British clubs leave continental rivals behind with over £200m spent
Despite the current economic climate Premier League clubs have spent a record breaking £225m in the January 2011 transfer window, beating the previous record of £175m in January 2008 by £50m, according to analysis by the business advisory firm Deloitte.
Dan Jones, partner in the sports business group at the company, commented: “Whilst Premier League club revenues have never been higher, we were surprised to see more than £200m spent in a January window for the first time, particularly after only around £30m was spent in January last year.
“However, when you scratch beneath the surface you find that around 80% of the total spending of £225m is concentrated across only four clubs (Chelsea, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Manchester City) and spread across only six players, so this was a particularly polarised window, with only a few clubs flexing their financial muscles, on what was a deafening final day of an otherwise quiet window.”
With the league being as close as it has been for several seasons, clubs have decided to splash out on transfers to ensure that they make the season as successful as possible. Chelsea look to retain their Premier League crown with the British transfer record signing of Fernando Torres from Liverpool for £50m and the £21m deal to bring Brazilian defender David Luiz to the club.
Alex Byars, senior consultant at Deloitte, added: “With only 10 points separating the teams in eighth and 20th position, this season’s Premier League is one of the most competitive on record.
"Clubs receive an extra c.£1m broadcast payment per higher league finishing position, so it is no surprise that five of the top six transfers by value relate to strikers, as clubs seek the goals needed to propel them up the league."
The Torres deal sparked a chain reaction that saw Liverpool invest heavily with the capture of Andy Carroll from Newcastle. The Anfield club's new owners signalled their intent earlier on in the window with the signing of Luis Suarez from Ajax in a £22.8m deal and were looking to spend more on Charlie Adam, only for Blackpool to stop the deal from happening.
Commenting on the overall trends and the wider European picture, Dan Jones added: “January is often a relatively quiet window, with total gross spending driven and dominated by a small number of high value transfers, as has certainly been the case again this year with only four Premier League clubs spending more than £10m.”
Premier League clubs’ transfer spending in the January window far exceeded that in other European leagues in January 2011. With Barcelona edging further and further away from Madrid, they brought in Ibrahim Afellay while Jose Mourinho's side had to make do with the loan signing of Emmanuel Adebayor.
In Serie A, Inter Milan secured the signing of Giampaolo Pazzini for an undisclosed fee, while title leaders AC Milan looked more at short-term deals, such as the six-month signing of Nicola Legrottaglie from Juventus.