Deloitte Sports Business Group Press Release
2 September 2022
Records smashed in transfer window: highest ever English Premier League spend of £1.9bn
Premier League clubs’ gross transfer spend totalled £1.9bn in the summer 2022 window, the highest spend ever recorded in a single transfer window by a margin of £487.8m, according to Deloitte’s Sports Business Group.
The previous record was set in the 2017 summer transfer window, when clubs spent £1.4bn. In 2021, Premier League clubs spent £1.1bn during the summer window.
With the January transfer window still to come, the 2022/23 season already has the highest transfer spend since the two-window season began (£1.92bn), narrowly ahead of 2017/18 (£1.86bn).
Tim Bridge, lead partner in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, commented: “The record level of spending during this transfer window is a clear indication of Premier League clubs’ confidence, as fans return to stadia and a new broadcast cycle begins.
“It’s now become part and parcel of the Premier League that clubs are willing to pay significant sums to maximise performance. This season, the desire to acquire playing talent has reached new levels as the pressure for clubs to stay in the competition is higher than ever before.
“Recent years have demonstrated the risks of clubs sustaining high levels of spend while failing to get their financial house in order. Particularly in the current economic climate, as costs begin to rise, the importance of retaining financial stability off the pitch should be as much a focus for clubs as ensuring their success on it.”
New ownership acted as a catalyst for increased spending this summer. Chelsea spent more than any other Premier League club; £157.8m more than they did last summer (2022: £255.3m; 2021: £97.5m), and £53.3m more than the next biggest spenders (Manchester United: £202.0m).
This summer’s transfer window also saw a different demographic of clubs among the top spenders compared to previous years, with newly promoted Nottingham Forest recording a gross spend of £126.0m, marking only the third time Deloitte has reported any club spending over £100m upon promotion to the Premier League (Aston Villa, 2019: £124.9m; Fulham, 2018: £104.3m).
Bridge adds: “The high spend of those clubs looking to secure their place in the Premier League is an indicator of the widening gap between the Premier League and the Championship. This shift is partly attributable to the financial impact of the pandemic, which was felt more harshly by Championship than Premier League clubs.”
Although the highest value individual transfer in this summer’s window involved a lower fee than in summer 2021, the number of transfers valued at over £50m increased in comparison to 2021 and pre-pandemic years (2022: 7; 2021: 4; 2017-19 three-year average: 4).
With a season of full stadia helping to alleviate COVID-induced financial difficulties, fewer clubs have resorted to loan deals than in the previous summer window; just 10% of players-in to Premier League clubs were signed on loan deals in summer 2022, compared to 14% in the 2021 summer transfer window. The proportion of players being signed for no fee also declined, but only slightly (2022: 19%, 2021: 22%).
Net spend among Premier League clubs during this summer’s transfer window (£1.1bn) is the highest on record, surpassing £1bn for the first time. The increased margin by which Premier League clubs’ transfer expenditure exceeded their transfer receipts meant their net transfer spend constituted a greater proportion of their estimated revenue (18%) than the previous summer (2021: 10%) and the pre-pandemic average (2017-19 three-year average: 14%).
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