The world of football has witnessed a groundbreaking moment, with transfer spending exceeding €10 billion for the first time in a single season. This shatters the previous record of €9.4 billion set in 2019/20. The ten most spendthrift clubs in 2023/24 have accounted for around €2.75 billion, with two Saudi Arabian clubs making their first appearance in the top ten. FC Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig are also among the big spenders.
FC Bayern just behind Al-Ahli: Highest transfer spending in 2023/24
The €10 billion mark was reached last Thursday, the deadline day in the world’s biggest leagues. This happened despite a winter of thrift in England, where only the leagues in France and Saudi Arabia set new spending records for the entire season.
Bundesliga, LaLiga & Serie A still far behind spending in 2019/20
However, England only saved money in January, when the Profitability and Sustainability Rules (PSR) limited spending to just €121 million – compared to €2.8 billion in the summer of 2023. In the 2023/24 season, the Premier League lags behind the 2022/23 transfer spending of €3.1 billion with a total of €2.91 billion.
The situation is very different in the Bundesliga (transfer spending: €834 million), Serie A (€996 million) and LaLiga (€535 million), where they are all a long way from their record spending, all set in 2019/20 – the season before the Corona pandemic. The biggest difference between pre- and post-Covid spending is in Spain, where €1.54 billion was spent in 2019/20 and Italy, where €1.49 billion was spent on transfers at that time. The Bundesliga is meanwhile closer to its peak of €971 million from 2019/20.
However, when comparing transfer income and expenditure, the Bundesliga is also far from the situation in 2019/20: at that time, the league had a total transfer deficit of €297 million – in 2023/24 it is a transfer surplus of €227 million. The bottom line is that the Bundesliga is losing more quality than it is gaining.
The Saudi Pro League has gained a lot of quality this season. The state-funded clubs spent €972 million on transfer fees, showing that Saudi Arabia is now a serious player in the transfer market. The fact that Ligue 1 (€1.1 billion) has also broken the billion-euro mark for the first time and the Premier League is again close to the €3 billion mark has ensured that for the first time in 2023/24, player transfers have exceeded €10 billion in a single season.
The development of transfer spending is like a stock market. On the way to ever new heights, one record after another was broken before a major correction set in. From €9.4 billion in 2019/20, it fell to €5.7 billion in 2020/21 due to the Covid pandemic, a figure confirmed at €6.0 billion in 2021/22 before rising again sharply. The trend for the near future is clear, isn’t it?