Records tumble in Premier League transfer window: Deloitte

LONDON: After a remarkable summer window in which the world transfer record was broken, Premier League clubs gross transfer expenditure totalled £1.43 billion ($1.85bn), a new record and up 23 per cent on the previous year’s record. 

Premier League clubs’ have also broken the record for spending in a single season (£1,430m) and calendar year (£1,645m).

The record spending means that gross spending by Premier League clubs has surpassed £10 billion since the first transfer window in January 2003.

Premier League clubs’ transfer spending this summer as a proportion of their estimated revenue for the 2017/18 season is 31 per cent. Over the 30 transfer windows since 2003, the average spending-revenue ratio has been 22 per cent in the summer window, 5 per cent in the January window and hence an average 27 per cent for a season overall.

Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, commented: “Premier League clubs have broken their own record for transfer expenditure for the sixth summer in a row. With the continued growth in clubs’ revenues, principally from broadcast rights, it is no surprise that Premier League clubs have continued to maintain their leading position in the world’s player transfer market.

“Importantly, and when analysed in the context of generating record broadcast, commercial and matchday revenues, Premier League clubs are spending well within their means. For the last 15 years, annual transfer spending has remained within the range of between a fifth and a third, and averaged at around a quarter, of total revenues. With Premier League clubs’ revenue showing no sign of decreasing in the foreseeable future, we would expect to see spending continue to rise.”

After a January 2017 transfer window in which Premier League clubs were net exporters of playing talent (in terms of transfer fees), net expenditure on players from overseas in the summer 2017 transfer window was £585m – a decrease of £45m (7 per cent) from the summer 2016 window.

Of the ‘big 5’ top divisions in Europe, the Premier League is once again the highest spending league (£1,430m/€1,560m). The next highest spending league was Serie A, with a gross spend of £735m/€800m. This was followed by Ligue 1 (£590m/€645m), the Bundesliga (£510m/€555m) and La Liga* (£500m/€545m).

Jones added: “While the transfer record for a single player has again been broken by a major European club, the Premier League’s clubs enjoy an unrivalled depth of purchasing power, as a result of the League’s relatively equal – and transparent – distribution of broadcast revenues.

“Premier League clubs continue to benefit from a virtuous circle: investing record revenues to acquire some of the best playing talent from around the world, which in turn helps the Premier League secure substantial improvements in domestic and international broadcast deals, and helps individual clubs maximise commercial revenues and matchday attendances through stadium improvements and similar long-term investments.”

Key findings from the analysis by Deloitte’s Sports Business Group include:

Premier League clubs spent around £1.430 billion in respect of player transfer fees in the summer 2017 transfer window, an increase from the previous record of £1.165 billion last summer;

The average Premier League club spent £71m on player transfers (2016: c.£58m);

Transfer deadline day expenditure exceeded £210m – a new record. The previous record, set last summer, was £155m.

The Premier League’s highest-spending clubs were Manchester City (£215m), Chelsea (£180m), Manchester United (£145m) and Everton (£145m). Only four clubs recorded net transfer receipts (Swansea City, Arsenal, Burnley and Stoke City).

Premier League clubs spent £770m to acquire players from overseas clubs (2016: £720m), representing 54% of total gross transfer expenditure. £185m flowed in the opposite direction (2016: £90m);

Championship clubs spent £195m on player transfers in the summer 2017 transfer window, a decrease from the £215m spent in 2016;

Since the introduction of the transfer window system in January 2003, gross player transfer spending has exceeded £10.3 billion, with around 84% of this being spent in summer transfer windows.