Tottenham and Arsenal ‘top’ net transfer debts list

Sarah Winterburn
Arsenal Chelsea Liverpool Manchester City Manchester United Tottenham scarves Super League

Transfer fees are generally paid in instalments. On tick. On the old never-never. Except they do have to be paid at some point and rather embarrassingly, those numbers have to be included on club accounts.

Football finance guru Kieran Maguire has been collating those numbers to work out which Premier League clubs owe the most in transfer fees (Arsenal), and for balance he also worked out which clubs are owed the most money for transfer fees (Chelsea by an absolute country mile). We have done the easy part of doing the sums to work out the balance.

These numbers are all taken from the last available full accounts and they relate to all declared transfer fees either owed or owing. We start with the clubs in credit…


Owe: £127m
Owed: £223m
Balance: Chelsea are owed £96m

Nobody sells quite like Chelsea. No Premier League club has come even remotely close to selling players at the volume and value of Chelsea over the last five years. Six players have been sold for £30m-plus over the last five seasons alone but the big money is owed for one man…


Newcastle United
Owe: £12m
Owed: £48m
Balance: Newcastle United are owed £36m

Newcastle are one club who have tried to “get away from dating” and move towards paying up front for transfers, but they are still owed considerable sums for Aleksandar Mitrovic and Moussa Sissoko, with that particular transfer to Spurs bringing in £6m a year for the five seasons of the Frenchman’s contract.


Crystal Palace
Owe: £17m
Owed: £47m
Balance: Crystal Palace are owed £30m

The caveat is that Palace – like many clubs – actually sell those instalments to release more cash, but those debts might still officially remain on the books. Football is a funny old business.


Owe: £73m
Owed: £79m
Balance: Liverpool are owed £6m

Barcelona still owe a massive whack of money for Philippe Coutinho and will likely be still paying that debt long after they have finally crowbarred his wages off their books.


Sheffield United
Owe: £25m
Owed: £29m
Balance: Sheffield United are owed £4m

Those numbers will look way out of date by next year, when more staggered payments will also be due for Rhian Brewster and Aaron Ramsdale. They’re going to have a very expensive Championship side.


Owe: £2m
Owed: £2m
Balance: Burnley owe nowt to no bugger

That’s proper.


Manchester City
Owe: £73m
Owed: £66m
Balance: Manchester City owe £7m

There are clubs across Europe that owe Manchester City significant cash, with reports 12 months ago claiming that City were still due ‘huge sums’ for such blue legends as Edin Dzeko, Nolito and Danilo. They are not averse to buying on HP too, with Rodri allegedly costing more than his release clause in instalments.


Owe: £23m
Owed: £3m
Balance: Brighton owe £20m

Nothing worrying here but Brighton are rapidly approaching the point when they really should cash in on at least one of Yves Bissouma, Tariq Lamptey or Ben White.

Yves Bissouma and Jack Grealish


Owe: £83m
Owed: £52m
Balance: Everton owe £31m

Barcelona appear to be owed the bulk of that transfer money from Everton, who have spent more than either Liverpool or Tottenham on transfers over the last five seasons. It has earned them the highs of *checks table* eighth.


Leicester City
Owe: £98m
Owed: £55m
Balance: Leicester owe £33m

It somehow seems apt that the clubs bidding to break the Big Six are operating at very similar levels of transfer debt, with Leicester heavily using banks for loans to offset complex transfer arrangements.


Owe: £55m
Owed: £12m
Balance: Southampton owe £43m

Southampton’s net transfer spend over the last five years is less than any other established Premier League club. That is extraordinary.


Aston Villa
Owe: £62m
Owed: £14m
Balance: Aston Villa owe £48m

That’s a promoted club with a big old initial transfer outlay right there. They are the Premier League’s 11th biggest spenders over the last five years despite spending three of those five seasons in the Championship.


Owe: £101m
Owed: £17m
Balance: Wolves owe £84m

That’s a promoted club with a big old initial transfer outlay right there. They are the Premier League’s 10th biggest spenders over the last five years despite spending two of those five seasons in the Championship. Expect that ‘owed’ number to rise after the sales of Diogo Jota, Matt Doherty and Helder Costa last summer.


Manchester United
Owe: £149m
Owed: £58m
Balance: Manchester United owe £91m

They’re still paying for Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku and just about every other player to come through the doors in the last five years. Borussia Dortmund were not keen on the same Buy Now, Pay Later terms last summer when they tried to pay for Jadon Sancho using tokens and coupons. And no, the Glazers are going nowhere.


West Ham
Owe: £111m
Owed: £16m
Balance: West Ham owe £95m

Yikes. Owing pretty much 30% of your transfer outlay over the last five years is not a great look.


Owe: £154m
Owed: £47m
Balance: Arsenal owe £107m


Owe: £149m
Owed: £26m
Balance: Tottenham owe £123m

Ah, the king of the thin instalment deals. This is how Daniel Levy rolls…