Top-flight spend down £100m in a year

CASH-CONSCIOUS top-flight clubs slashed their summer spending by 22 per cent in the quietest transfer window for four years.

This year’s total spend of around £350m was £100m down on last summer’s transfer window and some £175m short of the 2008 peak of £525m, according to business advisory firm Deloitte. Analysts blamed the slow market on a new-found awareness of financial risks and warned the top-flight is unlikely to witness the rampant spending of recent years ever again.

“Clubs are striving towards achieving a better balance. Prudence isn’t the right word but there has been restraint,” Paul Rawnsley, a director of Deloitte’s Sport Business Group, told City A.M. “It’s not going to get back up to 2007 and 2008 levels in the foreseeable future. All things being equal next year it may well drop again.”

Manchester City’s close-season spree propped up a quiet period for deals, with the ambitious Eastlands outfit’s £125m outlay accounting for around 36 per cent of total spend.

Despite new regulations encouraging clubs to employ home-grown players, they looked abroad more than ever before, with a record £258m flowing out of England. That is 74 per cent of the total spend and a 66 per cent rise on last summer’s window.