Premier League clubs’ player transfer expenditure falls to £180m in January, but net spend hits record levels for the 2018/19 season.
It was quiet transfer deadline day for Premier League clubs who spent just £180m, according to analysis by Deloitte’s Sports Business Group.
However, this brings the total gross spending by Premier League clubs in the 2018/19 season to an estimated £1.4 billion, the second-highest season ever following record spend of £1.9 billion in 2017/18.
It is the first season since 2011/12 that has seen a year-on-year decrease in transfer expenditure with total spending in January 2019 down by £250m compared to January 2018.
Tim Bridge, director in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, commented: “As we approach a decisive phase of the season, Premier League clubs’ January transfer spending has been relatively muted in comparison to what we have seen in previous years.”
Bridge added: “With central distributions to clubs now likely to remain around current levels until at least the end of the 2021/22 season, clubs are potentially taking a more long-term view to their transfer strategies.
“Whilst Premier League clubs have spent less this January than we have recently become accustomed to, our recent Football Money League highlights the impact that individual, high-profile player signings can have on a club’s financial performance.
“With broadcast rights only increasing marginally, the emphasis is now on clubs to grow revenue through their own activity and as such, it would not be a surprise to see the larger Premier League clubs still attempting to sign the world’s most high-profile and high-value players in the future.”
Although gross transfer expenditure has decreased for the first time since the 2011/12 season, there has been a record level of net transfer spend of £905m in 2018/19.
This ongoing trend reflects the fact that the Premier League is the highest importer of talent in the world with its clubs prioritising on-field performance ahead of maximising player trading profits, the latter forming a key component of the business model of clubs in most other leagues.
Bridge concluded: “Of the Premier League’s total expenditure in 2018/19, 72% related to players acquired from overseas with clubs also increasingly seeking loan arrangements with options to buy to try and protect themselves from excessive transfer fees on unproven Premier League talent.”