By Tony Attwood
For years and years Tottenham have gloried in making a profit overall on transfers. They haven’t always spent that money well, but they have made a profit. But not this year.
For years Arsenal were known for selling players at a profit, even if they didn’t want to, but not this year.
And for years Liverpool! have spent far more money than they received. Much, much, much, much more. But not this year.
The one benefit of the lunatic interlull is that after all the frantic hoo-ha of the fractured glass it does give a chance to take a moment and look at all the figures that emerged and consider them in different ways.
One approach that only a couple of commentators have considered was the net spend. Not the amount of money that poured out of each club, which was the main focus, but how much they spent minus how much they received. And that is where those opening few comments in this article arise from.
Indeed the surprising thing is not so much how much some clubs spent (Manchester Airport, with their infinite sums of Chinese and Middle East cash, and their free stadium, will always spend the most of course). But how little some of the big clubs received for players sold.
I tried asking a few friends who tend to be knowledgeable about football facts and figures, who got the most income for players, and everyone was struggling. We all knew the top spenders, but top sellers? That took some head scratching until finally the answer emerged.
It was Liverpool! selling over £80m worth a talent – as well as giving away Balotelli in order to save six million euros a year on salary. I haven’t had time to do it, and would love it if a reader could help out, but I just wonder how much that £80m worth of players actually cost the club in the first place. Balotelli cost £16m, that I do know. Still what’s £16m when you haven’t won the league for a quarter of a century, and you are dead sure that spending money is the way to do it. OK it didn’t work in the past, but just one more push with loads of dosh….
Southampton, much to the disgust of the fans who got onto radio phone ins to complain, sold £64m worth of footballers while Everton got £50m into their coffers from their summer sales.
In the next group down, filling the coffers by between £40m to £49m we have Crystal Palace, Leicester and Tottenham. Tottenham, as I have intimated, is no surprise, but Leicester? You win the league and then sell players? Can you imagine what would have been said in the media if Arsenal, having come second, had done that? Can you imagine all the chit chat about Arsenal having no ambition, how Wenger won’t spend, how Kronke has his finger in the pie?
Indeed four clubs actually made a profit in this transfer window – despite all the talk of the Premier League going bonkers with its buying: Everton, Swansea, Liverpool and Southampton all came out on the up.
At the other end it is extraordinary how little income some clubs got. Burnley won the jackpot of nothingness by selling no one for yer actual real live money. Hull, Middlesbrough, Sunderland, Arsenal, Man U and Man C all brought in under £10m.
As a result the biggest spenders in gross terms, were also the biggest spenders in net terms (ie amount spent minus sales) – Man City, Man U, Chelsea, Arsenal in that order. Here’s the table in net spend order.
|Club||Transfer spend||Sales||Net spend|
Overall the clubs spent £1.165bn, which is quite a lot really. Serie A spent £590m, the Bundesliga £460m, La Liga £400m and the French Ligue 1 £165m. Which, if transfer spending means anything to do with winning stuff, suggests that the Premier League clubs should be much closer to dominating Europe now. But don’t bank on it. You might recall the occasional Untold article showing that buying players isn’t actually the way to the top of the league.
The top five players bought were
I mentioned to an Arsenal fan who does not share the general Untold view of transfers that Arsenal hadn’t done two badly have two of the top five transfers this summer, and he said, “But it’s not the money that matters, its the quality of player you bring in.”
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