Premier League clubs spend a record £2.36billion in the 2023 summer transfer window. Even by the crazy standards of the Premier League, this represented an unprecedented level of spending, with clubs paying £millions on fees, wages and agents.
Heading into the January transfer window, many were expecting a similar level of spending, with teams such as Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester United and Newcastle United all in need of re-inforcements to try to improve faltering seasons.
But as the clock ticked towards 11pm yesterday, a very different narrative was unfolding, with just seven permanent deals agreed on deadline day, for the modest total of £30million. That's half what Chelsea paid for Romeo Lavia in the summer, and he has played just 32 minutes of football over six months.
Indeed, only 17 permanent transfers were completed during the winter window, with another 13 loan deals, for a total value of £100million. That's £715million less than the 2023 winter window!
So what is behind this massive drop in spending, and does it mean the days of crazy rumours, last minute deals and huge transfer fees a thing of the past.
Financial Regulations and Punishments starting to take effect...
FFP (Financial Fair Play) has been around since the 2011 - 12 season, when they were introduced by UEFA. FFP regulations stipulate how much money a club can spend, based on their turnover, and were designed to ensure clubs did not spend more money than they generated. Unfortunately, FFP was not the deterent UEFA had hoped, with many clubs inflating the value of commercial deals, to make their accounts look healthier than they actually were, to allow them to keep spending.
In England, FFP has recently been replaced by the Premier League's Profit and Sustainability Rules, which state that a club cannot loss more than £105million over a three year period. Any club that fails to meet these requirements, will face a range of punishments, ranging from financial penalties to points deductions.
Already this season, Everton and Nottingham Forest have both been charged with breaching these rules by the Premier League, with Everton being charged twice. The toffees have already been deducted 10 points this season, and now face further financial penalties, as do Forest. Chelsea have also been fined earlier in the season, for historical breaches of FFP under Roman Abromavich.
Manchester City are facing 115 charges, dating from 2012 - 2018, for a range of financial breaches and irregularities, but the FA and Premier League are yet to bring the case to court.
Despite the Man City case, it is clear that the Premier League has finally decided to take action, over what it sees as reckless and excessive spending by many clubs within the league. This has clearly had an effect, with many teams fearing future penalties if they overspend now. Even Newcastle United, who have almost unlimited funds thanks to their Saudi Arabian owners, cannot simply spend what they want, as they know they will be punished down the line.
Of course, this is good news for clubs like Liverpool and Brighton - who have stayed within the rules, are run in a sustainable way, and have little to no debt attached to the club. However, it won't totally level the playing field, as larger clubs, with more fans and financial opportunities, will always have a higher net income, and therefore a higher net spend.
It will be interesting to see if the cautious approach taken by many clubs during January, will carry over into the summer transfer window...
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... About The Author ...
Peter Farrell - Editor and Chief Article Writer, LFC - Back On Our Perch
Articles written by Author :: 353
Lifelong fan with a passion for all things Liverpool. First memory of football is watching John Barnes score a dramatic last minute equaliser in the FA Cup when he was 4. Feels lucky to be a part of the 'Klopp' era.
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