Chelsea confirm new transfer record as Premier League clubs spend £815 million

It was another record-breaking month of spending in the Premier League. Credit: PA

By Content Producer Narbeh Minassian

Chelsea has confirmed a British record transfer of £106.8 million for World Cup-winner Enzo Fernandez, capping an unprecedented window of winter spending in the Premier League.

Clubs in the English top flight spent a record £815 million in the January transfer window, far surpassing the previous high of £430 million in 2018 and nearly triple last January’s figure.

Meanwhile, the total spend across Europe’s other so-called ‘big five’ leagues – in Spain, Italy, Germany and France – was just £225 million in comparison.

Chelsea led the way with the record Fernandez signing and a reported £88.5 million deal for forward Mykhailo Mudryk.

The Blues’ roughly £318 million outlay alone is more than the combined spend of all other clubs in the big five leagues in January outside the Premier League.

What about Financial Fair Play?

It is all to do with the way UEFA assesses clubs’ annual spending. Rather than record the entire fee spent on a player as outgoings for a given year, the figure is instead spread over the term of the player’s contract.

That means that, for example, a £50 million deal for a player who is given a five-year contract will be treated by the governing body as a £10 million spend per year for the duration of the contract, rather than £50 million in the year the transfer was made.

This explains why Chelsea has taken the unusual step of handing out seven and eight-year contracts to their big-money signings, reducing the total amount recorded as transfer spending per season.

However, reports suggest UEFA is set to close this loophole in the summer and enforce contract limits of five years – something that may have persuaded the Blues to go all out to sign Fernandez before Tuesday’s deadline.

Nearly £3 billion spent

Amid such vast amounts being spent, the record for a full season had already been broken by a £1.92 billion summer outlay.

Spending then surpassed the £2 billion mark for the first time and stretched to an eventual total of £2.8 billion – a new all-time high.

Calum Ross, assistant director in Deloitte’s Sports Business Group, said: “Record transfer spend in January, surpassing the previous record of £430 million in January 2018.

“(In terms of) a seasonal spend in 2022-23, Premier League clubs are now over £2.5 billion which highlights the level of capability of spend that they’ve got in the market at the moment.”

He added the other ‘big five’ leagues collectively are receiving more from sales than they are splashing out on transfers – a stark comparison with the Premier league’s £1.5 billion net spend.

“The Premier League was the only league of the big five that actually increased its media rights in the latest cycle, all the others either declined or stayed flat,” he said.

Mykhailo Mudryk signed for Chelsea earlier in January. Credit: PA

The previous record season saw £1.43 billion spent in the summer of 2017 with the January window’s £430 million making for a total of £1.86 billion.

This campaign has blown that out of the water and Mr Ross sees no let-up in the near future.

“One of the good indicators is to look at the transfer spend as a percentage of revenue and on the net transfer spend, we’re looking at about a quarter of revenue being spent on transfers,” he said.

“That is a lot, it’s higher than it’s ever been, but I think – managed appropriately, with appropriate long-term business planning and financial control – I can see that continuing.”

How much did other clubs spend?

Newcastle spent a reported £40 million initial fee to bring forward Anthony Gordon from struggling Everton – who were the only club not to make a January signing – while Liverpool spent £38 million on Netherlands international Cody Gakpo.

Leeds United, meanwhile, broke their transfer record with a £35 million move for Hoffenheim’s Georginio Rutter.

What were the other record transfers in the Premier League?

  • Jack Grealish (Aston Villa to Manchester City, £100 million, August 2021)

  • Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan to Chelsea, £97.5 million, August 2021)

  • Paul Pogba (Juventus to Manchester United, £89 million, August 2016)

  • Antony (Ajax to Manchester United, £80.6 million, August 2022)

  • Harry Maguire (Leicester to Manchester United, £80 million, August 2019)

  • Romelu Lukaku (Everton to Manchester United, £75 million, July 2017)

  • Virgil van Dijk (Southampton to Liverpool, £75 million, January 2018)

  • Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United, £73 million, July 2021)

  • Nicolas Pepe (Lille to Arsenal, £72 million, August 2019)

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