Press releases

Premier League clubs spend £430m in January window, smashing the previous record by £205m

1 February 2018

  • Total expenditure in the January 2018 transfer window is the highest ever, beating the previous record of £225m in January 2011;
  • Premier League clubs spend a record £1.9 billion in the 2017/18 season, eclipsing last season’s record of £1.4 billion;
  • Deadline day expenditure by Premier League clubs of £150m is a new January window record;
  • Total player sales of £340m is also the highest ever for a January window, but this still resulted in net transfer expenditure of £90m.

Premier League clubs’ spent a record-breaking £430m in the January 2018 transfer window, according to analysis by Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, exceeding the previous record set in January 2011 by £205m (91%). As a result of two consecutive record transfer windows, the first time this has happened in a decade, Premier League clubs’ total spending for the 2017/18 season is an estimated £1.9 billion, growing for the sixth consecutive season and eclipsing last season’s previous record high by 35%.

Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, commented, “Premier League clubs have taken the opportunity to refresh their squads in January before the decisive phase of the season. International trade has flourished, with the highest ever January gross overseas outlay in Premier League history (£260m), but also the highest amount of January receipts from abroad (£185m), with names such as Coutinho and Costa leaving the UK and Laporte and Aubameyang arriving from abroad.”

“While another record-breaking season catches the eye, Premier League clubs’ expenditure continues to be well within their means in the context of revenue generated. Estimated 2017/18 net spend of £755m represents just 17% of forecast 2017/18 Premier League revenue, in line with the average over the 15 years since the first transfer window in January 2003, as clubs’ increase investment in players in proportion to the overall growth of the football business.”

Recent January windows have seen the Premier League’s bottom six clubs contribute the majority of gross expenditure, as they invest in an attempt to ensure survival. However, the January 2018 window produced a trend more commonly associated with the summer windows, as total expenditure by clubs in the ‘big six’ came to £265m, representing 62% of total gross spending, contrasting against January 2017 when half of gross expenditure came from the relegation threatened bottom-six clubs.

Jones continued: “Such is the level of competition for a coveted top-four position in the Premier League, as well as ongoing European battles, that top clubs have been willing to break with more traditional summer investment strategies to steal a march on their rivals mid-season, with several club transfer records being broken in this window.”

Some of the key findings from the analysis of the January 2018 transfer window by Deloitte include:

  • Premier League clubs spent a record £430m to acquire new players in the January 2018 transfer window (2017: £215m; 2016: £175m; 2015: £130m; 2014: £130m; 2013: £120m). A summary of Premier League clubs’ player transfer fees spending for each of the January transfer windows (2003-2018) is set out in the chart below;
  • Premier League clubs recorded net transfer spend of £90m despite a record amount of player transfer receipts of £340m in a January window (2017: net receipts of £40m; 2016: net spend of £100m; 2015: net spend of £40m; 2014: net spend of £35m; 2013: net spend of £70m);
  • The ‘big six’ Premier League clubs accounted for 62% of total gross expenditure, with clubs currently in the bottom six of the table spending £90m (21% of total gross expenditure);
  • Total gross expenditure in the January 2018 transfer window is more than that spent in each of the summer transfer windows from 2003 to 2006;
  • Deadline day expenditure by Premier League clubs totalled £150m (2017: £60m), representing the highest ever January deadline day spend, exceeding the previous record set in January 2011 of £135m;
  • Championship clubs spent a total of £30m, a decrease of more than 60% on last year’s total of £80m; and
  • The Premier League was again the highest-spending league in European football during the January transfer window (£430m/€490m). The next-highest spending league was La Liga, with total transfer expenditure of around £250m/€285m. Clubs in the Bundesliga spent around £65m/€75m, with Ligue 1 clubs spending around £50m/€55m. Serie A clubs spent around £20m/€25m.

End

Note to editors

Basis of preparation
Deloitte has collated and analysed clubs' player transfer fees for each transfer window since January 2003. The information on player transfers is based on publicly available information in respect of player registration acquisitions by clubs, including from www.bbc.co.uk and www.premierleague.com, and further analysis carried out by the Sports Business Group at Deloitte. The information is based on reported transfers as at 01:00 GMT on 1 February 2018. Further commentary about the transfer market is included in the Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance. The figures contained in this release will not necessarily be the same as the cost of acquiring players’ registrations as recognised in the financial statements of each club. Under accounting requirements, the cost of acquiring a player’s registration includes the transfer fee payable (including any probable contingent amounts), plus other direct costs such as transfer fee levy and fees to agents. An FX rate of £1=€1.14 has been used for conversion of European league spending figures.

About the Sports Business Group at Deloitte
Over the last 20 years Deloitte has developed a unique focus on the business of sport. Our specialist Sports Business Group offers a multi-disciplined expert service with dedicated people and skills capable of adding significant value to the business of sport. Whether it is benchmarking or strategic business reviews, operational turnarounds, revenue enhancement strategies or stadium/venue development plans, business planning, market and demand analysis, acquisitions, due diligence, expert witness, audits or tax planning; we have worked with more clubs, leagues, governing bodies, stadia developers, event organisers, commercial partners, financiers and investors than any other adviser.

For further information on our services you can access our website at www.deloitte.co.uk/sportsbusinessgroup

About Deloitte
In this press release references to “Deloitte” are references to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”) a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see deloitte.com/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

Deloitte LLP is a subsidiary of Deloitte NWE LLP, which is a member firm of DTTL, and is among the UK's leading professional services firms.

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

For more information, please visit www.deloitte.co.uk.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited

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