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Records eclipsed as Premier League clubs spend over £2bn for the first time

  • Premier League clubs’ gross spend of £2.36bn is almost £440m higher than the previous record (£1.92bn) set last summer;
  • Gross spend in the 2023/24 season (£2.36bn) is already the second-highest ever after the record last season (£2.73bn), with the January transfer window still to come;
  • Premier League clubs received a total of £550m in transfer fees from overseas clubs, more than two-and-a-half times higher than ever before (summer 2022: £210m), with £245m of these receipts coming from Saudi Pro League clubs;
  • With the exception of La Liga, gross transfer spend increased in all of Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues, with the aggregate expenditure increasing by almost €1.16bn (26%) (2023: €5.68bn; 2022: €4.52bn);
  • Only two of Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues spent more on transfers than they received (Premier League: net spend €1.18bn; Ligue 1: net spend €35m; Bundesliga: net receipt €290m; Serie A: net receipt €165m; La Liga: net receipt €115m);
  • Championship clubs’ gross spend (£140m) was the highest since before the pandemic (2019: £160m), however the overall net receipt (£320m) was also the highest on record.

Premier League

The 2023 summer transfer window saw Premier League clubs spend a record £2.36bn, according to Deloitte’s Sports Business Group. This exceeds the previous record (£1.92bn), set only last summer, by almost £440m.

Following the introduction of the current transfer system in January 2003, it took 14 summer transfer windows for gross spend to exceed £1bn in a single window (summer 2016: £1.16bn). It has taken half the time (seven summer windows) for spending in an individual window to surpass £2bn, highlighting the Premier League’s exponential growth.

Tim Bridge, lead partner in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, commented: “A second successive summer of record spending by Premier League clubs suggests that year-on-year revenue growth could return following the pandemic.

“Nearly three quarters of Premier League clubs (14) spent more this summer than the last, reflecting the increased intensity of competition. There continues to be pressure on clubs to acquire top talent to satisfy their on-pitch objectives, whether that’s qualifying for European competition or simply maintaining their position in the Premier League.

“Last season did not disappoint in terms of unscripted drama, proving the worth of the Premier League’s product in the first year of a new, improved value broadcast cycle. Revenue from this new deal has certainly facilitated the unprecedented levels of spending we’ve seen this summer, with the emergence of a new spending power in the global transfer market and heightened competition throughout the Premier League also acting as drivers.”

Europe’s ‘big five’

Gross transfer spend across Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues totalled €5.68bn in this summer’s window, an almost €1.16bn increase on last summer’s total (2022: €4.52bn). Gross spend increased compared to the previous summer in all the ‘big five’ leagues except La Liga, which was also the only one of these leagues not among the top five global spenders.

Premier League clubs’ gross spend of €2.74bn accounted for 48% of total spending across the ‘big five’ European leagues. Ligue 1 was the next highest spender after the Premier League, responsible for 16% of ‘big five’ expenditure with a gross spend of €900m, whilst Serie A (€850m), Bundesliga (€745m) and La Liga (€440m) contributed 15%, 13% and 8% respectively.

This growth in spending among the continent’s highest revenue-generating leagues may have been catalysed by increased Premier League receipts, with Premier League clubs spending €1.08bn with ‘big five’ peers, an increase of €160m on last summer. This amounted to almost 75% of Premier League clubs’ overseas expenditure, and 40% of their total expenditure.

Only two of the ‘big five’ leagues recorded a net transfer spend this summer (Premier League: €1.18bn; Ligue 1: €35m), with the other leagues all receiving more in transfer fees than they spent (Bundesliga: €290m; Serie A: €165m; La Liga: €115m). As a result, net spend across the ‘big five’ leagues (€640m) totalled just over half the previous summer window’s result (€1.2bn).

Calum Ross, assistant director in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, said: “Premier League clubs continue to dominate Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues from a spending perspective, suggesting that the gap between English clubs and the rest of Europe’s elite is widening.

“With the spending power of Europe’s ‘big five’ now also being matched by emerging leagues, future transfer windows will become increasingly competitive. However, the glamour of playing in Europe’s elite divisions remains an attractive prospect for the world’s best players, with some of the Premier League’s top talent opting for a move to the continent this summer.”

Saudi Pro League

With just under a week left to go until their transfer window closes, Saudi Pro League clubs have so far spent €805m, the fourth-highest transfer spend of any league globally, behind the Premier League, Ligue 1 and Serie A.

Almost half of the transfer fees received by Premier League clubs from overseas (€640m) came from Saudi Pro League clubs. These transfer receipts (€285m) were concentrated among seven clubs, with four of these among the Premier League’s ‘big six’. Two Premier League clubs, Fulham and Liverpool, saw 100% of their transfer receipts come from Saudi Pro League clubs.

Across the rest of Europe, receipts from Saudi Pro League clubs currently stand at €135m, €110m, €70m and €30m in Ligue 1, Serie A, La Liga and Bundesliga respectively.

Calum Ross, assistant director in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, commented: “The money spent so far by Saudi Pro League clubs on players from Premier League clubs eclipses any such spending with clubs in the rest of Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues. The Saudi Pro League has provided an additional active market in which clubs can earn a substantial fee on the sale of their players.

