Premier League clubs have defied the financial slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic by running a huge deficit in the transfer market compared to their European rivals.
An analysis of deals struck during the summer months by clubs in the English top flight shows that they will account for 99 per cent of the transfer deficit run up across the five major European leagues. The Premier League’s members spent £689m more on new players, among them the £71m paid to Bayer Leverkusen by Chelsea for the services of winger Kai Havertz, than they made from selling members of their existing squads.
The figures mean that while clubs in the top flight leagues of Spain, Italy, France and Germany took the opportunity rein in their spending, their English counterparts absorbed the massive drop in income from gate receipts and other revenues such as merchandise to continue their pre-pandemic spending habits. Indeed, the Premier League’s 2020 summer deficit is larger than the £627m racked up in 2019.
The analysis by Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) shows the top English clubs continued a long-term trend which has seen them spend roughly double what they earn from buying and selling players for each of the last 19 years. Across the 2019-2020 season as a whole, the Premier League spent a record £1.6bn on new players, resulting in a deficit of £781m. The gap was more than double the next highest deficit of £349m run up by Italy’s Serie A.