Saturday 17 March 2018

TV deal and Leicester's shock title fuel Premier League's record-breaking spree

Moussa Sissoko's big-money move from Newcastle to Tottenham contributed to a £155million deadline-day spree
Moussa Sissoko's big-money move from Newcastle to Tottenham contributed to a £155million deadline-day spree

The new Premier League television deal and the pressure to respond to Leicester's shock title win were behind this summer's record transfer spending, according to Deloitte's sports business group.

Premier League clubs spent record figures of £1.165billion in the transfer window, up 34 per cent on last year, and £155million on deadline day.

The summer also saw Manchester United pay the highest individual fee in football history, £89m for France midfielder Paul Pogba, as new manager Jose Mourinho put his stamp on Old Trafford.

Chelsea's new boss Antonio Conte spent reported deadline-day fees of £30m to bring David Luiz back to the club and £23m on full-back Marcos Alonso while Champions League quartet Manchester City - under Pep Guardiola - Arsenal, Tottenham and Leicester themselves spent a combined £385million in the window.

Deloitte's Tim Bridge told Press Association Sport: "New managers are given a war chest, and we were in a unique situation last year where the massive underdog won the league. The pressure has never been bigger on those supposed big four, maybe six, clubs.

"Manchester United are a sporting superpower, for them not to be at the top of the Premier League doesn't fit their narrative. It's the same for Manchester City, and Chelsea after such a disappointing season. T hose three clubs who've got the new high-profile managers have all reacted to quite a poor season for them."

Tottenham's deadline-beating acquisition of Moussa Sissoko from Newcastle took Wednesday's Premier League spending past 2013's record £140m on the final day, but that was not the only significant landmark.

"That took it over the record for a season, and we've still got January to come which is going to push that number even further up," said Bridge.

At the root of the spending, of course, is the Premier League's new £5bn-plus three-year broadcast deal. Significant increases in television money in 2007 and 2013 led to a leap in spending, a pattern repeated this summer.

"The record TV deals mean clubs have more disposable income than ever," said Bridge.

"Previously, Real Madrid and Barcelona generated about 140m euros (£117m at current prices) each from their broadcast contracts, which they were able to set individually, and that was way in excess of Premier League clubs. Now, if you're finishing at the top of the Premier League, you're going to get £140-150m so the playing field is levelled.

"UEFA Financial Fair Play and Premier League cost controls mean wages are not increasing at the same rate as revenue. As a result, clubs are saying, 'We can probably spend £5-10m more on this player, to make sure we beat off the competition'.

"There's also the long-term aspect - the TV deals last for three years and if you can safeguard your position in the Premier League for those three years, then you have a guaranteed revenue stream."

Serie A clubs came closest to their Premier League counterparts' gross spending and Bridge felt their total of £590m represented a "domino effect as a result of the Pogba money coming in".

The Bundesliga and LaLiga followed on £460m and £400m respectively but with the latter adopting the Premier League's centralised approach to broadcast revenue, Bridge expects a shift in the balance of power.

"The interesting league is Spain," he said. "We're expecting the value of that league will go up pretty sharply over the next couple of years and overtake the Bundesliga (as) the second-highest revenue-generating league.

"The model in the Premier League has been so equitable for so long. Spain has latched on to the critical success factors in England and is trying to mimic that."

And what of the Premier League's financial future?

"I think it comes in cycles," said Bridge. "Most likely, over the next two years clubs will continue to spend heavily in the transfer market, t hen it depends what happens with the next round of broadcast deals.

"W e're probably only a year, or a year and a half, away from finding out what the next cycle is. The last two increases have taken everybody by surprise. People keep saying it's going to blow up, it's going to stop, but it doesn't seem to be happening."

Press Association

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