Clubs in English soccer's Premier League set a new record for spending in a summer transfer window, shelling out £2.36 billion ($2.98 billion) on new players, according to Deloitte, the professional services firm.
The transfer window, which opened on June 14 and closed on Friday night (September 1), surpassed last year's record of £1.92 billion spent by almost £440 million, with the 20 top-flight clubs spending £255 million on deadline day alone.
It is the first time Premier League sides have spent over £2 billion and represents a second consecutive year of record spending.
Premier League clubs accounted for 48% of the spending across Europe's top five leagues, which also features Spain's LaLiga, Italy's Serie A, Germany's Bundesliga, and France's Ligue 1.
Tim Bridge, lead partner in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said: “A second successive summer of record spending by Premier League clubs suggests that year-on-year revenue growth could return following the pandemic.
“Nearly three-quarters of Premier League clubs (14) spent more this summer than the last, reflecting the increased intensity of competition.”
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Ligue 1 was the next highest spender after the Premier League, responsible for 16% of ‘big five’ expenditure with a gross spend of €900 million ($971.8 million), whilst Serie A (€850 million), Bundesliga (€745 million) and LaLiga (€440 million) contributed 15%, 13%, and 8% respectively.
Gross transfer spending across Europe’s big five leagues totaled €5.68 billion in this summer’s window, an almost €1.16 billion increase on last summer’s total (€4.52 billion). Gross spend increased compared to the previous summer in all those leagues except LaLiga, which was also the only one of these leagues not among the top five global spenders.
The Premier League’s gross spend this season is already the second-highest ever after last season's record (£2.73 billion), with the January transfer window still to come.
Only two of the big five leagues recorded a net transfer spend this summer – the Premier League (€1.18 billion) and Ligue 1 (€35 million), with the other leagues all receiving more in transfer fees than they spent (Bundesliga: €290 million; Serie A: €165 million; La Liga: €115 million). As a result, net spend across the big five leagues (€640 million) totaled just over half the previous summer window’s result (€1.2 billion).
The biggest outlay saw Chelsea break the British transfer record for the second time in a year, signing Ecuador international Moises Caicedo from Brighton and Hove Albion for a reported £115 million, eclipsing the £106 million they paid for Argentine Enzo Fernandez in January.
Chelsea have spent almost £1 billion in transfer fees since the ownership group led by American Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital completed a takeover of the club in May 2022.
Calum Ross, assistant director in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: “Premier League clubs continue to dominate Europe’s big five leagues from a spending perspective, suggesting that the gap between English clubs and the rest of Europe’s elite is widening.
“With the spending power of Europe’s big five now also being matched by emerging leagues, future transfer windows will become increasingly competitive.”
The emergence of the Saudi Pro League (SPL), meanwhile, has been a significant factor in this summer’s transfer window.
With just under a week left to go until their transfer window closes (September 7), SPL clubs have so far spent €805 million, the fourth-highest transfer spend of any league globally, behind the Premier League, Ligue 1, and Serie A.
Almost half of the transfer fees received by Premier League clubs from overseas (€640 million) came from Saudi Pro League clubs.
Ross said: “The emergence of more active participants in the global transfer market has the potential to accelerate clubs’ efforts to establish financially sustainable business models.
“In this summer’s transfer window, clubs that have sold players to those from emerging international leagues have then gone on to spend receipts with a large number of other clubs, both within and outside of the Premier League.
“This distribution of the new flow of funds into the market will be key to ensuring the financial benefits of a more active global market are enjoyed across the board, serving to reduce rather than widen any existing gaps.”