Premier League spending drops considerably

LONDON - England's Premier League clubs spent 119 million pounds less on transfers this close season compared to last year, according to a report into their transfer dealings.

Geoff Mesher, head of the Forensic Sports Industry Team at accountants KPMG, told Reuters in a telephone interview that Premier League clubs' net spending fell significantly from 210 million pounds in 2008 to 81 million pounds this year before the deadline closed on Tuesday.

"There are a number of reasons, but it is not just because of the world financial situation," he said.

"Football clubs are very powerful, independent businesses but, apart from Manchester City in England and Real Madrid in Europe, most clubs have spent significantly less.

"As far as English clubs are concerned there are a number of reasons, including the exchange rate between the pound and the euro and the tax situation in England.

"Even though you may be a player earning 100,000 pounds a week, those matters can affect whether you come to England or move to Europe and some big names have decided to stay in Europe."

He added in the report: "Generally, clubs have been acting with greater financial care in the current economic environment.

"The lack of big name players arriving in the England might appear strange given the recent success of English clubs in Europe, with three of the four semi-finalists in the last three years of the Champions League being English, but the reasons are purely financial."


Manchester City, backed by the vast wealth of owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan were the biggest spenders in England, buying players worth 117 million, splashing out nearly nearly three times as much as Liverpool.

"It is no surprise that Manchester City can continue to spend at such a high level given the strength of its financial backing," said KPMG's report.

"But of equal interest are clubs such as Sunderland, Birmingham, and Wolves who have occupied the higher reaches of the net spending table.

"Two are newly promoted whilst Sunderland were one of the lowest placed teams to avoid relegation last season. This level of investment in the current economic climate reflects the financial pressure on clubs to avoid relegation and their willingness to speculate to achieve this goal."

Mesher said the struggle by Premier League clubs to attract or retain big name players reflected the attraction of Spain's La Liga to many players.

"Our analysis of the recent transfer window has revealed a reduction in Premier League transfer funds paid to non-English clubs supporting the argument that teams have struggled to entice big names from overseas.

"It is no coincidence that the majority of Manchester City's big summer signings were purchased from within the English top flight.

"For the time being in the international transfer market La Liga and, more specifically Real Madrid, appear to have the upper hand on the Premiership."