Premier League clubs haven’t messed about in the summer transfer window.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that the economic ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic would have slammed the brakes on transfer spending, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for a lot of teams.
Chelsea have been making the most headlines for their incredibly busy summer with the arrivals of Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva with more poised to follow suit.
Premier League spending
Manchester United finally cranked their transfer spending into gear with the arrival of Donny van de Beek, while Manchester City moved early for Ferran Torres and Nathan Ake.
So, while clubs such as Liverpool remain pretty quiet in the market, there’s no denying that Premier League sides are splashing the cash to whip themselves into the best shape for 2020/21.
However, in these uncertain economic times, keeping the books as balanced as possible has never been so important and many football fans will be familiar with the idea of net spending.
It’s essentially the difference between how much a football club has spent on arrivals compared to how much they’ve received from departures – and Transfermarkt conveniently track these figures.
And ahead of some more potential big-money signings, we decided to touch base with the state of play in the Premier League by ranking the clubs by net spending over the last two seasons.
In other words, since Pep Guardiola lifted his second Premier League trophy in 2018/19. So, without further ado, check out the table down below where first place really isn’t the place you want to be.
20. Chelsea – £38.76 million
I bet you weren’t expecting this now, were you? It’s insane to think that Chelsea have the best net spend in the entire Premier League when they’ve been the most active club in the transfer market.
However, their position does have a lot to do with their transfer ban last summer and they will leap up a number of places when Kai Havertz finally puts pen to paper on his £70 million move.
19. Liverpool – £30.69 million
So, yes, the timespan we’re talking about here means that Liverpool are saved from the mega money fees they paid for Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker, but they still deserve serious credit.
To have gone into a Premier League-winning season without having spent more than £20 million is pretty insane and they look pretty much on course to defend the trophy in similar fashion.
18. Crystal Palace – £27.32 million
Palace could skyrocket to the enviable place of 20th if they finally get some big bucks for Wilfried Zaha this summer, but their accounts will make for impressive reading for Roy Hodgson regardless.
17. Leicester City – £12.06 million
You don’t need to be a footballing historian to know that the hefty fees Leicester have collected for Harry Maguire and Ben Chilwell over the last two summers have a lot to do with their positive total here.
16. West Bromwich Albion – £2.00 million
West Brom aren’t fancied by many upon their return to the Premier League and their lack of spending since promotion makes them the last top flight team to produce a positive net spend.
15. Burnley: -£5.27 million
Look, Burnley might not play tika-taka every week, but they deserve so much credit for the stability they’ve found as a Premier League side and they’ve hardly had to spend big to make it happen.
It’s astonishing that Sean Dyche has delivered tenth and eighth-placed finishes when they’re only in the red by £5 million and merely have the 16th most valuable squad in the division.
14. Southampton: -£25.92 million
The Saints are another team getting bang for their bucks right now and big things are expected of them in 2020/21, all the while Pierre-Emile Højbjerg’s exit has slipped some extra notes in their wallet.
13. Fulham: -£30.15 million
Hopefully Fulham have learnt the lessons of their doomed 2018/19 season and won’t obliterate their bank account this summer, but such a respectable finish suggests they’ve started to twig.
12. Newcastle United: -£33.53 million
It’s no secret that Mike Ashley likes to run a tight financial ship in the north-east, so it’s perhaps surprising to see the Toon in the red, but the big-money signings of Joelinton and Miguel Almirón are certainly the guilty parties.
11. Leeds United: -£34.42 million
There’s a lot of optimism surrounding Leeds upon their return to the Premier League after 16 years and their recent club-record signing of Rodrigo has a lot to with their placing in mid-table here.
10. Everton: -£34.69 million
Considering the erratic spending that’s been going on at Everton over the last few seasons, fans should probably pat themselves on the back that they’re less than £35 million in the red since 2019.
But they shouldn’t get too far ahead of themselves when you consider James Rodriguez and Allan are on the brink of arriving in a double deal that will push them further down the pecking order.
9. Brighton & Hove Albion: -£45.53 million
It’s gone somewhat under the radar that Brighton have been spending as much as they have under Graham Potter, so perhaps the club will start expecting more than relegation scraps from now on.
8. Wolverhampton Wanderers: -£56.88 million
Yup, no surprises that Wolves find themselves in the top half when you bear in mind all their Portuguese-led signings courtesy of Jorge Mendes during their time back in the Premier League.
7. West Ham United: -£65.36 million
If I was a Hammers fan right now, I’d be taking seventh place and running with it because the club has been fighting relegation on and off despite big money moves for the likes of Sébastien Haller.
6. Sheffield United: -£89.49 million
This has more to do with the fact Chris Wilder’s men haven’t necessarily been selling for as much money as they have been buying, but Blades fans will hardly complain when they’re finishing in the top half.
5. Manchester City: -£118.46 million
For all the ‘money club’ accusations thrown at City on a regular basis, it’s perhaps surprising to see the Citizens only finishing in fifth, but their spending has been far more surgical over the last 12 months.
That being said, they could find themselves on the podium of shame if they do indeed throw their wallet under the bus with summer moves for Lionel Messi and Kalidou Koulibaly.
4. Tottenham Hotspur: -£122.49 million
You get the feeling that Daniel Levy just went ‘sod it’ last summer with the ill-judged, club record signing of Tanguy Ndombele and the spending has only continued as Spurs look to back Jose Mourinho.
3. Arsenal: -£126.45 million
Gone are the days of Arsene Wenger’s rapacious handling of business and in are the days of loosening the pursestrings at the Emirates with Nicolas Pepe setting the club back a handsome £72 million.
2. Aston Villa: -£153.77 million
You’ve got to worry for Villa, you really have. They hardly felt the benefits of their insane 2019 summer of spending, narrowly avoiding relegation, so they really need to kick on this year.
Combine this unsavoury placing with the fact they have the 11th most valuable squad in the entire division and you’ve got to point fingers at Dean Smith if they don’t reach mid-table in 2020/21.
1. Manchester United: -£154.64 million
Woof. Look, as much as United like to make fun of their city neighbours about their spending, there’s no denying that they’ve repeatedly splashed the cash since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
That certainly hasn’t change during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s slow rebuild, either, with potential arrivals for Dayot Upamecano and Jadon Sancho potentially extending their unwanted lead.
Big wins for Chelsea and Liverpool
So, sure, the transfer ban and Havertz’s impending arrival means we should apply a pinch of salt to Chelsea’s finish, but don’t pretend as though their placing in 20th doesn’t come as a surprise.
It’s pretty remarkable that Silva, Chilwell, Werner and Ziyech have all come through the door without pushing them down and a lot of that has to do with Eden Hazard’s move to Real Madrid.
But don’t worry Liverpool fans, you could be just a few hours away from moving the farthest into the green of any club and that’s pretty impressive going for the reigning Premier League champions.