Manchester City have spent more money on transfers than any club in the world in the past ten years, a FIFA report has revealed as the shifting dynamics of transfers in modern football is underscored.
The past 10 years has seen the world transfer record shattered three times, with transfer fees entering nine figures for the first time in the sport’s history. Now, a new report has laid out the eye-watering numbers behind international transfers.
FIFA’s ‘Ten Years of International Transfer Report’ has detailed the huge sums involved in transfers from 2011-2020, with English clubs unsurprisingly at the heart of the big-money moves.
And City, who have developed into a European powerhouse during this timeframe as a result of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan’s ownership, top a list of the 30 top spending clubs in the world.
All 30 clubs are European, with City leading the way ahead of second-placed Chelsea, while Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid make up the remaining places in the top five.
FIFA have not attributed exact figures to each club’s spending, but highlight that City have completed 130 incoming transfers, 59.2 per cent of which have been with fees – meaning they have not been free signings or loan deals.
Chelsea, meanwhile, have completed 95 incoming transfers, 80 per cent of which have been with fees.
A global total of $48.5bn (£35.3bn) was spent on international transfer expenditure from 2011-2020, with English clubs accounting for over a quarter of that figure with a staggering $12.4bn (£9bn).
In total, the top 30 spending clubs spent a combined $22.5bn (£16.35bn) on transfers during this time, equating to 47 per cent of the whole sum.
12 of the top 30 clubs hail from England. They include City, Chelsea, Man United, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Leicester, Southampton, Wolves, Everton, West Ham and Newcastle.
English clubs spent big, but also lost big. The report further outlined that English clubs made a net loss of £5.2bn from 2011-2020.
City were 11th-highest in terms of fees received over the same period, with 44.6 per cent of their 307 outgoing international transfers and loans involving them featuring a fee.
City were involved in 232 outgoing loans or loan extensions, according to the report.
Benfica, the Portuguese club which sold star defender Ruben Dias to City in the 2020 summer window, earned the most from international transfer fees, the report found.
The report said 14 deals were completed which involved a transfer fee of $100m (£72.65m) or more, with Argentinian winger Angel Di Maria featuring in two of them.
The average international transfer fee paid by the top 30 spending clubs peaked at $17.8m (just under £13m) in 2018, dropping to $14.4m (£10.5m) in 2020.
The report also found solidarity contributions from transfers – which are paid to clubs in recognition of their role in the training and development of a player – has sharply declined, with the 2020 figure of $38.5m (£30m) only just above the $38m (£29.6m) recorded in 2011. The contributions peaked at $67.7m (49.2m) in 2018.
FIFA is working on establishing a Clearing House which it hopes will ensure these payments are fully and quickly distributed to the clubs and academies involved.
The past 10 years has also seen the influence of agents grow massively, with the term ‘superagent’ attached to the likes of Jorge Mendes and Mino Raiola. FIFA says that agents’ fees have risen from $131.1m in 2011 to $640.5m in 2019.
In total, $3.5bn has been spent on agents’ fees over the decade, with England accounting for £919m of that sum.
Despite leading the way for total spent on transfers, City do not feature in the top ten most expensive transfers for 2011-2020, although this summer’s arrival of Jack Grealish, for £100m, is the sixth-most expensive transfer in history.
Chelsea’s £97.5m signing of Romelu Lukaku this transfer window is the seventh-most expensive transfer ever, although they too do not feature in the list for most costly transfers from 2011-2020.
Barcelona are responsible for three of the top six transfers in that timespan, with Antoine Griezmann, Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele costing £346m. The club recently announced a total debt of £1.15billion.