‘With the years always added zero’

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NOS Football

The Premier League has already spent almost two billion euros on transfers this summer. Not only to newly arrived stars, but also to young and inexperienced talents. The transfer market in England closes on Thursday, in the Netherlands already today.

The Premier League clubs have spent more on new players than the Italian Serie A and Spanish La Liga clubs combined. They appear to be willing to pay on average almost twice more for a player than during the previous transfer summer. This season has been a total transfer frenzy.

100 million euros for Antony, more than 80 million for Wesley Fofana, 70 million for Alexander Isak and 65 million for Marc Cucurella. Clubs such as Manchester United and Chelsea are depositing huge amounts this summer for players with limited (international) experience.

Ambitious owners

“It’s a combination of factors that make the amounts so high,” said Phil McNulty, the BBC’s leading football journalist.

“You have ambitious new owners like Chelsea’s Todd Boehly. They want to make an immediate impression and that leads to those amounts from Fofana and Cucurella. Chelsea’s 86 million for international Raheem Sterling therefore seems modest.”

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Antony came from the Eredivisie to the Premier League for 100 million

McNulty continues: “And then there are also new trainers who want to build their team, such as Erik ten Hag at Manchester United. He would not have come if the board had not supported him in that.”

At the bottom of the Premier League, there is also just participation in the rat race for new stars. Nottingham Forest were promoted at the end of last season and have already spent around 150 million on new players so far.

West Ham United also spent a similar amount. The ‘Saudi’ Newcastle also stirred up a lot and is still looking for several big names on the final days of the transfer period.

Record broken

The website transfermarkt.nl puts every transfer window neatly lists how much money clubs have spent and received. This season’s amounts pale in comparison to other transfer periods. The record of 2017, when 1.7 billion euros flew out the door, was recently broken.

Premier League clubs have spent almost two billion euros in the last two months, with two busy last days ahead of them. That is about 600 million more than last summer.

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Total spend and average amount per player attracted from English clubs over the last five Premier League summers. Figures: transfermarkt.nl

The last time more than 1.5 billion was spent was in the summer of 2019, before the corona crisis. The (rather relative) caution in the transfer market before the 2021/2022 season now seems to be a thing of the past.

It is also striking that more is paid per player. Last season, a purchase of an English club cost an average of just under 5.5 million euros, this summer almost nine million. Players have therefore become considerably more expensive.

Even fuller pockets

It is no coincidence that the 2 billion euro barrier can be broken just now. It has to do with a new deal with Premier League TV rights holders, which came into effect this summer. Clubs now earn more than five billion euros in domestic TV money.

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The English expenditure compared to the other top leagues. Figures: transfermarkt.nl

Selling the TV rights abroad also yields much more than before. For example, the twenty Premier League clubs distributed an amount of 880 million euros over the past six seasons from the United States, where NBC broadcasts the matches. A renewed deal up to and including the 2027/2028 season will yield 2.37 billion.

The times calculated that the Premier League clubs will see just over €10 billion in domestic and foreign TV money pour in over the next three seasons. In comparison: Eredivisie clubs receive 73 million euros per season.

Investors and the corona crisis

A second reason that the transfer market in England has gone haywire is the fact that even more big foreign investors have now bought clubs, as BBC journalist McNulty mentioned. Of the twenty clubs at the highest English level, only four are still in British hands: Tottenham Hotspur, Brentford, Brighton & Hove Albion and Norwich City.

The most important newcomer in that regard is Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi owner of Newcastle United. The Northern English club has already spent 100 million euros more than in the previous summer.

What the overview of the spending pattern of the last five years also clearly shows is the impact that the corona crisis has had. Descending the match dayIncome and uncertainty about the foreseeable future made English clubs slow down for one transfer summer. That is now a thing of the past.

Acceptance

The entire (football) world watched with increasing amazement this summer at the unstoppable urge to buy in the Premier League. Simon Kuper, author and connoisseur of English football, sees that it is less crazy in England itself.

“This has been a topic of conversation since the transfer of Steve Daly, who went from Wolves to Manchester City in 1979 for 1.4 million pounds, where he completely failed. Over the years, the amounts always came with a zero and names people are increasingly taking it for notice.”

Also the fact that only four clubs are not in foreign ownership no longer scares people in England. “The opposition to this is incidental, such as around the departure of Roman Abramovich from Chelsea when Russia invaded Ukraine. At the same time, new sheikhs were welcomed.”

“That has to do with the English economic model, where money is introduced. That’s what people know and that’s why it’s just accepted.”

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