Highest spenders in Europe by league: The English are unreachable, La Liga worse of the top five

27.9.2021.  
Highest spenders in Europe by league: The English are unreachable, La Liga worse of the top five

While the world is still recovering from or still enduring the financial crisis caused by Covid-19 it's far less visible in football after one season. Although some places are still hit way more than others. In England, they shattered their record for a transfer fee spend on one player while Spain has never looked worse in the 21st century. We take a look at the numbers spent in the 2021 summer transfer window by leagues as wholes, that is the clubs operating in them.


Showing the financial landscape of European football, how the state of leagues has changed, and the accompanying numbers related to club expenditure.


The English are way ahead of the playground with an expenditure of €1,350,000,000! That's nearly three times than the next league in line! Of course, with Jack Grealish costing €117,000,000, Romelu Lukaku only two million less, and Jadon Sancho €85,000,000, it's not surprising that 20 Premier League clubs had the biggest tab. Not to mention that players on the level of Ben White go for nearly 60 million due to the so-called English tax.


Of the 10 biggest transfer fees of the summer, seven were paid by the clubs playing under the crest of a lion. When looking at the top 20 transfers, the English are deserving of 13 of them!


But the English clubs have also received the largest collective income, yet not even close to the margin of the expenditure. With €648,270,000 coming into their registers according to Transfermarkt.


Surprisingly, it's Serie A that's next in terms of expenditure despite the general feeling that the league has finished its short-lived renaissance. As key players left multiple clubs and the league: Cristiano Ronaldo, Lukaku, Gigi Donnarumma, Cristian Romero... But the Italian sides -ever the shopaholics - bought players for €574,000,000 total this summer of 2021! The biggest purchase being that of Tammy Abraham, from Chelsea to Roma for €40,000,000.


That is the only transfer in the cumulative top 20 transfers aligned towards the largest transfer fees. In the top 25 there can only be found the move of another former CFC player, Fikayo Tomori who joined Milan for €29,200,000.


Their income for transfers is unsurprisingly second, as due to the massive sales of Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi. Altogether, Scudetto-dreaming teams got €520,570,000 from transfers.


Yet in the example of the Italians, we start to see just how big of a difference the covid-19 financial crisis has had on the leagues.


When looking at the summer transfers before the 2019/2020 season, the English aren't too far off their most recent numbers, as they spent €1,430,000,000 that year. But for Serie A, the drop off is huge coming from €1,190,000,000! So is their income which used to be €846,000,000!


Continuing to look at transfer expenditure in the summer transfer window, the third spot belongs to Germany's league. Bundesliga teams spent €420,000,000, less than three times than the English. Although there are only 18 teams in the championship which gives them some levy from being too worried. While giving more reasons for alarm to the leagues placed beneath them.


Of course, Bayern Munich have the biggest move of the German sides, paying €42,500,000 for Dayot Upamecano. Borussia Dortmund made the only transfer worthy of top 25 overall when they brought in Donyell Malen.


Bundesliga is also the only of the top five leagues that has a bigger income than expenditure over this summer. For usually fiscally responsible Germans, their expenditure hasn't dropped off that much compared to 2019, as they spent €740,000,000 that year.


Fourth in the transfer spending is France's Ligue 1, mostly due to the transfer of Achraf Hakimi, which may rise to €71,000,000. The second-largest move was the purchase of Gerson by Marseille for €25,000,000! In a league that was on the rise due to the influx of more rich club-owners, only PSG has the money to rival top sides of other clubs, with they concluding their business a bit differently this summer, getting free agents mostly.


Ligue 1 had an income of €363,770,000 this summer and an expenditure of €689,550,000 two summers ago.


The biggest shock comes when looking at the numbers of the Spanish La Liga, whose numbers dropped by more than a half of billion compared to the window two summers ago. As El Clasico rivals suffered, so did the rest of the Spanish football.


Because neither Barcelona and Real Madrid are in good financial conditions, they bought barely any players from other La Liga sides which usually kickstarts the domino effect. El Clasico rivals usually get at least one player from the sides competing for Europa League and they use that money to buy from mid-table sides and so on.


But the total spending of La Liga comes down to €303,500,000 with nearly 10% of that being the last day of the transfer window move for the teenager Eduardo Camavinga who joined Real. Atletico Madrid made the biggest purchase by bringing in Rodrigo de Paul from Udinese for €35,000,000 and the side also got €30,000,000 man Matheus Cunha. Overall, Atleti are accounting for nearly a quarter of the expenditure made by Spanish sides.


Even their sale income is the lowest out of the top five leagues and by quite the margin, getting only €240,500,000 for their players.


Following the top five leagues of Europe, is the Russian Premier League, which spent €124,000,000 overall. A drop off of more than half compared to the weakest link of the top five. For the Russian teams, their expenditure is "just" €100,000,000 lower than it was before the covid-19 pandemic.


The Belgian league is the only other which passed the €100,000,000 mark in European football, as they passed it by 10 million. Two years ago, so did the English Championship, the Portuguese league, and the Eredivisie.


Now, the Portuguese spent only €77,000,000 altogether, just barely edging out the Turkish league. While the Eredivisie is behind the Italian Serie B, Ukrainian Premier League, the Championship, but also the Saudi league and the MLS. Having spent only €43,280,000. As their league was cancelled when covid-19 started in Europe, it's not surprising that the Dutch teams are having a tougher time recovering.


Yet the Dutch sides remain great sellers of talent and have cashed in €177,140,000. While the expenditure-based sixth-ranked RPL has sold players for nearly €100,000. Getting topped off by the Jupiler and the Primeira leagues, that is Belgium and Portugal. As well as the Championship, unsurprisingly due to the aforementioned English tax.


With fans being back in stands, and the game being even more important in the difficult times, it's more likely that the numbers will quickly jump back up for most leagues. For the Spanish, their budgets will be closely tied to their performances in lucrative tournaments like the Champions League. Making the fights in it and for it all that more interesting. 



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