On the night of September 1 (early morning of September 2, Hanoi time), the 2023 summer transfer market in Europe ended, marking a new milestone in football history: the 6 strongest championships exceeded spending. 6.2 billion euros to invest in new players.
According to Transfermarkt data, this is the highest number in history. Worldwide, clubs spent more than 7.6 billion euros on purchases, also a record.
Just three years after the pandemic pushed European football to the brink of collapse, the major leagues have sped up spending.
La Liga goes against the world
In England, Germany, Italy and France, new records were recorded. Of the five major tournaments, only Spain has the most limited spending because most clubs have not yet overcome financial difficulties.
For the first time since 2013, La Liga ranked 6th in the old continent in terms of investment level, with more than 400 million euros spent by clubs during the summer.
Standing above La Liga are other major European football tournaments, along with the Saudi Pro League – where the transfer only ends on September 20.
In 2019, in the last market before the pandemic broke out, Spanish clubs disbursed 1.54 billion euros (including second place).
That day, when the scandals were not discovered and the debt was more than 1.3 billion euros, Barcelona spent a total of 298.5. Prominent are Antoine Griezmann (120 million euros; returned to Atletico) and Frenkie de Jong (86 million euros).
After 4 years, this number did not reach 1/3. This year, only Real Madrid is spending heavily, with a record in club history for Jude Bellingham (103 million euros, with a 20 million euros back payment clause).
Last year, Barca used a lot of economic leverage to make purchases worth a total of 158 million euros. This market, only 3.4 million flowed from the budget of the Catalan giant.
This money was reserved for former player Oriol Romeu from Girona to replace Sergio Busquets. The rest are all free contracts (Ilkay Gundogan, Inigo Martinez), or loans (Joao Felix, Joao Cancelo).
La Liga explains this situation mainly due to 2 factors. “Most clubs are at a different investment time than before the pandemic. Investing in long-term assets is being prioritized, renovating stadiums and sports centers. In addition, we have the opportunity to economic control regime, in which financial sustainability prevails. The teams have imposed a number of rules according to the fundamental value of investing and spending what they are capable of generating for themselves”.
At the same time, La Liga also accused other tournaments such as the Premier League of “distorting the market and endangering the existence of teams in the long run”. This “distortion” led to a record-breaking summer.
Records in 4 other major tournaments
Premier League, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 all broke spending records in the history of summer tournaments this year.
On the contrary, Serie A achieved the highest income in the history of the tournament. However, the Italian football league has not yet recovered from the general decline that the market suffered in 2020.
This summer, Serie A – the league with three clubs reaching the quarter-finals of the Champions League last season – has disbursed the second lowest figure in the past decade: more than 845 million euros.
More than 2.7 billion euros disbursed by Premier League clubs. This fee accounts for nearly half of the investment in transfers of the five major European leagues.
Among the 7 teams that spend the most, 5 representatives come from English football: Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal, MU and Tottenham. The other two teams are Al-Hilal from Saudi Arabia and PSG of France.
Chelsea alone spends more than 20 clubs in the Spanish league. Billionaire Todd Boehly’s team invested 464.1 million euros to recruit soldiers.
Another record this summer was the first time teams paid at least 100 million euros for four different players in the same market: Declan Rice (116.6), Moises Caicedo (116), Jude Bellingham (103 ) and Harry Kane (100).
Real Madrid’s signing of Bellingham from Dortmund, in the context of still spending the budget for renovating the Santiago Bernabeu stadium, accounts for 25% of La Liga’s spending.
Real Madrid is also the only La Liga representative to make a contract exceeding 25 million euros. Bilbao alone did not spend a penny.
In return, Spanish football collected 556.5 million euros from the sale of players, making a profit of 116.65 million euros. “After the pandemic, the market for players to buy and sell dropped, sales decreased. So sales also decreased in a sustainable system like ours,” La Liga explained.
La Liga appreciates economic sustainability, but what happened is worrying. Interest in the league, which includes live broadcasts of matches, is at risk of falling dramatically.
Ngoc Huy | 15:06 09/02/2023