How has the football transfer window evolved over a decade?

The summer transfer window has just ended, the 2023-2024 football season is in full swing and this year, as always, has had its share of surprises in the transfer market. Each year, at the end of the football season, a new season of just over 2 months begins which lasts throughout the summer. This period, especially appreciated by football fans, re-distributes the cards for the coming season. The biggest clubs in Europe and the world compete to acquire the best players on the planet. And this decade has seen many ups and downs. The football world has never made so much money, look at the evolution of the transfer window in the past ten years!

The year 2023 is undoubtedly the year of all records for the transfer window. For the first time in the history of football, investment in transfer fees globally has exceeded 10 billion euros. Even though the transfer period has not yet officially ended in all countries around the world, spending has already reached 12.4 billion euros. 10 years ago, during the 2014 summer transfer window, this amount did not exceed 4.5 billion euros.

Also read: Salaries in Ligue 1: Who are the highest paid footballers for the 2023-2024 season?

CIES method

The CIES Football Observatory is a research group part of the International Center for the Study of Sport (CIES). Specializing in the statistical analysis of football, the latter regularly publishes analyses, reports and assessments on the world of football. Therefore, to prepare this article, we relied on data published by CIES, which includes amounts paid in terms of fixed transfer compensation, any bonuses, as well as loans repaid. The amounts negotiated for loans with purchase obligations are included in the balance sheet for the year of the transfer.

Also read: The 10 biggest transfers of the 2023 summer transfer window

Development of expenses in the last ten years

Do you know the Big 5? In the world of football, and especially in European football, there is a group of five countries whose championships are considered the best in Europe. That’s why these championships have more media coverage than others: more TV rights, more money, more players with better quality….

The countries present in the Big 5 are England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France. And clubs in these championships have spent a lot in recent years. In fact, according to CIES data, in 2021, they will have spent more than 3.834 billion euros compared to 1.956 in 2012, almost doubling in just ten years.

Which clubs are the biggest spenders?

Over the last ten years, it has surprisingly been the English clubs who have spent the most. If we take stock of the most negative net results on transfer operations by club between 2014 and 2023, seven of the top ten are English, including the first two in the ranking. In fact, this is logical: English clubs are the ones that receive the most TV rights and their championship is renowned for being the best in the world.

Post Team Expenditure Recipes Balance sheet
1 Manchester United 1.959 billion euros 563 million euros -1.396 billion euros
2 Chelsea FC 2.637 billion euros 1.604 billion euros -1.033 billion euros
3 Paris Saint Germain 1.761 billion euros 751 million euros -1.010 billion euros
4 arsenal fc 1.380 billion euros 509 million euros -871 million euros
5 Manchester City 1.953 billion euros 1.097 billion euros -856 million euros
6 Newcastle United 1.016 billion euros 345 million euros -671 million euros
7 FC Barcelona 1.779 billion euros 1.116 billion euros -663 million euros
8 Tottenham Hotspur 1.264 billion euros 655 million euros -609 million euros
9 AC Milan 979 million euros 434 million euros -545 million euros
10 West Ham United 1.009 billion euros 482 million euros -527 million euros

Thus, with more than 2.63 billion euros spent in the last decade, of which more than a billion invested since its acquisition in the summer of 2022 should be remembered, Chelsea has by far the most in terms of transfer compensation. It is a club that invests more money. However, Manchester United have the most negative record of the last decade. The reason is simple, although the Mancunian club has invested 1.96 billion euros, on the other hand they have achieved very little revenue (linked to the sale of players), so its highest ever balance is negative.

Also read: Why is Saudi Arabia trying to attract footballers?

The Premier League is a cut above the rest

The Premier League is by far the most represented championship, with seven clubs in the top 10 clubs with the most negative net transfer transactions between 2014 and 2023. Since this championship is the most followed in the world, English clubs receive much more revenue from TV rights than their European neighbours.

