Records tumble as Premier League clubs spend £815m in January transfer window has been saved
Records tumble as Premier League clubs spend £815m in January transfer window
1 February 2023
- Premier League club’s gross spend of £815m during the 2023 January transfer window was the largest ever - 90% higher than the previous record (£430m in 2018) and almost triple the previous January window (£295m);
- Premier League clubs also set a record for net transfer expenditure during a January window with a net spend of £720m, eclipsing the previous record set in January 2022 (£180m);
- Combined with the record spend during the summer transfer window (£1.9bn), Premier League clubs have spent a total of £2.8bn during the 2022/23 season, a new all-time high;
- Deadline day expenditure by Premier League clubs of £275m is also a new January window record, an increase of 83% over the previous record of £150m set in January 2018;
- The top six revenue-generating Premier League clubs accounted for 54% of the total gross transfer expenditure by the league, with Chelsea accounting for 37% of the total league spend;
- Premier League clubs accounted for 79% of total spending across Europe’s ‘big five’ football leagues - marking the highest proportion ever reported;
- Transfer spending fell across the rest of Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues, from €396m in in the January 2022 window to €255m;
- The total gross transfer expenditure for English Football League clubs during the January 2023 window totals £25m, up from £20m in January 2022.
Premier League clubs spent a record-breaking £815m in the January 2023 transfer window, according to analysis from Deloitte’s Sports Business Group. Gross transfer expenditure was almost triple Premier League clubs’ spending in January 2022.
Following the record-breaking 2022 summer transfer window (£1.9bn), Premier League clubs have spent a total of £2.8bn overall on player transfers during the 2022/23 season, overtaking the previous record of £1.9bn set in the 2017/18 window by 47%.
Tim Bridge, lead partner in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said: “The record spending by Premier League clubs this season is beyond anything that we've seen before. It is a clear indication of talent acquisition being core to Premier League clubs’ business strategies. In securing the best available talent, clubs hope to improve results on the field, which in turn will enhance the appeal of the Premier League and further cement its position at the very top of world football.
“Premier League clubs have outspent those within the rest of Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues by almost four to one in this transfer window, allowing them to hold on to their key players, while attracting top-talent from overseas.
“However, while there is a clear need to invest in squad size and quality to retain a competitive edge, there will always be a fine balance to strike between prioritising success on-pitch and maintaining financial sustainability.”
Premier League spending power
Over 85% of gross Premier League clubs’ spending was directed towards acquiring players playing outside the UK in the 2023 winter transfer window - the highest ever share of transfer expenditure flowing outside of the Premier League.* By contrast, £25m was spent on acquiring players from the Football League, up from just £1m in January 2022, but just 3% of total gross spending.
Bridge continued: “The decline in spending across the English football system is likely to be of growing concern for members of the English Football League and could further fuel the debate around distributing finances more evenly across the pyramid. Transfer income from Premier League clubs, which has historically been an important source of club funding, now appears to be less guaranteed, with Premier League clubs choosing to prioritise talent from abroad.”
Within the Premier League, five of the top six revenue-generating clubs (Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, and Arsenal) accounted for 54% of Premier League club gross spend, with Chelsea accounting for 37% of the league’s total spend while also breaking the British transfer record. In January 2023, Chelsea spent more on gross transfer expenditure than the combined total of all clubs in the Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A and Ligue 1, and more than the cumulative spend of Premier League clubs in each of the previous January windows, excluding 2018 (£430m).
AFC Bournemouth, currently 18th in the table, are the second largest spenders within the Premier League. The five clubs currently at the bottom of the Premier League (West Ham, Wolverhampton, AFC Bournemouth, Everton, Southampton) spent c.£175m, compared to the bottom five clubs in January 2022 (£150m). There are three Premier League clubs (Manchester United, Brentford, and Everton) who did not spend funds on acquiring players in the January 2023 window. Additionally, three Premier League clubs; Leeds, Chelsea and Southampton, broke their transfer records this window.
European transfer market
Across the rest of the ‘big five’ European Leagues there was a cumulative gross spend of €255m and net receipts of €120m. This represents a year-on-year fall of 35% in gross spend compared to January 2022 (€395m).
