Romelu Lukaku Question MarkGetty

After record £1.4bn summer spend, who got the best value for money in the Premier League?

Money can’t buy you love, but it can buy you Romelu Lukaku and Alvaro Morata.

Manchester United and Chelsea supporters are already pretty fond of their expensive summer signings, with the striking duo forming part of another record-breaking window for Premier League clubs.

An eye-watering £1.4 billion was splashed out by those in the English top-flight, at an average of £70m by each of the 20 teams.

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Of course, some spent more than others, with pockets considerably deeper at the likes of Old Trafford, the Etihad Stadium and Stamford Bridge than they are at the bet365 Stadium or Turf Moor.

Who, though, found the best value within their respective recruitment drive? How does the actual Premier League table compare two months into the campaign with the funds invested?


Despite never being shy in spending money, Premier League clubs remain reluctant to disclose just how much they are shelling out, with ‘undisclosed fee’ a buzzword of many a transfer window.

That means that there is always an element of guesswork when cobbling together total outlays, while these figures also do not take into account potential add-ons – with the focus purely on money leaving club coffers over the summer of 2017.

ClubTotal spend (£m)Current position
Man City221.51
Man Utd145.82
West Brom42.810
West Ham42.715
Crystal Palace33.920

Manchester City spent the most and are currently leading the way in the Premier League (albeit only on goal difference), so money can buy you success – particularly when bolstering already star-studded ranks.

Man City 4/6 to win the Prem

Defending champions Chelsea, along with title hopefuls Manchester United and Tottenham, see their top-six standings within the money league mirrored within its real-life equivalent – with value being found in the likes of Morata, Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Davinson Sanchez – while Liverpool sit just outside, and below over-achieving Burnley.

Everton, though, appear to have been shopping in the wrong markets, as their considerable outlay has only helped them to two wins, seven points and a 16th place standing thus far.

Leicester have also struggled to turn pounds into points, as they perch just above the drop zone, while West Ham are only now starting to show signs of life following a disappointing opening to the 2017-18 campaign.

Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez endured a frustrating time in his pursuit of fresh faces, with Mike Ashley conceding that he does not have the money to compete with the big boys, but they have fared admirably upon their return to the top-flight to prove that money is not everything.

At the opposite end of the respective tables, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace find themselves in the bottom three on both counts, which suggests that a frugal summer could have costly consequences.

Success/value is, however, all relative and many of those in the bottom half of the spend table would snap your hand off for a 17th place finish at this stage – with Brighton and Huddersfield showing that you have to follow promotion by digging deep in order to compete.


This is where the picture changes a little, with transfer windows as much about sales as they are purchases.

Not everybody can operate like a City, Paris Saint-Germain or AC Milan, with one eye always kept on the books to ensure that financial disaster is avoided.

ClubNet spend (£m)Current position
Man City130.91
Man Utd1272
West Brom42.810
Crystal Palace31.420
West Ham14.215

The richest clubs lead the way once again, to the surprise of absolutely nobody – with the rewards on offer to those at the very highest level, along with greater commercial power, helping to offset year after year of elaborate spending.

Within the net spend world, it can be argued that north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham have done the best business and found the greatest value within their squad building.

The Gunners, renowned for their reluctance to loosen the purse strings, made a rather healthy profit over the summer – thanks in no small part to the sales of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gabriel and Wojciech Szczesny.

Spurs, meanwhile, remain a realistic title contender despite bringing more in from the departures of the likes of Kyle Walker, Kevin Wimmer and Clinton N’Jie than they spent on Davinson Sanchez, Fernando Llorente and Serge Aurier.

Swansea could also be heralded, but the losses of Gylfi Sigurdsson and Llorente to Everton and Tottenham respectively have hit them hard and they would unquestionably rather still have that pair on their books than money in the bank.

The likes of Palace and Bournemouth also have work to do, while West Brom and Brighton countered their purchases with only nominal sales to highlight how difficult it can be to find the right balance in squad refreshes.


The transfer world was already a rather bemusing place for many, and that was before PSG decided to light another fuse with their €222m purchase of Brazilian superstar Neymar.

Premier League clubs are among those to have been affected by another hike in prices, with player values having seemingly doubled on the back of one move – with even an average performer suddenly worth more than those considered to be the best in the world just a few years ago.

Surely this cannot continue, can it?

Well, there appears to be conflicting views on that from inside and outside the professional bubble.

Daniel Levy | TottenhamGetty

Deloitte consultant Chris Stenson has said: "The level of transfer expenditure in this summer's window has been extraordinary. But when analysed in the context of record broadcast, commercial and matchday revenues, Premier League clubs are spending within their means.”

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy has, however, countered those comments with: "My view is that [current spending] is totally unsustainable. I'm not sure if that's the view of the other Premier League clubs, but certainly the prices that are being paid for other Premier League players I can't see being sustainable in the long term. I think that some of the activity that's going on at the moment is just impossible to be sustainable. You know if somebody is spending £200m more than they're earning then eventually it catches up with you. You can't keep doing it.

City boss Pep Guardiola has said: “It is unsustainable. Sooner or later it’s going to finish. Hopefully next season I will be here and we are not going to spend how we spent this season. In the next three or four years City will buy one, two, maybe three players. But not what happened this summer.”

Meanwhile, a report from financial analysts Vysyble titled ‘We’re so Rich it’s Unbelievable’ concluded: "Financially, football is failing. Britain's biggest football clubs are spending much, much more than they are making. The Premier League, and its executive chairman Richard Scudamore, should be very worried. Our analysis shows clubs are losing a record £876,700 every single day. Despite TV bringing in huge amounts of cash every year, it does not meet the many millions spent on players' wages. Clubs needs to face reality about their dire financial situation before they can't afford to pay the bills and some go to the wall."

Taking that into account, maybe nobody is finding any value!