“The emergence of more active participants in the global transfer market has the potential to accelerate clubs’ efforts to establish financially sustainable business models. In this summer’s transfer window, clubs that have sold players to those from emerging international leagues have then gone on to spend receipts with a large number of other clubs, both within and outside of the Premier League. This distribution of the new flow of funds into the market will be key to ensuring the financial benefits of a more active global market are enjoyed across the board, serving to reduce rather than widen any existing gaps.”

EFL Championship

Championship clubs’ gross spend amounted to £140m during this summer’s window. Although an increase of almost £55m (63%) on last year’s total (£85m), it was still some way below pre-pandemic levels (2017-19 three-year average: £170m). Net transfer receipts (i.e. player transfer receipts less player transfer spend) among Championship clubs was, however, at a record high (£320m).

Bridge commented: “Revenue from player sales has long stood as a key aspect of Championship clubs’ business models. Appetite to spend with Championship clubs had seemingly dried up in recent years, so this summer’s record-breaking receipts, on the surface, seems a positive step on the road to financial recovery. However, these record-breaking receipts were concentrated among a small number of clubs and, notably, clubs already in receipt of Premier League parachute payments.”

The three clubs relegated from the Premier League at the end of last season, Leicester City, Leeds United and Southampton, collected almost £300m (65%) of Championship receipts, greater than total Football League receipts in each of the last two summer transfer windows. Although these clubs were also responsible for almost half (£65m) of Championship clubs’ expenditure, only £15m of this was spent with other Championship clubs.

Bridge concluded: “Significant receipts from player sales coupled with parachute payments provide those clubs relegated from the Premier League with a substantial financial advantage against other Championship clubs. Whilst those clubs may only be covering their cash shortfalls as a result of their contracted cost base, on the face of it, it makes it increasingly difficult for other clubs to break out of the division in a sustainable manner. The current regulatory considerations being debated across English football need to focus on finding a solution to what has become an ever-exacerbating challenge.”

Summary of other key findings from the analysis by Deloitte’s Sports Business Group include:

  • Chelsea’s aggregate transfer spend across the three windows since the club’s takeover has almost reached the £1bn mark;
  • There were two transfers-in to Premier League clubs with reported fees of £100m or more compared to none last summer, and the number of transfers-in valued at over £50m (13) was significantly higher than in recent years (2022: 7; 2021: 4);
  • Premier League clubs’ transfer receipts (£1.35bn) increased by over £520m compared to the previous summer window. Both EFL and overseas clubs spent more with Premier League clubs than last year, with receipts from overseas clubs (£550m) higher than ever before;
  • Premier League clubs’ net spend (£1.01bn) was down just £65m on the previous summer (£1.07bn). This meant that net spend as a percentage of estimated revenue (£5.8bn) was also lower, falling from 19% in the summer 2022 window to 17%;
  • Premier League gross spend amounted to £255m on deadline day, which is more than double the £120m spent on deadline day during last summer’s window;
  • Premier League clubs brought-in a total of 29 players from Football League clubs compared to 19 in summer 2022;
  • The summer 2023 transfer window saw the first shift in the demographic of the global top five transfer spenders since summer 2016, but this time it was the Saudi Pro League rather than the EFL Championship displacing one of Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues;
  • 14 Championship clubs recorded a transfer surplus, up from nine last year. Of the nine whose expenditure exceeded income, only two recorded a net spend of more than £5m;
  • Collective net transfer receipt among Championship clubs was almost triple the previous summer (2022: £110m; 2023: £320m).


- Ends -

Notes to editors:

The transfer windows for the Premier League, English Football Leagues, Bundesliga, La Liga, Ligue 1 and Serie A all closed on 1 September 2023. The transfer window for the Saudi Pro League remains open until 7 September.

League Gross transfer spend in summer 2023 €m / £m Gross transfer spend in summer 2022 €m / £m Net transfers spend / (receipt) in summer 2023 €m / £m Net transfer spend (receipt) in summer 2022 €m / £m
Premier League 2,744
/ 1917 
/ 1,010 
/ 1,073 
Bundesliga 747
/ 641 
/ 417 
/ (247) 
/ (39) 
La Liga 440
/ 378 
/ 436 
/ (100) 
/ 45 
Serie A 848
/ 728 
/ 646 
/ (142) 
/ (7) 
Ligue 1 900
/ 773 
/ 481 
/ 28 
/ (35) 

Basis of preparation

The information on player transfers is based on publicly available information in respect of player registration acquisitions by clubs, including from club websites, and, and further analysis carried out by the Sports Business Group at Deloitte. The information is based on reported transfers as at 23:00 on 1 September 2023. The figures contained in this release will not necessarily be the same as the cost of acquiring players’ registrations as recognised in the financial statements of each club. Under accounting requirements, the cost of acquiring a player’s registration includes the transfer fee payable (including any probable contingent amounts), plus other direct costs such as transfer fee levy and fees to agents. The exchange rate at 1 September 2023 has been used to convert figures between euros and pounds sterling (£1 = €1.17).

About the Sports Business Group at Deloitte

Over the last 30 years Deloitte has developed a unique focus on the business of sport. Our specialist Sports Business Group offers a multi-disciplined expert service with dedicated people and skills capable of adding significant value to the business of sport. Whether it is transactions advice, benchmarking or strategic business reviews, operational turnarounds, revenue enhancement strategies or stadium/venue development plans, business planning, market and demand analysis, acquisitions, due diligence, expert witness, audits, or tax planning; we have worked with more clubs, leagues, governing bodies, stadia developers, event organisers, commercial partners, financiers, and investors than any other adviser.

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