Premier League: Fans’ return and new broadcast deals driving high levels of summer spending

Manchester City’s Erling Haaland is cheered by fans

Transfer spending in the Premier League this summer is three times higher than at the same stage last year, according to a leading industry analyst.

Early high-profile deals in the current window have seen Manchester City sign Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland and Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips, with Raheem Sterling moving on to Chelsea, while Liverpool have brought in forward Darwin Nunez.

Zal Udwadia, assistant director in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, expects more to follow as new broadcast deals and the lessening financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic boost teams’ financial confidence.

“Current spending levels in the 2022 summer window are about three times ahead of what we were last summer,” Udwadia told the PA news agency.

“If you look back at the last six summers, you’ve had in excess of £1billion spent every summer, so going into this summer you’d really expect spending levels to return to pre-pandemic levels given some of the market dynamics we are seeing.

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“Looking back at the last two years, clubs have lost about £1.5billion in revenue as a result of the pandemic and similar levels of pre-tax losses.

“What you’ve really seen this summer is you’ve got the return of fans in full force and new broadcast deals coming into play, you’ve really got clubs with high amounts of confidence and certainty going into this window.

“You’ve got a new broadcast cycle that’s starting, where the international portion of the rights have exceeded domestic rights for the first time, and that really again highlights the global appeal of the Premier League.

“It’s probably too early to say whether it’ll be a record level, but it definitely looks on track to exceed last summer’s spending, which was £1.1bn on the back of two years of the Covid pandemic.”

Tottenham have also conducted their transfer business notably earlier than in past summers, including the £60million arrival of forward Richarlison from Everton, but the spending has not been limited to the teams chasing glory at the top of the table.

Promoted Nottingham Forest have made seven signings, including reported fees of around £17million spent on Union Berlin striker Taiwo Awoniyi and Liverpool full-back Neco Williams, while Brentford have broken their transfer record twice to sign Aaron Hickey from Bologna and Keane Lewis-Potter from Hull.

Udwadia said: “You’ve had 14 Premier League clubs, five weeks in, that have all spent in excess of £20million.

“The ‘big six’ clubs have contributed about 45 per cent of the spending levels so far, spending to solidify or break into those four Champions League spots, you’ve got another group spending to try and break into European football and reap the rewards that brings.

“And you’ve got a whole tier of clubs who are spending just to stay in the Premier League, because the cost of relegation is so high.

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“That’s a stark contrast to what you’re seeing across the rest of Europe. If you look at Germany and Spain, for example, close to half of the spending at the moment is really driven by the big two clubs (Real Madrid and Barcelona in Spain, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in Germany).

“Premier League spending is across the board and really, high spending in the summer has almost become part of the culture of English football.”

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