PARIS (AFP) – While Premier League clubs have been relatively subdued in the January transfer window, Germany has led the way on the continent with a record spending spree in the Bundesliga, including Borussia Dortmund’s signing of Erling Braut Haaland.
German clubs set a new record of EUR196 million (USD217 million) on transfers in this window, smashing the previous best mark of EUR100 million set in the 2016/17 season.
Like in England and Scotland, the transfer window closed in Germany, Spain, Italy and France on Friday evening, but the most notable deals in Europe happened before January began.
Haaland, the 19-year-old Norwegian prodigy, agreed his move from RB Salzburg in late December. He has scored five goals in just two appearances for his new club.
“The market is limited, the supply of players is limited and the willingness to let someone go is also limited,” claimed Dortmund Sporting Director Michael Zorc.
However, they got their man for an initial transfer fee of around EUR20 million (USD22 million), not including other payments built into the deal.
Fellow German title contenders RB Leipzig have also splashed out on a promising young talent, recruiting Spanish under-21 star Dani Olmo from Dinamo Zagreb for a similar fee.
Hertha Berlin, who have ambitions under head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, spent around EUR41 million in the last few days on Polish striker Krzysztof Piatek from AC Milan and Brazil under-20 forward Matheus Cunha from RB Leipzig.
The capital club also splashed EUR25 million at the start of the week on French midfielder Lucas Tousart from Lyon.
In Spain, meanwhile, the window has proved something of a damp squib for La Liga’s leading clubs.
Real Madrid and Barcelona stayed relatively quiet, and the more interesting deals were done elsewhere, including Paco Alcacer moving to Villarreal from Dortmund, and maverick former France international Hatem Ben Arfa surprisingly arriving at Valladolid.
Both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid failed in their pursuit of a striker. Indeed, Barca spent the start of the new year preoccupied with changing their coach, as Quique Setien replaced Ernesto Valverde in the dugout.
The Catalans did want Valencia striker Rodrigo Moreno but negotiations broke down, while Atletico’s hopes of signing Edinson Cavani from Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) also ended in disappointment.
Instead Atletico – 10 points behind La Liga leaders Real and with just 22 goals scored in 21 games – have brought Belgian winger Yannick Carrasco back for a second spell as he joins on loan from Chinese outfit Dalian Yifang.
Atletico had been prepared to pay up to EUR15 million for Cavani, but even that amount could not persuade PSG to part with a striker who is out of favour and will be out of contract at the season’s end.
“We never wanted to sell him but there was a time when we were studying offers,” PSG sporting director Leonardo said on Friday.
“I don’t think six and a half years at a club can be wiped out in just two weeks of talks.”
Cavani signed for PSG in 2013 and has gone on to become their all-time leading scorer with 198 goals, but he has played second fiddle this season to on-loan Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi.
PSG, for once, have not spent any money in this transfer window, with Lyon and Monaco – both off the pace in Ligue 1 – the busiest clubs in France.