Who’s doing the buying in the 2013-14 transfer window?

Silly season is especially silly this year with big name signings flying fast and thick; Cavani,  Falcao, and Neymar were just the icing on the cake  with over 20 players worth €20m or more changing hands already this summer. Even Major League Soccer got in on the action bringing American superstar Clint Dempsey home to the States for a (large for the MLS) fee of £6m.

So it seems like activity in the 2013-14 window has been particularly intense compared to previous summers. Is this true? And if so who has done the most spending?

There are still a good 20 or so days to go in the window but one league is already a clear standout for ‘Spender of the Year’.

Hey Big Spender

EPL 2013-14 - Net Spend 10 Ten

Chairmen in the EPL have clearly gotten their new checkbooks in and are not afraid to use them. Spending activity in the EPL is also more evenly distributed, with all clubs (except for Arsenal) having a net spend so far this summer. Contrast that with Ligue 1 and you can see that the vast majority of the spending was done by PSG and Monaco (for once the headline count was actually proportional to the activity).

EPL 2013-14 - EPL v Ligue1

You can see the drastic distribution difference in spending in the different standard deviations between leagues. I have also removed the top 2 spenders from each league to show how much of an impact PSG and Monaco have on Ligue 1 statistics.

But back to our original question, has this window been more active than previous ones? To compare let’s look at a few metrics: players in/out, gross expenditure and the average buying and selling prices per player.

Quality not quantity?

EPL 2013-14 - Player movement

Player movement is down quite a bit with the numbers of players in decreasing by 403 (-71%) and players out down by 258 (-54%). Again there are still several weeks left in the window and there is always a burst of late activity but the trend looks like a decrease from previous seasons. A metric that seems right in line with the past several years is the league net spend:

EPL 2013-14 - Net Spend

€332m has been spent so far this summer on a much smaller number of net players which would suggest a certain outcome for the average buy/sell price of players…

EPL 2013-14 - Avg Prices

While the number of players moving is down the average price spent for them is higher. At the lowest €1.06m was spent per player into the league in 2011-12, so far this summer €2.58m per player has been spent. Players are also moving out of the league for less money with an EPL player costing an average of €410k to move on, down from €980k in 2009-10. In comparison to last year the increase/decrease is smaller but still as dramatic with average buying price increasing by €1.21m (+88%) and average selling price decreasing by €350k (-46%).

It is tempting to interpret this data as proof that Premier League clubs are drastically increasing squad quality by importing proven talent (higher avg prices) and selling fewer high quality players (less league exits, lower selling prices). And that maybe the case, but keep in mind  stats may change after the burst of late August activity especially as more free transfers move.

I will post an update of these stats after the window closes and numbers are more comparable.

Who’s doing the buying in the 2013-14 transfer window?

Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance 2012

Deloitte’s 2012 Annual Review of Football Finance is out. It covers financial developments in the Premier League and the rest of European football/soccer in the 2010-11 season. Some notable highlights:


  • EPL: +12% (+ £251m) to £2.26bn
  • Bundesliga: +5% (+€83m ) to €1.75bn
  • La Liga: +5% (+€82m ) to €1.72bn
  • Serie A: +1% (+€15m ) to €1.55bn
  • Ligue 1: -3% (-€30m ) to €1.04bn


Deloitte Annual Review of Football Finance 2012

The Month in Soccer Business: February 2012

A monthly compilation of interesting business news related to soccer. February 2012. Continue reading “The Month in Soccer Business: February 2012”

The Month in Soccer Business: February 2012

The Transfer Market – Top 5 Spenders

A Real Madrid Purchase

Transfers are always the hottest topic over the summer for the footballing world as everyone has an opinion how much any player is worth…and then gets their expectations blown out of the water when a club spends millions more than expected. This summer alone we saw the record breaking transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo from Premier League giants to La Liga giants Real Madrid for a wallet emptying £80m pounds!

Let’s look at who is doing the spending and who is doing the buying. I was surprised by the numbers in a few cases…

Transfer Spending by Country 2009-2010

Top 5 Net Spenders

2009-2010 Season

1. Spain – £206m
2. Germany – £89m
3. Turkey – £36m
4. France – £30m
5. Greece – £15m


I expected Spain to be at the top due to Real Madrid’s ridiculous spending over the summer. If somehow they didn’t manage to be tops in this category someone would forgive you for thinking that the Enron accounting staff took up jobs in La Liga. Real Madrid accounted for 73% of Spain’s net spending! And CRonaldo’s purchase was 54% of that spending!!!!

League by league: The Primera Division (let’s be honest here, basically Real and Barca) absolutely crushes Segunda in spending terms. Not surprising given the revenue structure.


Somewhat surprised to find Germany in second. Given the lack of coverage of high profile transfers to the Bundesliga. Quite a heavy net spend of £89m comparatively with other countries.

League by league: The large amount of activity in BLiga1 compared to BLiga2 suggests a large amount of foreign talent coming in. That £97m spent by the top tier certainly didn’t trickle down much with BLiga2 only bringing in £15m in transfer revenue.


Turkey??? This one was a complete surprise. I don’t even know what large transfers would account for this. £35m is a lot relative to the size of the market for Turkish football.

League by league: Only one league


France had relatively light spending in comparison to the rest and relative to the market. Only £30m leaving the country.

League by league: Of the top 5 France has the smallest deficit in net spending between Top and lower leagues.


Greece??? This one was also a complete surprise. Same question and comment as for Turkey. I don’t even know what large transfers would account for this. £15m is a lot relative to the size of the market for Greek football.

League by league: Only one league

and most interestingly,


Who amazingly have only net spendings of £945,180 on footballers this year. I think this is as much a reflection of the financial crisis as it is on the shift of footballing talent around the world.

League by league: Even more interesting is the amount of money the Championship makes off of player transfers


Spain just spent the GDP of a small nation on footballers. There are some ambitious owners in Turkey and Greece and English clubs are either very conservative or just potless.

…And there’s a hell of a lot of talent in Argentina and Brazil.

Reader Questions: Who did Turkey and Greece buy to rack up such large deficits??? Respond in the comments!

All data from Transfermarkt.

The Transfer Market – Top 5 Spenders