In the ten years since the transfer window was introduced in January 2003, Premier League clubs have spent more than £4.4billion on players, with this summer's collective bill almost matching the record £500million set in 2008.
The £490million total for 2012 was marginally up on the £485million spent this time last summer, with more than £110million exchanging hands on Friday's deadline day - £10million more than 31 August 2011.
Major moves this summer included Robin van Persie's £24million switch from Arsenal to Manchester United, and Chelsea's £32million purchase of Eden Hazard from Lille. Manchester City completed a £16million deadline day deal for midfielder Javi Garcia, while Tottenham secured the £11.8million signature of French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Newly-promoted Southampton captured Uruguayan winger Gaston Ramirez from Bologna for a club-record £12million, taking their expenditure just short of £30million - only three years after coming out of administration.
A total of five Premier League clubs spent more than ¬30million this summer - Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City - but only two breached the £50million mark, that each of those clubs spent last summer.
Roberto Di Matteo's side led the way, as the Blues looked to capitalise on their Champions League success by further strengthening their squad, spending close to £75million on the likes of Hazard (¬£32m), Brazilian midfielder Oscar (£25m), Victor Moses from Wigan (£9m) and young Spanish right-back Cesar Azpilicueta from Marseille (¬£7m).
Tottenham bought Jan Vertonghen from Ajax (£12m), Gylfi Sigurdsson from Hamburg (£8m), and Emmanuel Adebayor from Manchester City (£5m) before Andre Villas-Boas made late moves for Fulham duo Mousa Dembele (£15m) and Clint Dempsey (£6m), as well as landing Hugo Lloris from Lyon (£12m) to take Spurs' total spending close to £60million.
Sir Alex Ferguson spent almost £40million on the attacking additions of Van Persie (£24m), Japanese playmaker Shinji Kagawa from Borussia Dortmund (£12m), and Crewe Alexandra's highly rated prospect Nick Powell (£3m).
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger also made an uncharacteristic splash in the transfer market, shelling out £37million on Malaga's Santi Cazorla (£16m), Cologne's Lukas Podolski (£11m), and Montpellier's Olivier Giroud (£10m). However, the club did recoup more than that from the £24million sale of their former captain, and Cameroonian midfielder Alex Song to Barcelona for £15million.
Notoriously big-spenders Manchester City had a relatively quiet window, with their only big signing proving to be Jack Rodwell from Everton (£15m), until the deadline day captures of Inter Milan's Maicon (£3m), and Javi Garcia from Benfica (£16m) - a total of £34million.
Liverpool meanwhile, spent £29million on three players - Swansea's Joe Allen (£15m), Roma striker Fabio Borini (£11m) and Oussama Assaidi (£3m) from Eredivisie side Heerenveen. Brendan Rodgers also negotiated a deal for young German forward Samed Yesil from Bayer Leverkusen for a fee believed to be in the region of £1million.
But, despite the Reds' revised transfer policy in this summer's market, they remain the third biggest spenders of all Premier League clubs over the past decade, with £414million going on Liverpool transfer fees, ahead of Tottenham (£368m), Manchester United (£352m), and Arsenal (£214m).
Sheikh Mansour's investment in Manchester City over the past few seasons means the Citizens occupy second place having spent close to £590million, while Roman Abramovich's billions give Chelsea first spot with a total bill of £681million, according to research conducted by Deloitte's Sports Business Group.
Around £300million of the overall money spent this summer was paid to clubs abroad, while a further £50million went to those in the Football League, leaving around £140million retained by England's top-flight sides.
While the highest levels of spending continue to be at those clubs competing in the higher echelons of the Premier League and in European competition, this year has also seen significant investment by the newly promoted teams looking to establish themselves.
A key challenge for clubs now is how best to manage costs - notably transfer expenditure moving forward - and players' wages. With UEFA's financial fair play regulations on the horizon, top teams hoping to play in Europe cannot afford to ignore the ruling that means clubs cannot spend more than they earn.