CIES Football Observatory report reveals spending totals for the last six years – plus which clubs have made the most cash for their players over the same period
Spending: we're obsessed with it. Arsene Wenger tries his hardest not to lash out in journalist-induced bi-weekly fits of rage from July through to September; Jurgen Klopp said he couldn't wait for the summer transfer window to close (“you don't believe for a second in things like improvement on the training pitch,” he fumed).
But there's no getting past the fact it's still big news – and most importantly, a pretty handy indicator of success. Leicester were lauded last season for smashing the status quo and bettering their expensively assembled rivals, but the Foxes' success is one of football's biggest anomalies alongside Atletico Madrid's 2013/14 La Liga triumph.
I really wait for the day when finally the transfer window closes, because I can't believe how obsessed you all are with this
You won't be surprised by the clubs topping this list, but you may be by the top-spending team's 'winning' margin. Manchester City are some £130m clear of second-placed Chelsea in the last six years, having used their Middle Eastern powers to chuck close to a billion pounds at the likes of Kevin De Bruyne (£55m), Raheem Sterling (£44m), Nicolas Otamendi (£32m) and Leroy Sane (£37m) in that timeframe (those highlighted deals in the last two campaigns alone).
It's important to note that the chart below doesn't denote net spend, but it makes for interesting reading nonetheless: Man City have outspent Arsenal and Tottenham combined (with £86m change), and treble that of Borussia Dortmund. Liverpool are high on the list too, but their money-throwing can in part be explained by what they've received for others (more on that later).
Looking at 2016's spending alone (January included), it's clear just how big an impact that the Premier League's new £10.4bn deal has already had. English teams make up 11 of the 20 top-spending clubs, including the likes of Bournemouth, Watford, Leicester and Everton – three of whom were in the Championship as recently as 2014. This year, three of those clubs have outspent PSG, with the French side splashing only £4m more than Bournemouth.
But what of the grateful beneficiaries? It's in fact Liverpool who lead the way here, having auctioned off the likes of Fernando Torres (£50m), Luis Suarez £65m) and Raheem Sterling (£44), but also cut their losses on expensive flops in Andy Carroll (£15m) and Christian Benteke (£27m).
Below them are Europe's great providers: the Jorge Mendes-linked likes of Valencia, Benfica, Porto, Atletico Madrid and Monaco, plus Europa League kings Sevilla and Premier League Tottenham (who, it should be noted, haven't really been forced into a sale since the £92m transfer of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid in 2013).