Premier League clubs payments to agents increase despite drop in transfer spending, FA figures reveal
New figures published by the English Football Association (FA) today revealed that Premier League clubs paid more to agents in the 12 months up to February 1, 2021 than they had in any prior season.
Despite a year of financial hardship across the league that led to restricted transfer spending expenditure on intermediaries rose to $374.6 million (£272.2 million), a slight upswing on the previous year’s $362.5 million (£263.4 million). Chelsea were the most significant spenders on agents and intermediaries, spending $48.4 million (£35.2 million) during a period in which they invested heavily in their first team squad, signing the likes of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech for major fees.
The remainder of the league’s ‘Big Six’ also led the way in terms of intermediary expenditure with Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal all spending over $22.7 million (£16.5 million). Everton, Leicester City, Newcastle United and Wolverhampton Wanderers also reached nine figures for pounds sterling paid.
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Intermediary fees have been steadily rising in recent seasons and first breached the £200 million mark in the period February 1 2017 to January 31 2018. What is particularly notable about this season’s rise, however, is that it came during a year of slightly increased prudence in the transfer window as clubs battled with the financial ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic. The 2020 summer transfer window saw the Premier League’s 20 clubs spend around $1.8 billion (£1.3 billion) on fees for new signings having invested around $1.9 billion the previous year.
It should be noted that some of the payments to intermediaries will have been for transfers that were concluded before February 1 2020, for instance bonuses if players had been at the club for a certain number of seasons.
Though Chelsea were the biggest spenders this summer, paying out nearly $7 million more than Manchester City, they did not match the record for intermediary expenditure of $60 million (£43.8 million) set by Liverpool between February 1 2018 and January 31 2019.