Premier League Transfer Spending Falls But Still Tops $1.5 Billion

Premier League Transfer Spending Falls But Still Tops $1.5 Billion


Spainish goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga was the most expensive player signed by a Premier League club during the transfer window. He joined Chelsea for a fee of £71.6 million ($92 million) from Athletic Bilbao. (Photo: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)

English Premier League clubs spent £1.2 billion ($1.5 billion) on new players in the transfer window, down for the first time since 2010, according to analysis by Deloitte’s Sports Business Group.

The transfer window, which closed at 5 p.m. GMT on Aug. 9, saw transfer expenditure fall after seven consecutive seasons of growth.

The previous spending record, set last summer, was £1.4 billion ($1.8 billion).

Liverpool were the league’s biggest spenders, splashing out on the likes of Alisson and Naby Keïta to spend an estimated £165 million ($211 million). They were followed by Chelsea (£120m / $154m), promoted Fulham (£105m / $134m) and Leicester (£100m / $128m). Together, the four clubs accounted for about 40% of the league’s gross transfer spend.

Three clubs recorded net player receipts – Newcastle, Watford and Tottenham Hotspur. The latter is the only club in the league who did not sign or sell a player during the window.

The average gross player transfer expenditure for a Premier League club in the 2018 summer window was £61 million ($78m) down £10 million ($13m) from last year.

Deloitte’s Sports Business Group Director, Tim Bridge, said: “Premier League clubs’ gross player transfer expenditure of £1.2 billion continues to demonstrate the sheer purchasing power of the most commercially successful football league in the world.

“With Premier League clubs’ aggregate revenues forecast to reach £5 billion ($6.4 billion) in 2018/19, clubs can well-afford to significantly invest in on-pitch talent in the quest for both success and survival.”

Transfers between Premier League clubs were relatively rare compared with previous windows, accounting for £175 million ($224.4m) or 14% of spending, a record low percentage across summer transfer windows. This includes Riyad Mahrez, who joined champions Manchester City from Leicester City for £60 million ($77 million), that could rise to £75 million ($96 million) with add-ons.

“On balance, the earlier deadline for the transfer-in of players may have contributed towards a reduction in gross player transfer spending by the Premier League clubs,” Bridge said.

“Unlike previous seasons, after 9 August, clubs cannot make late player acquisitions either reacting to their early season performances, or immediately utilizing proceeds arising from any late player sales to overseas clubs.”

The transfer fees paid to acquire players from overseas clubs reached a record £880 million ($1.12 billion), up from £770 million ($987m) last summer.

Premier League clubs voted to close the window early this summer, meaning clubs in the rest of Europe still have until later in the month to purchase players.

According to Deloitte, across the other ‘big five’ top divisions of Europe, the next highest spending league is Serie A, with a reported gross spend of around £910m ($1.16b). La Liga (£680m / $872m) is next, then the Bundesliga (£400m / $513m) and Ligue 1 (£350m / $449m).

Since the introduction of the player transfer window system in January 2003, aggregate gross player transfer spending has exceeded £11.9 billion ($15.2b), with around 82% of this spent in summer transfer windows.


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