Tuesday 29 September 2020 3:04 pm

Prem clubs 'trade deficit' hits £781m as critics of Covid-19 response mount

Premier League clubs spent £781m more on bringing players into the league in 2019/20 than they received for selling players abroad, a new report reveals. 

The twenty top English clubs spent a record £1.61bn in the season just gone on incoming players from other leagues, but clubs brought in only £829m. 

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Europe’s five major leagues – the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 – combined for a collective ‘trade deficit’ of £1.59bn, with the Premier League responsible for half of that figure.

Manchester City’s signing of Rodri from Atletico Madrid at £63m and Arsenal’s capture of Pepe for north of £70m from Lille were amongst the highlights. 

The scale of the spending will give ammunition to those in football and politics calling on the Premier League to bailout lower league clubs in England, as the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic continue to ravage historic teams lower down the football pyramid.

Premier League bosses are said by the BBC to be waiting on the English Football League for details on how a bailout would be distributed. 

The research, conducted by Centre for Economics and Business Research for Football Index, also suggested that teams in Europe’s top five leagues are expected to spend 46 per cent less this summer compared to the 12 months previously, as clubs count the cost of disruptions this summer. 

However, Premier League clubs appear set to continue the trend of spending more than they receive, with the research suggesting they are on course for a deficit of a whopping £698m. By contrast, Italy’s Serie A and France’s Ligue 1 appear set to record a small surplus.

Mike Bohan, Co-founder and CMO at Football Index, said: “The Premier League has run up the biggest trade deficit in world football transfers for many years now, but the overall income it generates from the likes of ticket sales and broadcasting rights has far outweighed the cost of imported players. 

“However, with the emergence of Covid-19 set to have a huge impact on the finances in football, new questions have been asked around how the top clubs in Europe will fare,” he added.