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Premier League’s £835m Transfer Spending Spree

Tue 2nd Sep 2014 | Money & Finance

Player transfer spending by Premier League clubs in the summer 2014 transfer window reached a new record, according to analysis by the business advisory firm Deloitte. 

Gross spending totalled £835m, over 30% up on the previous record of £630m set last summer. However, only £85m was spent on deadline day, down on the equivalent deadline day figure in summer 2013 of around £140m.

Manchester United’s capture of Daley Blind, Ander Herrera, Angel di Maria, Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw along with the season long loan of Radamel Falcao saw them record the highest ever gross spend by a Premier League club in a summer transfer window. The Red Devils spent £150m on new talent this window, representing 18% of the aggregate gross transfer spend by Premier League clubs.

The four Premier League clubs competing in this season’s Champions League -  Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City - had a combined gross transfer spend of £342m this summer, representing over 40% of the aggregate gross transfer spend by Premier League clubs.

The Premier League’s spending spree outstripped that of the other ‘big five’ top divisions of Europe with the next highest spending league, La Liga, showing a gross spend of £425m. Serie A was next with a gross spend of £260m, followed by the Bundesliga with £250m and Ligue 1 with £100m.

Premier League clubs’ net transfer spend of £410m, saw overseas clubs collect £350m in transfer fees and Football League clubs receiving £60m.

Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, commented: “This summer transfer window has again been one of records with Premier League clubs spending more than in any previous transfer window.

“Gross spending of £835m by clubs across the league has broken the record set last summer by over £200m.

“This summer has also seen the highest gross spend in a single transfer window by a single Premier League club and a new record transfer fee for an individual player in English football.

“In a summer where the world’s best players were on show at the World Cup we have again seen how Premier League clubs are able to successfully compete on a global stage in terms of attracting talent.

“We continue to see the increased resources that Premier League clubs enjoy, as a result of improved broadcast deals, translate into investment in players.

“Last season the average Premier League club received over £25m more in central broadcast distributions than they did in 2012/13, which has helped fuel a new record spend this summer.

“With Premier League clubs in a stronger position to afford increased transfer and player costs than ever before, the key challenge remains pursuing their ambitions responsibly.

“Regulations are now in place at both a league and continental level encouraging clubs to balance their costs with revenue. We hope that while increased revenues continue to allow the league to attract top players, they will also result in a more profitable picture across the league in the years to come.”

Faye Bargery, partner and sports specialist at leading law firm Thomas Eggar LLP, added: "With increasing TV monies to be distributed amongst the Premier League, it seems that clubs are ever more willing to spend on new arrivals to try and improve their squads.

“In addition, new commercial agreements, including sponsors and kit manufacturers, are resulting in increasing income particularly for the top clubs, helping them meet the financial fair play rules.

“One club who have had to carefully limit their spending are Manchester City who, having breached the financial fair play rules, is now subject to restrictions, which has limited their spending to a net £49million.

“We have seen Manchester City acting early on in the transfer window to make targeted acquisitions and off-loading some of the players who were surplus to requirements to help meet these restrictions.

“Whilst a net spend of £49million is something many Premier League clubs and their fans are sure to be envious of, the restrictions may mean Manchester City miss out on players they would otherwise have acquired and can be contrasted with Manchester United, who have spent nearly £150million so far.

“With ever increasing commercial and broadcasting revenues helping clubs meet the financial fair play rules it is unlikely that we will see an end to record breaking transfer windows soon.

“The need to improve their squads - whether to simply stay in the Premier League or qualify for the Champions League - is likely to mean that clubs will continue to spend.

“However, they should be aware of their financial fair play obligations, otherwise they could find themselves with future restrictions placed on them which could impact their ability to achieve their ambitions.”

Image: Action Images / Jason Cairnduff

Posted by: Aaron Gourley 

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