New owners and improved broadcast deals drove Premier League clubs to break their transfer spending record for a season in the summer window alone, according to finance company Deloitte.
Gross spending this summer hit £1.92billion, surpassing the record of £1.86bn for the summer and January windows combined in the 2017-18 season.
It was also the first billion-pound net spend in a single window and Tim Bridge, lead partner in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, told the PA news agency: “It’s pretty remarkable really.
“If we’d gone back to the start of the summer I don’t think many of us would have predicted it to this level, but I think there’s a number of factors that have driven this.
“As we’ve come out of the Covid-19 pandemic I think clubs have got a little bit more security, we’ve just entered a new broadcast cycle which means those clubs know exactly what they’ll be generating, we’ve got fans back in the stadiums which provides more available cash to clubs.
“And we’ve got a wave of new owners as well, and what we’ve seen at Chelsea has really driven forward the market. You’ve got to look at these things in the sense that it creates a domino effect, as one club in the Premier League spends then another will do as well.
“It really does mark a point of record in where Premier League clubs are. Going over a billion at the net level really is a marker of how critical acquiring playing talent is to the business models, in particular at the top end of the Premier League.”
It is understood clubs’ total spending this summer equated to 32 per cent of turnover, only a slight increase on the 30 per cent in the summer of 2017.
Chelsea, under their new ownership group headed by Todd Boehly, spent £255.3m on the likes of Wesley Fofana, Marc Cucurella, Raheem Sterling and Kalidou Koulibaly.
That was £53.3m more than the next biggest spenders – Manchester United with £202m as Antony, Casemiro and Lisandro Martinez all featured in their top 10 most expensive signings of all time.
Manchester City’s Erling Haaland, Newcastle Alexander Isak and West Ham’s Lucas Paqueta were further £50m-plus arrivals – though City were one of five clubs to make a net profit in the window.
Newly-promoted Nottingham Forest recorded a gross spend of £126m as they brought in an astonishing 21 new players..
Bridge added: “I think it’s really interesting, this time last year they were pretty much bottom of the Championship after quite a poor start.
“Within the Championship, the difficult financial position for a lot of clubs means a lot of squads are made up of players on loan agreements or shorter-term contracts.
“With Nottingham Forest having that later run and being promoted through the play-offs, that gives them less time anyway in the transfer window but they clearly believe the best way to safeguard their future – and future income – is to spend heavily in the transfer market.
“Of course that comes with significant risk, gelling a squad at short notice but also the financial liability throughout the contracted period.”
The previous record summer of 2017 saw £1.43bn spent, with a further £430million in January 2018 – and a significant winter outlay seems probable this time around too, particularly with a mid-season World Cup showcase.
That would mean the first £2bn gross spend for a season and Bridge said: “We could be really set for a quite bumper year, to say the least.”
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