The Associated PressLONDON (AP) — Fulham signaled its determination to stay in the Premier League by becoming the first promoted team to spend over £100 million ($128 million) in the summer transfer window.
In an abbreviated trading period when English top-flight clubs collectively spent more than £1.2 billion, there was one anomaly by the close of business on Thursday. For the first time since the summer transfer window was introduced 15 years ago, one team spent nothing: Tottenham.
The only addition to the north London club in the new season is a new stadium and even that won’t be ready for the first month — at least.
“It’s not about adding because it’s fashionable to sign players,” Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino said.
Pochettino decided keeping players was the priority after a third successive top-three finish. Harry Kane committed his future to Tottenham before heading to the World Cup and finishing as the top-scorer as England reached the semifinals.
Tottenham did provide the most players to the World Cup semifinalists. But strong performances in Russia weren’t a necessity when it came to Premier League clubs deciding whether to spend the fruits of soccer’s biggest television contracts.
Kepa Arrizabalaga never made it on the pitch for Spain in Russia but Chelsea broke the transfer record for a goalkeeper by meeting an €80 million ($93 million) buyout clause from Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday as a replacement for Thibaut Courtois.
Real Madrid was already pursuing the Belgium goalkeeper before striking the €35 million fee with Chelsea. The west London club did snap up a player from Madrid on loan for the season: Midfielder Mateo Kovacic, who helped Croatia reach the World Cup final where it lost to France.
Last season’s top-two teams spent nothing on Thursday. Champion Manchester City had already signed winger Riyad Mahrez for a club-record £60 million from Leicester. Manchester United signed midfielder Fred, defender Diogo Dalot and goalkeeper Lee Grant last month, but manager Jose Mourinho was left frustrated in his efforts to further strengthen.