You would think the news of a player who cost over £141m being barely used and loaned overseas would make more of a splash, wouldn’t you?
But this is football. An industry which usually features more money than sense and isn’t afraid to prove that point whenever the transfer window is open.
And despite the financial difficulties in which many clubs find themselves thanks to a combination of mismanagement and a global pandemic, spending at this time of the year is on the up. According to The Guardian, last January the 98 clubs in Europe’s big five leagues completed 460 deals worth a combined £260.2m. But in 2022, those figures stood at 679 and £629.1m respectively*. No calculator is required to see that more deals have been made and at a higher average value.
(*While it’s entirely possible The Guardian’s figures were lagging behind, and they have updated in the days following the closure of the window, at approximately 2:30pm on deadline day 468 deals worth a cumulative £533m were on the ledger. Talk about a late flurry of activity).
In the winter window directly before the world locked down, the spending totalled £811m (from 479 transactions), so although transfer life hasn’t returned back to those levels, it appears to be heading in that direction.
Such discrepancies from year to year are part of the reason that Paul Tomkins and Graeme Riley devised the Transfer Price Index, which enables us to compare the cost of a signing from any previous time in the Premier League era with one made today.
For instance, with add-ons factored in, Liverpool’s signing of Luis Díaz was the most expensive made by an English side in January, yet it wasn’t much more than what West Ham United paid for Andy Carroll in 2013/14, once the all-important inflation is applied.
The closing of the window is always a good time to assess the financial state of play across the division, so that’s what we’ll be doing here. However, we’ll also take a look at the season so far, with a look at squad costs and the prices of some of the XIs which have taken the field in 2021/22. Which match has seen the biggest upset for result versus financial firepower?
Oh, and the man mentioned in the opening sentence of the article is Anthony Martial, with his transfer fee listed as per the TPI system. The second most expensive player currently registered in England has left on loan to play for Sevilla, and it looks likely Manchester United will lose the Premier League’s costliest – Paul Pogba, £147.8m – for free in a few months too. But enough about them, what else has been going on?
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