Five questions answered on the cost of the premier league transfer list

Football is big business

Football clubs are often criticised for their extravagant spending on the ‘beautiful game’, and as another Premier League transfer deadline passes it’s been revealed clubs spent twice as much on players this year than last. We answer five questions on the cost of this year’s Premier League transfer list.

How much money has been spent during the course of this year’s transfer window?

After closing at 11pm yesterday about a £120 million had been spent, with £35 million of that frantically spent transfer deadline day.

Net spend this year, which includes money recouped on player sales, was £70m.

How does this compare to previous years?

Well, it’s double what was spent last year, £60 million, but a drop in the ocean compared to what was spent in 2011, which was a record £225m.

Who were the biggest spenders this year?

The biggest spenders were Liverpool, QPR and Newcastle, the three combined contributing to 50% of the January total.

On average the biggest spenders are Chelsea who has spent £12.3m on average since the transfer window tradition started 10 years ago, QPR £11m, Man City £10.9m, Tottenham £9.1m, Liverpool £8.1m and West Ham £5.71m.

Chelsea holds the record for the most ever spent in a transfer window when it dished out £75 million in 2011.

Who were the most expensive players this year?

Mario Balotelli, who went from Manchester City to Milan for £17m, plus £5m add-ons, followed by Christopher Samba from Anzhi Makhachkala to QPR  for £12.5m.

What have the experts said about this year’s transfer spend?

Dan Jones, partner in the sports business group at Deloitte told the BBC:

Clubs have been relatively restrained in their player transfer-fee spending, in spite of the upcoming uplift in their broadcasting revenues.
Clubs are now in a reporting period that will count towards the first assessment of Uefa's financial fair play break-even requirement for international competition, and Premier League clubs are also considering the implementation of additional cost-control regulation at a domestic level.

Harry Redknapp was quoted earlier in the week saying about the transfer process:

There's not that many deals happening. If someone can muscle in on a deal… it's a bit like ice cream sellers when someone has nicked their pitch… in Glasgow! Someone's going to shoot them or something!

Adding:

This transfer window, I have never seen anything like it. Every agent seems to be trying to screw one another. It's like gang warfare out there – it's scary. If you're trying to get a player another agent will try to scupper that deal if he's not involved in it, to try to get you to have one of his. It's unreal, unbelievable. They're all fighting for big money – that's the problem.

 

Photograph: Getty Images

Heidi Vella is a features writer for Nridigital.com

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Will Euroscepticism prove an unbeatable advantage in the Conservative leadership race?

Conservative members who are eager for Brexit are still searching for a heavyweight champion - and they could yet inherit the earth.

Put your money on Liam Fox? The former Defence Secretary has been given a boost by the news that ConservativeHome’s rolling survey of party members preferences for the next Conservative leader. Jeremy Wilson at BusinessInsider and James Millar at the Sunday Post have both tipped Fox for the top job.

Are they right? The expectation among Conservative MPs is that there will be several candidates from the Tory right: Dominic Raab, Priti Patel and potentially Owen Paterson could all be candidates, while Boris Johnson, in the words of one: “rides both horses – is he the candidate of the left, of the right, or both?”

MPs will whittle down the field of candidates to a top two, who will then be voted on by the membership.  (As Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 Committee, notes in his interview with my colleague George Eaton, Conservative MPs could choose to offer a wider field if they so desired, but would be unlikely to surrender more power to party activists.)

The extreme likelihood is that that contest will be between two candidates: George Osborne and not-George Osborne.  “We know that the Chancellor has a bye to the final,” one minister observes, “But once you’re in the final – well, then it’s anyone’s game.”

Could “not-George Osborne” be Liam Fox? Well, the difficulty, as one MP observes, is we don’t really know what the Conservative leadership election is about:

“We don’t even know what the questions are to which the candidates will attempt to present themselves as the answer. Usually, that question would be: who can win us the election? But now that Labour have Corbyn, that question is taken care of.”

So what’s the question that MPs will be asking? We simply don’t know – and it may be that they come to a very different conclusion to their members, just as in 2001, when Ken Clarke won among MPs – before being defeated in a landslide by Conservative activists.

Much depends not only on the outcome of the European referendum, but also on its conduct. If the contest is particularly bruising, it may be that MPs are looking for a candidate who will “heal and settle”, in the words of one. That would disadvantage Fox, who will likely be a combative presence in the European referendum, and could benefit Boris Johnson, who, as one MP put it, “rides both horses” and will be less intimately linked with the referendum and its outcome than Osborne.

But equally, it could be that Euroscepticism proves to be a less powerful card than we currently expect. Ignoring the not inconsiderable organisational hurdles that have to be cleared to beat Theresa May, Boris Johnson, and potentially any or all of the “next generation” of Sajid Javid, Nicky Morgan or Stephen Crabb, we simply don’t know what the reaction of Conservative members to the In-Out referendum will be.

Firstly, there’s a non-trivial possibility that Leave could still win, despite its difficulties at centre-forward. The incentive to “reward” an Outer will be smaller. But if Britain votes to Remain – and if that vote is seen by Conservative members as the result of “dirty tricks” by the Conservative leadership – it could be that many members, far from sticking around for another three to four years to vote in the election, simply decide to leave. The last time that Cameron went against the dearest instincts of many of his party grassroots, the result was victory for the Prime Minister – and an activist base that, as the result of defections to Ukip and cancelled membership fees, is more socially liberal and more sympathetic to Cameron than it was before. Don’t forget that, for all the worry about “entryism” in the Labour leadership, it was “exitism” – of Labour members who supported David Miliband and liked the New Labour years  - that shifted that party towards Jeremy Corbyn.

It could be that if – as Brady predicts in this week’s New Statesman – the final two is an Inner and an Outer, the Eurosceptic candidate finds that the members who might have backed them are simply no longer around.

It comes back to the biggest known unknown in the race to succeed Cameron: Conservative members. For the first time in British political history, a Prime Minister will be chosen, not by MPs with an electoral mandate of their own or by voters at a general election but by an entirelyself-selecting group: party members. And we simply don't know enough about what they feel - yet. 

Stephen Bush is editor of the Staggers, the New Statesman’s political blog. He usually writes about politics.