English Premier League clubs doubled their year-on-year spending in the January transfer window to again become the biggest investors in the European market.
Premier League clubs spent around £120 million in the January window, according to analysis by the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, the business advisory firm. This figure compares to the £60 million spent in the January 2012 window, but falls far short of the record level of £225 million in January 2011, which was boosted by the big-money moves of Fernando Torres and Andy Carroll to Chelsea and Liverpool respectively. However, despite the incoming benefits of the Premier League’s huge new set of TV deals Deloitte feels club spending may have been curbed by the considerations of financial fair play regulations.
Dan Jones, partner in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: “Premier League clubs have been relatively restrained in their player transfer fee spending, in spite of the upcoming uplift in their broadcasting revenues of between £20 million and £30 million each from next season. Whilst the clubs’ total spending was £120 million, after taking into account transfer income, the Premier League clubs’ net transfer spend was £70 million.” He added: “Clubs are now in a reporting period that will count towards the first assessment of UEFA’s financial fair play break-even requirement for international competition and Premier League clubs are also considering the implementation of additional cost control regulation at a domestic level. Their apparent relative restraint in this transfer window may reflect an increasing focus on clubs achieving more sustainable levels of expenditure relative to revenues.”
Over the past decade, Premier League clubs’ January transfer spending has typically exceeded that in other European leagues. Deloitte said this is due in part to the Premier League’s long-established mechanism that distributes broadcasting revenues on a more equitable basis compared to the top divisions of the other big five leagues. Italian Serie A clubs were the second highest spenders this January, with total reported transfer spending of around 70% of the Premier League total. Total transfer spending by top division clubs in France and Germany was around 30% to 45% of that by Premier League clubs. Transfer spending by Spanish clubs was minimal in this winter window, perhaps taking into account the highly-publicised financial problems affecting the Spanish game, and was exceeded by the amounts spent by clubs in emerging markets such as Russia and Brazil.