LaLiga challenges Premier League, as transfer spend rockets in Spain but drops across big-5

money flying

August 5 – Total transfer spend in Europe’s big-5 leagues in 2018 dropped by 2.4% to €5.82 billion, with English Premier League clubs accounting for 36.5% of the spend.

The drop though does not indicate that the transfer market is set for a cool down, according to a CIES Football Observatory report that looks at transfer spend of big-5 league clubs since 2010.

The analysis finds that Premier League clubs since 2010 had a net transfer spend of -€5.71 billion (78.3% of the overall big-5 league deficit). Manchester City spent the most at €1.47 billion with a negative balance sheet for transfer operations of -€1.03 billion.

In 2018 new transfer spending records were set by the Premier League and LaLiga. While the Premier League increase was 2.1% over 2018, collective LaLiga club spending rocketed upwards by 80.4% compared to 2017.

“Thanks to a better distribution of television rights and international success, LaLiga is now well-established as the second force of world football,” said the report authors.

The drop in spending is not expected to become a trend, according to the CIES, who also warned of the dangers to competitive balance within European competitions and the big-5 leagues of rising transfer fees.

“The economic development of the top of the professional football pyramid suggests that a renewed increase of sums invested in transfer fees will happen in the near future. Established for thirty years, this process has led to a high concentration of talents in the richest clubs. This makes possible the assembly of top performing teams. At the same time, market concentration reinforces the imbalance of competitions,” concludes the report.

See the full report at

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