You may have seen the key figure: Premier League clubs spent around £1.9 billion ($2.23 billion, €2.24 billion) in the 2022 summer transfer window, destroying the previous figure of £1.4 billion, set in 2017. In other words, 20 English top-flight clubs spent more than all the clubs in La Liga, Serie A and Germany’s top flight. sum.
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Well, put those numbers aside because they really don’t mean much, no matter how many times they get reported in the media.
It only takes an elementary education to understand that if I sell you a bike for $50 and you sell me a scooter for $50, then Presto! – Our total spend is $100, but we actually broke the tie. Total spending tells you how much volume there is, and why commentators continue to pay attention to that number is still a mystery.
The most important number here is net spending: The amount of money you spend in transfer fees to acquire players minus the amount you will get back for transferring players to other clubs. If anything, he goes so far as to underscore the economic strength of Premier League clubs in relation to the rest of the continent.
We’ll use the euro the rest of the way because that’s the currency used in four of the top five leagues in Europe and this is the currency that Premier League clubs use most of the time to get players from abroad. (Note that I am using Transfermarkt numbers here: they are not gospel, they are based on media reports and public information, but they are accurate as they are in the public domain.)
The numbers are amazing.
The Premier League’s combined net spending this summer was 1.355 billion euros, up from 486 million euros last summer. It is the third time the Premier League has crossed the €1 billion mark in the last five summer transfers. The highest net spend of any other league in that period was €351.6 million spent in 2019.
Where the total becomes even more evident when you compare the best English language flight to the other major leagues in Europe. LaLiga had the second highest net spending of €52.4 million (provided by the “economic levers” of Joan Laporta that enabled Barcelona of net spending of €115 million). Serie A basically broke even with net spending of €3.9 million, while the Bundesliga and Serie A had positive net spending of €44.6 million and €40.6 million respectively.
Rank the 15 biggest clubs in terms of net spending in Europe and you’ll notice that 11 of them – including the top six, Chelsea, Manchester United, West Ham United, Nottingham Forest, Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur – are from the Premier League.
It’s not hard to see why.
The Premier League is benefiting from a huge deal for domestic TV rights – worth about €2 billion a year, well over €1.5 billion in LaLiga, €1.1 billion in the Bundesliga, and €930 million in Serie A – but the real difference lies in outside value. The rights, as the Premier League expect to get around €2 billion a season over the next three years, while other leagues will get a fraction of that. Then there’s the fact that the Premier League has the second-highest average attendance in Europe and the highest average ticket prices in the continent’s five major leagues, as well as the fact that the league’s global reach ensures global sponsorship and commercial revenue beyond what the competition can collect.
– Carlsen: Transfer window winners and losers
All this prompted one of the observers of the UEFA Champions League draw last week in Istanbul to comment: “We already have a premium league, called the Premier League.” So you end up with a situation where Brentford (who plays in a 17,250 seat shoe box in West London and is only in his second season in the First Division) has a net spend almost one and a half times higher. Like Bayern Munich, the 10th consecutive league title winner and Champions League winners just three years ago (who sell their 75,000-seat stadium every week).
Of course, transfer fees only tell one part of the story when it comes to financial dominance: the wages matter too, as are the commissions paid to brokers to make a deal (especially when it comes to free agency). There is certainly a cyclical component to all of this. Most of them will have Premier League champions Manchester City, European champions Real Madrid and Champions League runners-up Liverpool three of the best teams in the world, but the top two teams have made a profit on their transfer spending this summer, while Liverpool’s net spending of €9.6m was relatively negligible.
There were other exceptional circumstances that led to the massive net spending increase this summer. Manchester United embarked on rebuilding with a new manager, Chelsea and Newcastle under new ownership, while Tottenham eased cash restrictions like never before for coach Antonio Conte – all contributed, as did the pound/euro (GBP) exchange rate gaining around 15 % compared to the euro since 2015).
However, when it comes to spending, particularly in terms of mid- and small-sized clubs, there is no comparison: the Premier League trumps the rest of Europe’s flights.