The coronavirus pandemic has put the brakes on international transfer activity – but in the Premier League it is business as usual.
That is according to a new report by the Centre of Economics Business Research (CEBR), which has found that English top-flight clubs are on course to account for an astonishing 95 per cent of the net spend in Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues in the current transfer window.
CEBR predicts that net spending in the Premier League, Bundesliga, Serie A, LaLiga and Ligue 1 will fall almost 35 per cent overall from £1.2billion in last summer’s window to £785million this time around.
The Premier League, though, has already surpassed last summer’s net spend of £627m and CEBR predicts the 20 clubs are on course to run up a combined trade deficit of £744m by Monday’s deadline.
CEBR’s senior economist Pablo Shah said: “The coronavirus pandemic represents the greatest financial shock to the football industry in generations and these effects have already fed into the transfer market.
“However, even the jolt delivered by the pandemic has not been enough to eliminate the huge structural transfer deficits operated by Premier League clubs, with English teams on course to spend £698m more than they receive from the sale of players this summer – this would eclipse the record summer transfer deficit of Europe’s four other major leagues.”
The report, commissioned by Football Index, found that the Premier League’s trading deficit as of September 30 stood at £694m with a gross spend of £1.06bn. That was before moves including Tottenham and Sheffield United signing strikers Carlos Vinicius and Rhian Brewster respectively on Friday.
CEBR predicted the latter figure will rise to £1.14bn by the end of the window, with departures up from £365m at the end of September to £391m by Monday evening.
That would be the lowest summer window gross spend in the English top flight for five years, down just over 19 per cent from a near-record £1.41bn last summer, but the £744m net spend still stands out markedly from the situation around the continent.
Ligue 1 clubs are predicted to spend £107m net and Serie A just £16m, with LaLiga and the Bundesliga on course for a surplus of £58m and £24m respectively.
Football Index co-founder Mike Bohan said: “Working with the Centre of Economics and Business Research, we were able to highlight the varying approaches that each of the top five European leagues tends to adopt in the transfer market, and then look at the potential impact Covid-19 could have on this summer transfer window.”
The Premier League last season accounted for 49 per cent of the trading deficit across the big five leagues, with the projected jump to 95 per cent this year a stark indicator of its outlier approach.
Chelsea, who were under a transfer embargo last summer, have led the way this time around with big-money recruits including Germany duo Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, England full-back Ben Chilwell and former Ajax playmaker Hakim Ziyech.
Defenders Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake and Spain international Ferran Torres headline Manchester City’s incomings, Tottenham brought in Gareth Bale and Sergio Reguilon from Real Madrid and Wolves, who sold Diogo Jota to Liverpool for more than £40m, joined the big spenders with moves for Porto forward Fabio Silva and Barcelona full-back Nelson Semedo.
Manchester United’s Donny Van De Beek cost more than £34m from Ajax and even the promoted sides have been active, with Leeds breaking their club record to bring in Rodrigo from Valencia and West Brom signing the likes of Grady Diangana and Matheus Pereira permanently.
* The CEBR report was commissioned by Football Index, the world’s first football stock market. To find out more go to: https://www.footballindex.co.uk/