English clubs outspend Spain and Italy combined in $1.25bn window

Will Ford

The number of international transfers in the summer window declined for the first time in a decade this year but English clubs led the way with the amount spent and the number of deals completed.

Clubs from England signed 485 players while 524 were released, with Spain and Portugal second and third respectively in the list for both categories, an analysis of the transfer activity between June 1 and October 5 by world governing body FIFA has found.

A total of 1.251billion US dollars was spent by English clubs, which is more than Italy (543m US dollars) and Spain (486m US dollars) put together, who were second and third behind England.

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It was Spanish teams who recuperated the most, however, with 672m US dollars going to clubs in Spain, which included a reported £45million English pounds being received by Atletico Madrid from Arsenal to sign midfielder Thomas Partey late on deadline-day.

With the coronavirus pandemic leading to concerns over finances for the future, the number of transfers and money spent overall did decline, the analysis reveals.

Last summer international transfers reached an all-time high of 9,087 but it dropped significantly this year to below the 2017 figure of 7,715.

Only 7,424 deals occurred between June 1 and October 5 and overall fees decreased by almost 25 per cent compared to the reporting period in 2019.

Money spent on international transfers this summer reached 3.92billion US dollars, while each of the summer windows in 2017, 2018 and 2019 saw at least £5billion US dollars parted with.

Manchester United completed the deadline day signing of Edinson Cavani on a free from Paris St Germain and 53.2 per cent all of international transfers involved players out of contract, with only 14.7 per cent of players moving on permanent deals.

The most active age of players making switches to other clubs involved 18 to 23-year-olds, with 45.9 per cent of deals containing players of that age range, but when it came to spending money, the majority (47.2 per cent) was on the more established 24 to 29-year-olds.

FIFA’s International Transfer Market Snapshot June-October 2020 also focused on the women’s game.

While transfers of female professionals remain rare, the women’s game did not appear as badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic as their male counterparts.

International transfers involving women footballers rose from 385 between June 1 and September 2 in 2019 to 522 this year – an increase of 35 per cent.

Spending of international transfer fees for female players totalled 821,800 US dollars in 2020 in comparison to 454,600 US dollars last year.

Chelsea Women contributed a large chunk of that this summer when they sealed the services of Pernille Harder from Wolfsburg for a reported world-record fee of £250,000.

Emilio García Silvero, FIFA’s Chief Legal and Compliance Officer, said: “For the first time in the last decade, the number of player transfers declined, while there was also a sharp decrease in the size of the transfer fees paid out by clubs (men’s football).

“Meanwhile, we are greatly encouraged that, despite the current circumstances, player transfers in women’s football globally slightly increased, both in terms of the number of transfers and fees paid.”