Wednesday 21 February 2018

Liverpool top of the table for paying agents

Manchester United's Anthony Martial
Manchester United's Anthony Martial Newsdesk Newsdesk

Premier League clubs paid a record-breaking £129.9m in agents' fees in the past 12 months.

Figures released by the league yesterday showed that payments to middlemen soared nearly 13 per cent year on year, with Liverpool (£14.3m) spending the most of the 20 teams. Manchester United were in second place on almost £13.9m, with Manchester City third on £12.4m.

However, the biggest increase in spending was witnessed at Arsenal, whose agents' fees rocketed from £4.3m to £11.9m.

With Arsene Wenger making virtually no signings in that time, most of the extra money appears to have been spent by the Gunners on renegotiating players' contracts.

United's spending on agents surged by £5.9m during a period in which Louis van Gaal bought the likes of Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay.

Liverpool's fees remained nigh on constant from 12 months earlier, highlighting the botched attempts of Brendan Rodgers to fill the void left by Luis Suarez.

There were dramatic cuts in spending by Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur, down from £16.8m and £11m respectively to £12m and £6m.

City's fell marginally, despite them spending more than £150m on the likes of Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne last summer.

Inevitably, the three promoted teams in the Premier League were the lowest spenders, with Norwich City (£2.4m) and Bournemouth £2.3m) just ahead of Watford (£1.6m).

Overall, during the past 12 months there were 172 inbound transfers and loans to the Premier League, with clubs spending £1billion on players in a calendar year for the first time.

There were also 573 outbound transfers and loans and 542 new or updated contracts.

The total outlay on agents' fees was up from £115m a year earlier and £96m 12 months before that.

The ratio of agents' fees to turnover will not have reduced at all clubs - particularly Arsenal - but an overall downward trend would demonstrate that the amount agents take out of the game is no longer out of control.

That follows the introduction almost three years ago of the Premier League's version of Financial Fair Play, which was partly designed to curb the amount of money going to third parties.

The figures released yesterday did not silence fans who want to see clubs' latest worldwide television rights bonanza, which is on course to exceed £8billion, channelled into reducing ticket prices.

Irish Independent

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