Manchester City, 5I The club is the biggest spender of the decade, having invested almost 2 billion euros in 10 years. Under the leadership of their great coach Pep Guardiola, Guardiola did not hesitate to put pressure on his leaders so that the club could double all positions. In the 2016–2017 financial year, Manchester City spent 1.24 billion euros, making Pep Guardiola the biggest spender. This season, City won the Champions League for the first time in its history. But more than individuals, the Sky Blues have managed to create one of the most brilliant teams in the history of football in just ten years.

freewheeling chelsea

Chelsea and their brand new owner, Todd Boehly, are the biggest spenders so far in the summer transfer window. It is the first and only team in the world to surpass the symbolic milestone of an investment of two billion euros. In the space of one year and just two transfer windows, Chelsea have invested more than 600 million euros, more than a quarter of the total amount spent in the last decade. Nevertheless, the London club finished 12th this seasonI Of Premier League. So money isn’t everything in football.

Also read: Chelsea club sold at record price

Who are the best sellers in the transfer window?

Being a spendthrift doesn’t mean being a good salesman. As evidence, there is no English club among the top 20 teams that have made the best net profit on transfers over the past ten years. On the other hand, France and Portugal have 3 clubs each in the top 10 respectively. The reason is simple, the young nuggets from Monaco, Lyon or even Benfiquiste are approached very early by big European clubs who no longer hesitate to spend. Crazy to attract players who sometimes have very few professional matches.

Post Team Expenditure Recipes Balance sheet
1 sl benfica 564 million euros 1.328 billion euros +764 million euros
2 afc ajax 593 million euros 1.023 billion euros +434 million euros
3 RB salzburg 202 million euros 623 million euros +421 million euros
4 AS Monaco 972 million euros 1.374 billion euros +402 million euros
5 Sporting CP 368 million euros 744 million euros +376 million euros
6 fc porto 433 million euros 785 million euros +352 million euros
7 losc lily 375 million euros 724 million euros +349 million euros
8 Olympique Lyonnais 520 million euros 856 million euros +336 million euros
9 psv eindhoven 236 million euros 499 million euros +263 million euros
10 dinamo zagreb 78 million euros 329 million euros +251 million euros

Also read: Ranking the budgets of the top 14 clubs for the 2023-2024 season

Arrivals/sales: transfer window balance of Ligue 1 clubs over ten years

But what about the French Championship? For more than 10 years, Ligue 1 has dominated the transfer market, notably thanks to Paris Saint-Germain and AS Monaco. Important arrivals were able to please the French supporters. Big names like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Radamel Falcao, Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr, Dimitri Payet, Alexis Sanchez and many more have appeared on Ligue 1 pitches.

However, after the arrival of big investors Ligue 1 clubs had to deal with financial fair play. This new regulation aims to prevent excessive spending by clubs by ensuring that they do not spend more money than they earn. But in reality, which clubs have actually managed to balance their accounts?

Ranking of transfer window balances of the last decade

Post Team transfer window balance
1 Lily +€321.23M
2 lyon +€321.03M
3 monaco +€181.49m
4 montpellier +€132.33 million
5 Lorient +€118.99M
6 toulouse +€72.06M
7 mets +€61.10M
8 le havre +€43.35m
9 rams +€37.22M
10 rc lens +€33.63M
11 Clermont +€32.63M
12 Nantes +€28.63M
13 rain +€26.46M
14 breast +€18.60M
15 strasburg -29.25M€
16 Good -75M€
17 marseille -219.23M€
18 Paris -890.60M€

Also read: Budget of Ligue 2 clubs for the 2023–2024 season

Top 10 biggest transfers in football history

Every transfer window has its own share of surprises and record transfers. Business Cool brings you a summary of the 10 biggest transfers of the decade.

Post player club amount
10 Jack Grealish Aston Villa -> Chelsea €117M
9 antoine griezmann Atletico Madrid -> FC Barcelona 120M€
8 Enzo Fernandez Benfica -> Chelsea €121M
7 Declan Rice West Ham -> Arsenal €122M
6 joao felix Benfica -> Atletico Madrid €126M
5 Moises Caicedo brighton -> chelsea €133M
4 philippe coutinho Liverpool -> FC Barcelona €135M
3 ousmane dembele Dortmund -> FC Barcelona €145M
2 kilian mbappe Monaco -> PSG 180M€
1 neymar jr FC Barcelona -> PSG €222M

Also read: Ranking of Ligue 1 budgets for the 2022–2023 season

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