Europe’s top five leagues have spent more than £2.5bn during the transfer window, with more than £1bn of that coming from the Premier League, despite the financial restraints forced on clubs by the coronavirus pandemic. The sum, is remarkable given the collapse in revenue that has been felt across the globe since lockdown measures were introduced in the spring, specifically in regards to the loss of crowds.
According to a report in the London Guardian the Premier League is again leading the way: the website transfermarkt.co.uk records that £1.03bn has been spent by England’s top-flight clubs since the window opened on 27 July, a figure boosted by Chelsea’s return to the market in earnest after the end of their transfer ban. The figures – certain to increase before the transfer window closes this week are sure to leave a bitter taste in the mouths of many supporters given the Premier League’s reticence to provide a bailout to the Football League.
Last week’s arrival of goalkeeper Édouard Mendy took Chelsea’s spending to £225.1m, with the £72m spent on Germany midfielder Kai Havertz a club record fee. Manchester City have also been busy, spending more than £127m on new recruits – Ferran Torres (£24.5m), Nathan Aké (£41m) and Rúben Dias (£62m). The arrival of Dias from Benfica means City have spent more than £400m on defenders since Pep Guardiola’s arrival as manager in 2016.
It is highly unlikely transfer spending across Europe will exceed last summer’s record £5bn figure – around £1.4bn of which came from the Premier League, according to Deloitte – but more money is sure to be invested. Manchester United, for instance, remain keen on Jadon Sancho but would have to stump up the £109.6m Borussia Dortmund consider a minimum fee for the England winger before the transfer window closes.
Whether that deal goes through or not, it is clear from the spending that has already taken place that the Premier League, cushioned by huge commercial and broadcast revenues, regards itself as largely immune to the financial impact of the pandemic.