Big spending days of top flight are finished

SPENDING by top-flight clubs shrank by 10 per cent this year &ndash; and experts say a more &ldquo;risk-averse&rdquo; climate means Premier League outlays will fall again in 2010.<br /><br />Teams in England&rsquo;s top tier spent an estimated total of &pound;450m before the summer transfer window closed yesterday evening, a reduction of around &pound;50m on 2008&rsquo;s record figure.<br /><br />Mega-rich Manchester City, who bucked the trend with a &pound;120m splurge on the likes of striker Carlos Tevez and defender Joleon Lescott, made up 27 per cent of total spending. But the majority of clubs adopted a more cautious approach and analysts from Deloitte, which compiled the figures, predict that trend will continue.<br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s primarily been because of Manchester City that we&rsquo;ve got so close to last year&rsquo;s figure. They&rsquo;ve pretty much done three years&rsquo; worth of spending in one year,&rdquo; said Paul Rawnsley, a director of Deloitte&rsquo;s Sports Business Group. &ldquo;Short of another team doing the same next year, we would expect spending to be lower. We don&rsquo;t expect peak levels again. The environment is now more risk-averse.&rdquo;<br /><br />The net spend of Premier League clubs more than halved from around &pound;200m to &pound;80m, meaning less money going on players from overseas clubs.<br /><br />Analysts from Deloitte and KPMG, who also compiled data, said major factors were the pound&rsquo;s decline in value against the Euro, and the deterrent effect of Britain&rsquo;s high tax rates.<br /><br />It also means clubs are buying more proven Premier League talent, rather than taking a gamble on foreign-based players who may not flourish in the English game.<br /><br />Geoff Mesher, Head of the Forensic Sports Industry Team at KPMG, said: &ldquo;Generally, clubs have been acting with greater financial care in the current economic environment.&rdquo;