LONDON: Manchester United, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur are the biggest culprits when it comes to over-spending on players, according to the Soccerex Transfer Review.

Memphis Depay, Christian Benteke and Son Heung Min represented the most unsuccessful signings from last season, based on league minutes played and the transfer fee paid according to the survey compiled Prime Time Sport.

Depay joined Manchester United for €34m from PSV Eindhoven in May 2015 but has struggled to hold down a first-team place at Old Trafford and has only managed two league goals in 30 appearances.

Belgium striker Benteke endured a frustrating single season at Anfield as he only managed nine league goals before being shipped out to Crystal Palace, while Son Heung Min has not featured regularly enough at White Hart Lane to justify his €30m transfer fee.

Manchester United lead the way in terms of over-spending on players over the last four years, with the €75m signing of Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid in 2014 rated the biggest disappointment according to a lack of league minutes played.

Sold off

The fleet-footed Argentina winger was never an integral part of Louis Van Gaal’s reign at Old Trafford and was eventually shipped out to Paris Saint-Germain after a single season at the Theatre of Dreams.

Marouane Fellaini is the other Manchester United player to make the list, despite the Belgium international being part of Jose Mourinho’s encouraging start in the Old Trafford hot seat.

In addition to Benteke, Liverpool also have Lazar Markovic and Mario Balotelli in the top ten and all three have since departed the club either on loan or via a permanent transfer.

Former Tottenham striker Roberto Soldado is also included, as well as Stevan Jovetic and Felipe Luis following their underwhelming spells and a lack of game time at Manchester City and Chelsea respectively.

There are evidently a number of Premier League clubs that are still to find a winning formula in their quest for prolonged success at the top of English football, as shown by increasingly shocking statistics.

Minimal minutes

A vast 950m worth of players (42pc of those costing more than €10m) signed by Premier League sides over the last four seasons have appeared in less than half the minutes of their clubs’ league games.

Over a quarter of signings of more than €10m have already left their clubs and in total 22pc of the total investment in the last four seasons has been made on footballers that played less than 50pc of minutes and 14pc was spent on players that are no longer in the sides.

Premier League Dominates Summer Transfer Window

The Premier League is continuing to splash the cash, being responsible for eight of the top ten most expensive transfers in the summer transfer window.

After the shock title success of underdogs Leicester City in 2015-16, the top clubs used their financial clout in an attempt to resume their places at the top of the tree.

Jose Mourinho’s desire to bring the glory days back to Manchester United has seen him clinch the world-record transfer of midfield powerhouse Paul Pogba for €105m from Juventus, whilst he also completed the signing of Armenia playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Borussia Dortmund for €42m.

The Pep Guardiola revolution at the Etihad Stadium has seen him acquire John Stones from Everton, the most expensive British signing during the window, for €56m, with German starlet Leroy Sané also arriving from boyhood club Schalke for a fee of €45m.

Meanwhile, Arsenal spent a combined total of €86m on Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka and German centre-back Shkrodan Mustafi to boost their title ambitions. Liverpool and Chelsea also invested heavily in the market as they completed the signings of Sadio Mané and Michy Batshuayi respectively, with Chelsea the third highest-spenders in the league  and the fourth highest in Europe.

Out of the top ten signings, the eight transfers that were accounted for by Premier League sides came to a staggering €414m, which is an increase on the 2015/16 season when they had only six of the top ten for a total of €319m.

Serie A made up the rest of top ten as Juventus purchased Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain from Napoli for €90m, whilst Euro 2016 winner JoãoMário made the switch from Sporting Lisbon to Inter Milan for €40m.

Both La Liga and the Bundesliga did not feature in the most expensive signings of the summer transfer window, with clubs in those leagues seemingly happy with their squads after dominating European football in recent seasons.

English clubs still look to Europe

Premier League teams invested over €1.2b in foreign players this summer, 89pc of the total spend, which is the highest amount ever in a single transfer window.

The Premier League remains the driving force in Europe, which has coincided with new lucrative TV rights contracts. There also seems to be no immediate impact of Brexit as Premier League clubs are now spending more money than ever before in Europe.

Premier League dominance becomes even stronger when deducting income from player sales, with a net investment circa €800m. The Bundesliga, La Liga and Serie A have financed most of signings with player sales, while Ligue1 continues to produce players to be sold abroad.

The top five European Leagues’ investment in new players reached yet another all-time record, growing by 9pc to #3.2b. This represents a fourth consecutive year of growth and this is despite the devaluation of the pound.

Other key stats revealed in the review include:

• England’s Championship saw players investment soar to €247m, which is five times more than all other second division leagues combined.

• The two Manchester clubs top the European investment rankings after investing €185m and €174m respectively.

• Six out of the top ten most expensive players in Championship history took place this summer, as sides try to maximize chances of promotion to the EPL and associated rainfall of milions

• Man City’s Nicolas Otamendi was the most profitable signing last season (78pc of minutes), followed by Anthony Martial (Manchester United) and Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich). Christian Benteke (44pc of minutes) and Mateo Kovacic (30pc) were the least used of most expensive signings of last year in Europe

• Liverpool were EPL leaders in player sales income (€79m), having sold players for more than €250m over the last 3 years. Usual suspects Southampton were close behind, selling €76m worth of players this time around.

• Four centre-backs are included as part of the top ten most expensive transfers in the summer. Only one striker, Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi, made the top ten.