#sports Premier League clubs have forked out over £2Billion this summer to smash the transfer window record
Cost of living crisis? What cost of living crisis? As the British public tighten their belts, the Premier League’s fat-cat owners are opening wallets like never before.
When the transfer window finally closed at 11pm on Thursday, more than £2billion had been splurged, smashing the 2017 record of £1.45bn. Here, Sportsmail explains the reasons behind this summer’s outrageous spending spree.
IT is fair to say Todd Boehly has made the most of his first transfer window at Chelsea. Assuming the role of interim sporting director as well as owner, the American has acted like a ‘kid in a sweet shop’, according to Gary Neville, splashing out a Premier League-high £258.5million on seven players.
Newcastle also have new owners, and their Saudi backers have spent £122m on four players, including striker Alexander Isak for a club-record £60m.
‘New Premier League owners tend to spend big and that is driving the market,’ Kieran Maguire, a football finance lecturer at the University of Liverpool, tells Sportsmail.
Another owner who has joined the Premier League is Evangelos Marinakis. While the Greek media mogul has had the keys to Nottingham Forest for five years, this is the first time he has been in the big league and Forest have brought in 19 players for £150.9m.
New Chelsea owner Todd Boehly (left) has splashed the cash on transfers this summer
The combined revenues of clubs dropped during Covid, from £5.2bn in 2018-19 to £4.5bn in 2019-20. It was the Premier League’s first year-on-year fall.
Since then, they have been back on the rise. Accounting giant Deloitte estimates revenues will hit a record £6bn this year, surpassing pre-pandemic levels.
‘If you look at the revenue generated by the clubs, the message is overarchingly positive in terms of how they’ve come through the pandemic,’ says Tim Bridge of the Deloitte Sports Business Group.
Liverpool have continued to reinvest in their squad after years of tremendous success
‘They haven’t had to take on significant amounts of external debt or hamstring themselves in ways in which maybe other clubs around Europe have had to.’
The record revenues predicted this season are largely down to new mega-money overseas broadcast deals and the sustained spending habits of fans.
‘The new TV deals in the USA and Scandinavia are at record levels,’ explains Maguire.
‘That gives clubs confidence. There is also no evidence fans are giving up season tickets despite broader cost-of-living issues.’
English giants Manchester United spent over £200million during the summer transfer window
A THEME of this transfer window has been mid-table clubs holding the Big Six to ransom. Brighton let Manchester City and Chelsea get into a bidding war for Marc Cucurella and waited until they got their £55m asking price before selling their left back. Leicester extracted £69.5m from the Blues for Wesley Fofana.
‘Sellers have been in very strong positions,’ admits Maguire. ‘Clubs have managed to survive Covid so they are not in a desperate need to take the first offer that comes along. The selling club has been able to extract maximum price.’
Across the board, fees have been inflated. Newcastle, West Ham and Wolves all broke their transfer records and 10 players were signed for fees north of £40m.
Erling Haaland joined Manchester City in a value-for-money £50million move from Germany
RACE FOR THE TOP FOUR
Desperation to play in the lucrative Champions League has a lot to answer for. It is worth £50m minimum and, as Maguire says, ‘six into four doesn’t go’.
‘Once one club is spending £200m, you’ve got to keep up with the Joneses,’ he adds.
Manchester United manager Eric ten Hag admitted as much after signing winger Antony (below) from Ajax for £85.5m. ‘(The club’s owners) made adaptations because of how the market was,’ he said. ‘If you want to fight for the top four, you have to do it.’
It’s the same story at the other end of the table. Leeds, who stayed up on the final day last season, have splashed out £89.8m. ‘If you go down, despite parachute payments, it’s going to cost you £50m or £60m,’ says Maguire.
Summer arrival Gabriel Jesus (centre) has helped Arsenal start the season unbeaten
WILL IT STOP?
THE Premier League are considering a cap on spending on transfers and wages for the first time. UEFA are replacing Financial Fair Play with a new rule limiting clubs to spending 70 per cent of their revenue in a calendar year and England’s top flight could bring in a similar system.
However, it is likely the Premier League would set a higher percentage than UEFA. And the average revenues of English clubs are much greater than those of their European rivals.
So, do not be surprised if we see another spending record next summer, especially with the Premier League set to have a fifth place in the Champions League from 2024.
Brazil winger Antony became Manchester United’s biggest summer signing in a £75m move
‘UEFA have signed new broadcast deals and are confident there will be more money in the Champions League because they want to see off the threat of a potential European Super League, which is still rumbling,’ adds Maguire.
‘The incentives to qualify for Europe will be even greater than they are this season.
‘Clubs think spending more gets you greater success and getting success is more important than ever.’