With the 2022 summer transfer window now closed, we’ve taken stock of the wheeling and dealing to determine which clubs handled it best.
Who spent the most money?
The Premier League’s financial dominance was plain for all to see, with England’s 20 top-flight clubs spending over €2.2bn, while recouping less than half that figure. The other four major European leagues broke pretty much even overall, with the French and German top divisions actually making a modest collective profit.
To hammer this point home, nine of the 10 biggest net spenders in Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues were English. Chelsea and Manchester United led the way, with each more than €200m poorer after the window closed.
The only non-English club in the top 10 was Barcelona, whose board have been selling off future revenue streams for short-term success.
It wasn’t all one-way traffic in England either, with three of the four largest net trading profits – all of at least €60m – being made by Premier League teams. Chelsea’s signings of defenders Marc Cucurella and Wesley Fofana saw their former clubs Brighton and Leicester jump to the top of the list.
Seven of the 10 most expensive deals saw players join Premier League clubs, including two each to Chelsea and Manchester United. The latter’s capture of Antony from Ajax and Casemiro from Real Madrid both ranked inside the top five, making this another expensive summer for the Red Devils.
Does spending make a difference?
While the quality of transfer business can matter as much as the quantity, spending money does tend to deliver an immediate improvement. Over the previous 10 seasons, the biggest spender in each of the ‘big five’ leagues have seen their performances improve almost two thirds of the time, compared to just two in every five of the clubs who made the largest trading profit.
The most sensible positions to reinforce with a marquee summer transfer window signing have been full-back and central midfield. Clubs who made one of their league’s 10 most expensive signings in these areas have been most likely to see an improvement over the previous season, with more than half going on to win more points than previously.
However, those big-spending English clubs should be warned; the Premier League is the most difficult for a major signing to deliver a league title immediately. While roughly one in every three clubs who made one of the five biggest signings in the four leading European leagues went on to top the table, this proportion has been much lower in England.
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