Summer transfer spending of clubs in Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues exceeds €5 billion for the first time has been saved
Summer transfer spending of clubs in Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues exceeds €5 billion for the first time
3 September 2019
- European ‘big five’ league clubs spent a record c.€5.5 billion (c.£5 billion) in the 2019 summer transfer window, an increase of c.€0.9 billion (c.£0.8 billion) on the previous record set in summer 2018;
- Premier League clubs spent £1.41 billion (€1.55 billion) in the 2019 summer transfer window, with a net spend of £575m (€635m). Net spend fell by £50m since the league’s deadline day on 8 August 2019, the lowest net spend since summer 2015;
- La Liga clubs spent a record c.€1.37 billion (c.£1.24 billion), exceeding €1 billion for the first time and more than doubling their expenditure from just two years ago;
- Serie A (c.€1.17 billion / c.£1.06 billion), Bundesliga (c.€740m / c.£670m) and Ligue 1 (c.€670m / c.£605m) clubs all set new transfer records in this summer’s window;
- Scottish Premiership clubs spent an estimated £25m, nearly all attributable to Old Firm rivals Celtic and Rangers, as other SPFL clubs take advantage of loan deals and free transfers to enhance their squads.
The 2019 summer transfer window saw Europe’s ‘big five’ league clubs spend a record c.€5.5 billion (c.£5 billion), according to analysis from Deloitte’s Sports Business Group. This represents an increase of c.€0.9 billion (£0.8 billion) on the previous record set in summer 2018.
Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, commented: “Spending across clubs in Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues has reached record levels in this summer’s transfer window. This unprecedented level of spend has been driven by a number of factors, including additional income from new league broadcast cycles, participation in, and subsequent distributions from, UEFA club competitions and club-specific factors such as management changes and improving playing squads to achieve on-pitch objectives. The improved financial performance of European football clubs has also reduced the need for clubs to sell their best players.”
Jones continued: “Looking to the Premier League, this summer’s player transfer expenditure fell narrowly short of record levels, and net spend was at its lowest level since summer 2015. While this level of net spend as a proportion of revenue of 11% is the lowest since summer 2011, we still expect wages to increase at a greater rate than revenue in the next couple of seasons.”
Scottish Premiership clubs spent an estimated £25m in this summer’s transfer window, with nearly all of this attributable to Old Firm rivals Celtic (£15m) and Rangers (£10m), as other SPFL clubs take advantage of loan deals and free transfers to enhance their squads.
Despite Celtic failing to qualify for the UEFA Champions League, both Old Firm clubs progressed to the Group Stages of the Europa League for the second consecutive season, which has helped drive each club’s transfer spend.
Celtic’s sale of Kieran Tierney to Arsenal for £25m, after the sale of Moussa Dembele to Lyon for c.£20m in the 2018 summer transfer window, demonstrates their shrewd approach to the transfer market. This has, to some extent, mitigated the impact of the failure to progress in the UEFA Champions League, while some of the proceeds have been re-invested to strengthen the squad as they target their ninth consecutive title and progression to the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League.
Following a disappointing defeat in the first Old Firm match of the season, Rangers returned to the transfer market on deadline day securing the services of Ryan Kent for c.£7m, increasing gross transfer spend to £10m and representing their single highest outlay on a player since Tore Andre Flo in 2000.
Note to Editors
Basis of preparation
The information on player transfers is based on publicly available information in respect of player registration acquisitions by clubs, including from club websites, 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 00:00 on 3 September 2019. 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 at 3 September 2019 has been used to convert figures between euros and pounds sterling (£1 = €1.10).
About the Sports Business Group at Deloitte
Over the last 25 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.
Deloitte has conducted analysis of player transfer expenditure for every transfer window since 2003. For further information on our services, you can access our website at www.deloitte.co.uk/sportsbusinessgroup.
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