Premier League clubs spent more than $9.7 billion this year to form their current squads; more than twice as much as any of Europe’s other top leagues.
The study published by the CIES Football Observatory finds Manchester City at the top of the big spenders’ list, followed by their arch-rivals, Manchester United. City owns the race, though, with nearly $1.28 billion invested in their player roster. United is now at $1.21 billion, with French giants Paris Saint-Germain completing the top three at $1.11 billion.
Outside the “$1 billion” club, Real Madrid and Chelsea come knocking. The Madrid superpower spent $930 million to assemble its squad, while last season’s Champions League winners put $922 million up for battle. Liverpool ($794 million), Juventus ($776 million), and Arsenal ($768 million) all spent more than $100 million less, but still appear near the top of the list. FC Barcelona is only ninth at $683 million, with Tottenham Hotspur ending the top 10 at $651 million. German monsters Bayern Munich are only 13th at $497 million, with mid-table English club Everton spending more than them at $552 million.
Nine of the 20 biggest spenders in European football come from England. Four come from Italy, three from Spain, and two each from France and Germany.
Top-10 low rollers
At the other end of the spectrum, we can find teams from Italy, France, Germany, and Spain. With $94.6 million, Norwich City is the lowest investor in transfers from the Premier League. They are nowhere near the top-10 lowest spenders, though.
Deep pockets are only a dream at Clermont Food (France), Bochum, Greuther Furth, Arminia Bielefeld (all from Germany), and US Salernitana (Italy), which all put less than $12 million in the battle to sign their current sets of players. Spanish Clubs Elche ($15.3 million), Cadiz ($15.3 million), Mallorca ($17.7 million), and Alaves ($21.2 million) follow. French side Mets is the biggest of the lowest spenders’ club with $23.65 million invested.
In total, clubs from England spent more than $9.7 billion on their players. Italy’s Serie A comes second with investments worth $3.43 billion, with the Spanish La Liga third at $3.31 billion. The French Ligue 1 stands at $2.72 billion, while Germany’s Bundesliga holds the record for the smallest fees paid at $2.37 billion. The Premier League clubs’ total is near the money spent by the Italian, Spanish and French leagues combined.
The 2021 summer transfer window has been a historic one. Lionel Messi left Barcelona to join PSG, with Cristiano Ronaldo also changing clubs. The Portuguese striker left Juventus for a much-anticipated Manchester United comeback. Former Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos also signed with PSG. Apart from Ronaldo, for whom Juventus paid $17.7 million (rising to a potential $27.2 depending on clauses), Messi and Ramos moved for free.
The top-five transfers in the 2021 summer window were Grealish from Leicester to Manchester City for $140 million, Lukaku from Inter to Chelsea for $135 million, Jadon Sancho from Dortmund to Manchester United for $100 million, Achraf Hakimi from Inter to PSG for $70 million, and Ben White from Brighton to Arsenal for $69 million.