Total expenditure in the January 2018 transfer window is the highest ever, beating the previous record of £225m in January 2011 and brings the total 2017/18 season spending to £1.9bn.
A record-breaking £430m was spent by Premier League clubs in the January 2018 transfer window, according to analysis by Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, exceeding the previous record set in January 2011 by £205m (91%).
As a result of two consecutive record transfer windows, the first time this has happened in a decade, Premier League clubs’ total spending for the 2017/18 season is an estimated £1.9 billion, growing for the sixth consecutive season and eclipsing last season’s previous record high by 35%.
Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, commented: “Premier League clubs have taken the opportunity to refresh their squads in January before the decisive phase of the season. International trade has flourished, with the highest ever January gross overseas outlay in Premier League history (£260m), but also the highest amount of January receipts from abroad (£185m), with names such as Coutinho and Costa leaving the UK and Laporte and Aubameyang arriving from abroad.
“While another record-breaking season catches the eye, Premier League clubs’ expenditure continues to be well within their means in the context of revenue generated. Estimated 2017/18 net spend of £755m represents just 17% of forecast 2017/18 Premier League revenue, in line with the average over the 15 years since the first transfer window in January 2003, as clubs’ increase investment in players in proportion to the overall growth of the football business.”
Recent January windows have seen the Premier League’s bottom six clubs contribute the majority of gross expenditure, as they invest in an attempt to ensure survival. However, the January 2018 window produced a trend more commonly associated with the summer windows, as total expenditure by clubs in the ‘big six’ came to £265m, representing 62% of total gross spending, contrasting against January 2017 when half of gross expenditure came from the relegation threatened bottom-six clubs.
Jones continued: “Such is the level of competition for a coveted top-four position in the Premier League, as well as ongoing European battles, that top clubs have been willing to break with more traditional summer investment strategies to steal a march on their rivals mid-season, with several club transfer records being broken in this window.”
Some of the key findings from the analysis of the January 2018 transfer window by Deloitte include:
Premier League clubs spent a record £430m to acquire new players in the January 2018 transfer window (2017: £215m; 2016: £175m; 2015: £130m; 2014: £130m; 2013: £120m). A summary of Premier League clubs’ player transfer fees spending for each of the January transfer windows (2003-2018) is set out in the chart below;
Premier League clubs recorded net transfer spend of £90m despite a record amount of player transfer receipts of £340m in a January window (2017: net receipts of £40m; 2016: net spend of £100m; 2015: net spend of £40m; 2014: net spend of £35m; 2013: net spend of £70m);
The ‘big six’ Premier League clubs accounted for 62% of total gross expenditure, with clubs currently in the bottom six of the table spending £90m (21% of total gross expenditure);
Total gross expenditure in the January 2018 transfer window is more than that spent in each of the summer transfer windows from 2003 to 2006;
Deadline day expenditure by Premier League clubs totalled £150m (2017: £60m), representing the highest ever January deadline day spend, exceeding the previous record set in January 2011 of £135m;
Championship clubs spent a total of £30m, a decrease of more than 60% on last year’s total of £80m; and
The Premier League was again the highest-spending league in European football during the January transfer window (£430m/€490m). The next-highest spending league was La Liga, with total transfer expenditure of around £250m/€285m. Clubs in the Bundesliga spent around £65m/€75m, with Ligue 1 clubs spending around £50m/€55m. Serie A clubs spent around £20m/€25m.