Serie A reported the steepest year-on-year decline in gross transfer spend, falling 84% from €185m in January 2022 to €30m in January 2023, the lowest spend by the league since 2006, followed by La Liga (63%, €80m to €30m).
During the 2023 window, Premier League clubs reported a net transfer expenditure of €820m. Bundesliga also reported a net transfer expenditure of €5m, however the rest of the big five leagues reported net transfer receipts in this window as clubs looked to sell players before adding permanent or loanee signings (Ligue 1 – net receipts of €75m; Serie A – net receipts of €35m; La Liga – net receipts of €15m).
Calum Ross, assistant director in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, commented: “Across Europe, many clubs have sold some of their most valuable talent to other leagues, particularly the Premier League, as they look to prioritise financial sustainability and likely have targeted the development of players that will appeal to the English market.
“The rest of the big five leagues in Europe have had more subdued spending power, likely impacted by negative growth in their broadcast rights in the most recent cycle, while at the same time, some European clubs are still recovering post-pandemic. In the future, the ability of such clubs to invest large sums in on-field talent will continue to be driven by funds generated across commercial, matchday and broadcast revenues, in addition to receipts from the sale of players.”
Notes to editors:
* Surpassing the previous high of 81% in 2020.
Some of the key findings from the analysis of the January 2023 transfer window by Deloitte’s Sports Business Group include:
- Premier League clubs spent £815m in the January 2023 transfer window, the highest January transfer window spend ever;
- Premier League clubs’ gross spend for the 2022/23 season totals £2.8bn (combining Summer 2022 and January 2023 transfer windows). This is c.£1.4bn higher than total gross spend in the 2021/22 season (£1.4bn) and is the highest gross spend in a season ever (see chart below);
- Net transfer spend of Premier League clubs for the 2022/23 season is also at a record high of £1.8bn and represents 30% as a proportion of estimated revenue of Premier League clubs for the 2022/23 season;
- Five of the Premier League’s top six revenue generating clubs spent in the 2023 January transfer window, compared to three in 2022 and 2021. The spending totalled c.£440m compared to c.£75m and c.£25m in January 2022 and 2021 respectively;
- Premier League clubs’ deadline day expenditure totalled c.£275m, compared to deadline day expenditure of £80m in January 2022;
- The Premier League was the highest-spending league amongst Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues in the January transfer window (£815m / €930m), followed by Ligue 1 (£110m / €125m), Bundesliga (£60m / €70m), La Liga (£25m / €30m), Serie A (£25m / €30m).
- The total gross expenditure across the Big Five leagues was €1.2bn, an increase of 60% from the January 2022 window (€750m).
- Since the introduction of the player transfer window system in January 2003, aggregate gross player transfer spending by Premier League clubs in the January transfer window has totalled over £3.7bn.
- While the spend by Premier League clubs on acquiring players from the Football League showed a year-on-year increase from £1m in January 2022 to £25m in January 2023, the spend was 17% lower than the five year average spend in the pre-pandemic years**. A similar trend was also seen across the previous transfer window, with the spend in Summer 2022 (£150m) 13% lower than the five-year pre-pandemic average and 27% on the three year pre-pandemic average***.
- ** Average January transfer spend by Premier League on Football League players in the five years before COVID-19 (2016-2020) was £30m
- *** Average summer transfer spend by Premier League on Football League players in the five years before COVID-19 (2016-2020) was £175m and three years (2018-2020) was £210m
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 rom 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 02:00 GMT on 1 February 2023. 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. The exchange rate on 31 January 2023 has been used to convert figures between euros and pound sterling (£1=€1.13).
About the Sports Business Group at Deloitte
Deloitte is a leading advisor to the sports business market.
We equip our clients with knowledge and insight that will resolve challenges, grasp opportunities and deliver transformational change.
Drawing on Deloitte's global network of expertise and capabilities, we work with some of the world’s largest sports organisations, governments and investors.
Our global sport capability hubs lead industry innovation in areas such as: data and analytics; digital services; major event capabilities; sports and transformation advisory, M&A advisory and transaction support; cyber security, risk management and ESG; tax and legal.
Find out more here.
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 NSE 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.