Premier League clubs spent £100 million during the January 2024 transfer window, the lowest expenditure in a single window since 2012, when £60 million was spent. This represents a significant decrease from the record £815 million spent in January 2023, according to Deloitte.

Following three record-breaking transfer windows, spending has slowed down. Nevertheless, the total expenditure by English clubs for the 2023-24 season reached £2.5 billion, the second-highest ever. Meanwhile, in Europe’s other major leagues, January spending increased from €255 million to €455 million.

What should we expect this time around? Below are grades for all the major confirmed summer transfers in men’s soccer, with each day’s transactions listed by the highest fee.

Chelsea has continued its strategy of acquiring young talent by signing Kellyman. The 18-year-old moved from Derby County to Aston Villa two years ago and is now switching clubs again.

In the limited senior minutes Kellyman played last season, he demonstrated considerable potential with his smooth turning, intelligent positioning, and versatility to play across the forward line or as a No. 10. Villa will be disappointed to lose him, but it’s a smart business move for the club, which needed to generate revenue before the June 30 PSR deadline.

Qualifying for the Champions League can open new opportunities in the transfer market, and Aston Villa has benefited from this by signing Dutch left-back Maatsen. Maatsen excelled on loan at Borussia Dortmund last season, helping the team reach the Champions League final. His addition strengthens Unai Emery’s squad and provides Chelsea with crucial funds as they face PSR pressure before the June 30 deadline.

In Brazil, many see the next great No. 9 striker emerging, and when Brazilians speak highly of a forward, it’s wise to pay attention. Securing his early transfer is part of Real Madrid’s ongoing strategy to acquire the best Brazilian talent, following Vinícius Júnior and Rodrygo. Though he can’t officially join until he turns 18 on July 21 due to FIFA regulations, his experience and potential make him a valuable addition.

Brentford always stays ahead of the game and prepared well for potential departures of Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbeumo by signing Thiago early. Named Europa Conference League Young Player of the Season for his five goals with Club Brugge, Thiago’s strength and powerful shooting bode well for his transition to the Premier League.

Luis Guilherme, another talented teenager from Palmeiras, has joined West Ham. Although he has only five league starts, his impressive performances both off the bench and in youth tournaments for Brazil highlight his potential. His pace and control in tight spaces are strong, though he needs to work on his weaker right foot. This signing excites the Hammers and provides Palmeiras with another substantial transfer windfall.

De Ketelaere’s €32 million move to AC Milan from Club Brugge in 2022 didn’t pan out, but he found success on loan at Atalanta, making 25 league starts, scoring 10 goals, and assisting eight. His permanent transfer to Atalanta makes sense, given his fit with the team, and the reasonable fee allows Milan to strengthen other areas.

Stuttgart’s rise to second place in the Bundesliga was a highlight of the 2023-24 season, but even Champions League qualification couldn’t prevent top teams from poaching their best players. Ito’s versatility as a left-back and center-back, along with his left-footed play, attracted Bayern Munich. Although €30 million might seem low, it’s still a significant fee for Stuttgart.

Safonov, who has been a mainstay at Krasnodar since his teenage years, is set to join PSG. With over 175 appearances and experience as Russia’s No. 1, he’ll compete with Gianluigi Donnarumma and Arnau Tenas at PSG, with Keylor Navas expected to leave this summer.

Harwood-Bellis played a crucial role in Southampton’s promotion campaign in 2023-24, starting 43 games and excelling in a possession-based style. Achieving promotion triggered a £20 million clause for Southampton to sign him permanently, a deal that benefits all parties, including Manchester City, who continue to profit from their academy players.

FC Nordsjaelland has produced several exciting young wingers, with Osman being the latest talent. Brighton, which previously signed Simon Adingra from the Danish club, knows what they’re doing. Osman scored six goals and provided seven assists in the Danish Superliga in 2023-24.

Schalke has a history of developing top footballers, and Ouédraogo could be the next star. Leipzig capitalized on Schalke’s struggles by activating a €10 million release clause, though there’s a chance Ouédraogo could return on loan after a summer assessment.

Spurs secured Bergvall’s signing in February, ahead of Barcelona. This move completes his rapid rise from the Swedish second division to the Premier League in two years. The €10 million fee is substantial for Djurgårdens, marking the largest outgoing transfer in Allsvenskan history.

Werner’s positive impact on loan at Spurs last season led to another 12-month loan agreement. His direct, quick style suited Postecoglou’s tactics, and his low crosses became a key feature. With Europa League qualification, Spurs need more players, making Werner’s loan a smart, low-risk decision. For RB Leipzig, it’s another year without much return on a player they signed for €20 million from Chelsea in 2022.

Football’s worst-kept secret is out: Mbappé, arguably the world’s best player, will join Real Madrid. This move strengthens Madrid’s already formidable attack and ensures high viewership in the 2024-25 season. Although his signing-on fee is €100 million, it’s not a free transfer, but PSG receives nothing after paying €180 million to sign him from Monaco in 2017.

Dest had an excellent season on loan at PSV Eindhoven in 2023-24, but a torn ACL in April cut his campaign short and caused him to miss the Copa América. PSV’s decision to sign him permanently despite his injury is a calculated risk, but it’s a free transfer after they declined an €11 million option previously. Barcelona, facing registration pressures, benefits from offloading his wages and securing a future transfer fee percentage.

With Profit and Sustainability Rules (PSR) in place, free transfers have become more attractive. Chelsea, despite having a well-stocked defense, signed Adarabioyo for free. He’s developed into a solid center-back with excellent passing during his four seasons at Fulham, who will be disappointed to lose him to their west London rivals.

Similarly, Kelly was one of the most attractive early transfers available for free. His ability to play both left-back and center-back addresses Newcastle’s injury-prone positions, making him a clever addition. His homegrown status and previous experience with manager Eddie Howe add to his appeal.