Saturday 18 August 2018

Reduced summer spending may have impact on January window, says Deloitte

Summer spending fell in 2018 compared to the previous close season.

Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic signed five players on Thursday but spending was down overall (Daniel Hambury/PA)
Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic signed five players on Thursday but spending was down overall (Daniel Hambury/PA)

By Tom White, Press Association Sport Data Journalist

The new-look summer transfer window in the Premier League could lead to increased spending in January, according to a leading industry analyst.

The window closed on Thursday night, the eve of the new top-flight season. There was a late flurry of activity led by Everton and Fulham, but overall spending was reduced.

The 20 top-flight clubs – or 19 of them, with Tottenham inactive all summer – combined to spend £110million on deadline day and £1.23billion over the window as a whole, compared to £210m and £1.43bn 12 months ago.

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(PA Graphic)

Tim Bridge of Deloitte’s sport business group is awaiting the knock-on effect of the earlier closing of the window.

Bridge told Press Association Sport: “The fact that clubs are not able to make purchases on the back of three or four results feels to be a healthy move, in terms of the financial stability of the league.

“The key question for me is if you take a team that last year lost its first three games and then purchased heavily on the last day of the window – does that mean that that spending is going to flick across to January?

“Does that mean therefore that January is going to be a much more active market? (But) the market in January is much more challenging, does that mean that the transfer values are going to stay at a relatively lower level?

“Nothing would surprise you in the way Premier League clubs work – if they were to go out and spend a lot in January, you wouldn’t be surprised.”

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Virgil van Dijk was a big-money signing for Liverpool last January (Nigel French/PA)

Last season’s January window saw Premier League clubs spend £430m – almost double the previous January record of £225m in 2011 when strikers Fernando Torres and Andy Carroll joined Chelsea and Liverpool respectively.

“The 17-18 season, the spending in January was massive in comparison to other years,” said Bridge.

“We’d had anomalous years in the past, with the Andy Carroll transfer and that sort of thing, but January has traditionally been a difficult month to make a lot of headway in the transfer market.”

Despite the slight reduction in this summer’s gross figure, Premier League clubs’ net spend stands at a record £865m – but that figure could be reduced with the window still open throughout the rest of Europe.

It remains to be seen whether other leagues will follow suit in future years by closing the window before the season begins. The window in Italy closes on August 17, the day before the Serie A campaign begins.

Bridge added: “Clubs around Europe may feel this gives them an advantage in the transfer market so they may have a desire to leave their transfer window where it is.

“It gives them time to compete in the market without the Premier League.

“Have the European clubs been holding back, almost, and waiting for the Premier League window to close? It’s quite intriguing really.”

Press Association

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