Premier League clubs smash transfer spending records with £815m winter warmer

February 1 – Who says the mid-season winter transfer window is not the ideal time to bed players in?

Records tumbled in the English Premier League as clubs’ gross spend of £815 million during the January window was the largest ever – 90% higher than the previous record of £430 million in 2018 and almost triple the previous January window.

According to the sports business group at Deloitte, Premier League clubs also set a record for net transfer expenditure during a January window with a net spend of £720 million, eclipsing the previous record set in January 2022 (£180 million).

Combined with the record spend during the summer transfer window (£1.9 billion), Premier League clubs have spent a total of £2.8 billion during the 2022/23 season, a new all-time high.

Deadline day expenditure by Premier League clubs of £275 million was also a new January window record while  Premier League clubs accounted for 79% of total spending across Europe’s ‘big five’ football leagues – marking the highest proportion ever reported.

The top six revenue-generating Premier League clubs accounted for 54% of the total gross transfer expenditure by the league, with Chelsea alone accounting for 37% of the total league spend.

There may be a global economic downturn but football – at least in the English Premier League – does not appear to be suffering from any belt-tightening

“The record spending by Premier League clubs this season is beyond anything that we’ve seen before,” said Tim Bridge, lead partner in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group.

“It is a clear indication of talent acquisition being core to Premier League clubs’ business strategies. In securing the best available talent, clubs hope to improve results on the field, which in turn will enhance the appeal of the Premier League and further cement its position at the very top of world football.

“Premier League clubs have outspent those within the rest of Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues by almost four to one in this transfer window, allowing them to hold on to their key players, while attracting top-talent from overseas.

“However, while there is a clear need to invest in squad size and quality to retain a competitive edge, there will always be a fine balance to strike between prioritising success on-pitch and maintaining financial sustainability.”

Especially when it comes to lower leagues, Bridge warned.

“The decline in spending across the English football system is likely to be of growing concern for members of the English Football League and could further fuel the debate around distributing finances more evenly across the pyramid,” Bridge said.

“Transfer income from Premier League clubs, which has historically been an important source of club funding, now appears to be less guaranteed, with Premier League clubs choosing to prioritise talent from abroad.”

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