Premier League clubs’ transfer spending cut

1 February 2012 - Premier League clubs spent around £60m in the January transfer window, according to analysis by business advisory firm Deloitte, a reduction of 70% on the record level of £225m in January 2011.

Dan Jones, Partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, commented: “After last year’s bout of big money transfers that drove the record total spend of £225m, January 2012 has seen a more sober level of spending amongst Premier League clubs.

“In the decade since the introduction of transfer windows, January has typically been a relatively quiet window with total spending driven by a few high value transfers, as was certainly the case with the chain of events on last year’s deadline day. The £60m spent in January 2012 is back to a similar level as the January windows in 2004 to 2007, and still ahead of the investment in players by top division clubs in other European leagues.”

Commenting on the downturn in transfer window activity, Dan Jones added: “As clubs are now in the reporting period that will count towards the first assessment for UEFA’s financial fair play break-even requirement, their comparative restraint is indicative of an overriding reflection on spending levels. The focus on football’s future financial sustainability is more prevalent in Europe than at any time in the past 20 years and, going forward we remain keen to see that translated into a better balance between revenue and expenditure.”

Some of the key findings from the analysis by Deloitte include:

  • Premier League clubs have committed to around £60m in respect of player transfer fees in January 2012 (2011: £225m; 2010: £30m).  A summary of the total player transfer fees for each of the ten January transfer windows (2003-12) are set out in the chart below.
  • Premier League clubs concluded around £30m of transfer fees on deadline day.  The equivalent deadline day figure in January 2011 was £135m, and for summer 2011 it was around £100m.
  • The top spenders in this window were Chelsea, Queens Park Rangers and Newcastle, together contributing over half of the total spending.  In January 2011, around 80% of the total spending of £225m was concentrated across just four clubs (Chelsea, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Manchester City).
  • There were no single player acquisitions by a Premier League club for more than £15m in this January window, compared to six such transfers in January 2011. 
  • Spending with overseas clubs accounted for £30m (50%) of Premier League clubs’ gross transfer spending, followed by spending with Premier League clubs (£15m, 25%) and with Football League clubs (£15m, 25%).
  • This year is the 10th January transfer window, with Premier League clubs accumulating around £925m of transfer spending in these 10 windows.  Over the past decade, on average the transfer spending in January is equivalent to around one-fifth of total transfer spending in each year.
  • Premier League clubs’ net transfer spend was around £25m (2011: £90m; 2010: £10m), being the net amount that flows to overseas clubs and Football League clubs.
  • Over the past decade Premier League clubs’ January transfer spending has typically exceeded that in other European leagues.  In January 2012 the top division clubs in each of France, Germany and Italy have reportedly had total transfer fees of around 80% of the level of Premier League clubs.
    Looking ahead to the summer 2012 transfer window, Dan Jones commented: “Whilst it’s been a relatively sparse January, we can again expect an active summer window following Euro 2012.  The global popularity of the English game helps drive continuing growth for Premier League clubs’ revenues, with transfer spending further supplemented from the pockets of some owners.”

    When the Deloitte Football Money League is published in February, it will confirm the position of several Premier League clubs amongst the ‘Top 20’ highest revenue generators in the world.

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The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

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