Why 2020? Because this is the Covid era when transfer spending was supposed to be curbed. And five transfer windows is enough time to give us a pattern.
Headline: Nine out of 10 of the biggest spenders are in the Premier League. Wow.
All the numbers are from transfermarkt.
10) Aston Villa (net spend since 2020: £124.56m)
Biggest signing: Emiliano Buendia (£34.56m)
Biggest sale: Jack Grealish (£105m)
There’s something not quite right about Aston Villa spending more than Juventus, more than Bayern Munich, and way, way more than any Spanish club. They probably need to finish somewhere a little higher than 14th now.
9) Liverpool (net spend since 2020: £152.77m)
Biggest signing: Darwin Nunez (£67.5m)
Biggest sale: Sadio Mane (£28.8m)
What we do know is that Liverpool are unlikely to buy again this summer but they are likely to scrape together a few quid from the sales of Takumi Minamino, Nat Phillips and Neco Williams. All of which does not quite add up to ‘very little money, net’.
8) Manchester United (net spend since 2020: £156.24m)
Biggest signing: Jadon Sancho (£76.5m)
Biggest sale: Daniel James (£26m)
Maybe we should give Manchester United some rare praise for exhorting that fee from Leeds for Daniel James. You would have to say that they have generally got very little bang for their buck, mind. And they will need to spend, spend, spend this summer to even start to catch up.
7) Manchester City (net spend since 2020: £156.47m)
Biggest signing: Jack Grealish (£105m)
Biggest sale: Leroy Sane (£54m)
Nobody spends more than Manchester City but nobody takes more than Manchester City, who have sold Mane and Ferran Torres for significant sums and will likely sell Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus for similar figures this summer, which will offset any money they spend on a new left-back and central midfielder.
6) Paris Saint-Germain (net spend since 2020: £158.49m)
Biggest signing: Achraf Hakimi (£59.85m)
Biggest sale: Mitchel Bakker (£6.3m)
Nobody leaves PSG for money. And everybody joins or stays at PSG for ludicrous wages, which is not quite reflected in their actual transfer spending.
5) Tottenham Hotspur (net spend since 2020: £163.06m)
Biggest signing: Giovani Lo Celso (£28.8m)
Biggest sale: Juan Foyth (£13.5m)
No massive signings in this timeframe but rather too many £15-30m incomings, the vast majority of which have been achingly average or worse. Things appear to be looking up with the signings of Rodrigo Bentancur and Yves Bissouma on Antonio Conte’s watch, but Daniel Levy might want to get a few quid in for Harry Winks, Tanguy Ndombele and co.
4) Newcastle United (net spend since 2020: £168.95m)
Biggest signing: Bruno Guimaraes (£37.89m)
Biggest sale: Freddie Woodman (undisclosed)
They have basically taken f*** all from outgoing transfers (who needs to actually sell players for money when you are the richest club in the world?) while spending north of £100m since January 2022.
3) Chelsea (net spend since 2020: £169.29m)
Biggest signing: Romelu Lukaku (£101.7m)
Biggest sale: Tammy Abraham (£36m)
As we have documented elsewhere, Chelsea really have bought a right load of sh*t in recent years. This is only part-mitigated by their ability to sell players, sometimes for rather less money than they really should.
2) Leeds United (net spend since 2020: £201.19m)
Biggest signing: Brenden Aaronson (£29.56m)
Biggest sale: N/A
Yes, that’s right, not a single player sold for cash money since they were promoted to the top flight. Logic says that has to change soon because that kind of spending is unsustainable.
1) Arsenal (net spend since 2020: £210.18m)
Biggest signing: Ben White (£52.65m)
Biggest sale: Joe Willock (£26.46m)
That’s what moving from eighth to fifth costs. Trust the process. But getting absolutely nothing for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette has to be recorded as sub-optimal.