In July Liverpools £67m purchase of Alisson from Roma shattered a record that had lasted for 17 years, since Juventus bought Gianluigi Buffon from Parma in 2001.
Liverpool's £97m signing of Alisson was a world record – briefly (Source: Getty)
Less than a month later, Chelsea raised the bar again, coughing up the £72m required to release Kepa from his contract with Athletic Bilbao after admitting defeat in their battle to keep Thibaut Courtois.
The deals highlight a number of trends: the vast financial muscle of English teams that means barely any player is out of reach, even with punitive fees; the scarcity of world-class goalkeeper and a growing appreciation of the edge they can make, perhaps emphasised by Edersons performances at Manchester City last season; and the shortage of top home-grown stoppers, once something of a British strength.