It has been one of the most notable phenomena of this season but the Premier League’s increased competitiveness is here to stay, according to industry experts.
English clubs’ financial strength has allowed even modest top-flight teams to beat leading European sides to top talent, as illustrated by Stoke’s summer signing of £12m Switzerland winger Xherdan Shaqiri.
New Premier League broadcast contracts set to take effect from next season stand to guarantee teams at least £100m a year and increase their advantage over continental rivals in the transfer market.
That change, forecast to see the leading 20 English clubs earn a collective £4.5bn – more than double the next richest European league – in 2016-17, is only expected to make the division more competitive.
“You’re seeing it manifesting itself now in the Premier League,” Deloitte’s Dan Jones told City A.M. “Teams all the way through the league have budgets to recruit pretty strong squads. Of course there’s a skill or a luck in terms of how you deploy that money, but I think the very competitive nature of the Premier League is a product of that, and I think that will continue.”
England is not alone in booming – Deloitte’s TMT Predictions 2016, published today, tips the European football market to generate around $30bn (£21bn) next season – but its revenue is growing more quickly.
Despite this, Spain still boasts the game’s biggest superstars, and Lionel Messi reaffirmed his intention to stay at Barcelona after winning a fifth Ballon d’Or for the world’s best player on Monday.
Barca and Real Madrid’s income is set to be dented as their league switches to a collective model of selling television rights, but not enough for Premier League rivals to poach their iconic players.
“There might be a bit of a dip on the domestic rights from La Liga games,” Jones added. “But overall they’re still going to be very strong and right up there competing with the very biggest clubs in Europe.”