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Saudi Pro League clubs spend US$957 million in record-breaking football transfer window

  • Saudi Pro League clubs’ gross spend in the 2023 summer transfer window was US$957 million 
  • The league’s net transfer spend of US$907 million was significantly higher than other ‘big five’ leagues, second only to the Premier League’s net transfer spend (US$1.39 billion)
  • The Saudi Pro League acquired 94 overseas players including 37 from Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues. The highest number of acquisitions came from the Premier League at a gross value of US$312million 
  • Almost half of the transfer fees received by Premier League clubs from overseas (US$698 million) came from Saudi Pro League clubs (US$312 million). Across the rest of Europe, receipts from Saudi Pro League clubs were US$148 million, US$122 million, U$116 million and US$32 million in Ligue 1, Serie A, La Liga and Bundesliga respectively.

Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 8 September 2023 – The 2023 summer transfer window saw Saudi Pro League clubs spend a record US$957 million, according to Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, resulting in a net spend of US$907 million, second only to the Premier League’s net transfer spend (US$1.39 billion). Gross transfer spend across Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues totaled US$6.10 billion in this summer’s window, an almost US$1.25 billion increase on last summer’s total (2022: US$4.85 billion). Gross spend increased compared to the previous summer in all the ‘big five’ leagues except La Liga.

Almost half of the transfer fees received by Premier League clubs from overseas (US$698 million) came from Saudi Pro League clubs. These transfer receipts (US$312 million) were concentrated among eight clubs, with four of these among the Premier League’s ‘big six’. Two Premier League clubs, Fulham and Liverpool, saw 100% of their transfer receipts come from Saudi Pro League clubs.

Across the rest of Europe, receipts from Saudi Pro League clubs were at US$148 million, US$122 million, US$116 million and US$32 million in Ligue 1, Serie A, La Liga and Bundesliga respectively.

Izzy Wray, Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said, “The ambitious number of player acquisitions and the caliber of players signed by Saudi Pro League clubs demonstrate the Kingdom’s commitment to propelling the SPL to become a leading football league on the world-stage. This is still early days of what we can call phase one of the Saudi Pro League project, and the futuristic view is also reflected by the lowered average age of the league compared to last season.” 

“This marks the first time since 2016 that another international league has outspent any of Europe’s ‘big five’ during a football transfer window, with new players bringing the promise of new fans and partners to strengthen the SPL’s prominence. European football continues to be the benchmark for the game globally, and the Saudi investment in the game will divert its focus towards the infrastructure, to elevate the level of Asian football.”

“The SPL spending is still at one third of the Premier League’s gross spend this summer, the focus of Saudi clubs will now be on securing the success of the league’s transformation journey and its financial sustainability. The development of the league will depend on growing the professionalization and governance of clubs, the development of young playing talent and attracting a new, international fanbase.” 

“The implementation of the Kingdom’s privatization program is likely to draw a wave of interest around the SPL, potentially fueling the current spending pattern for the windows to come. With the spending power of the SPL already surpassing some of Europe’s ‘big five’, it remains to be seen the impact this will have on the make-up of elite football for future generations.”  

Press contact

Bassel Barakat
External Communications | PR and Media

Click here for the Arabic version

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