Premier League Biggest Spenders Ever
Since the start of the Premier League in 1992-93 season, the competition has gotten bigger and bigger and now it’s the most popular and watched sports league in the world. With that many supporters, there comes a huge influx of money, either as ticket sales, shirt sales, sponsorships, TV revenue and etc.
This amount of revenue has resulted in EPL teams spending a lot of money in the transfer market, especially since the turn of the century. It has to be remembered that if a team is one of the Premier League biggest spenders ever, it doesn’t mean that they will achieve success immediately or even at all. After all, if a club has no particular vision for the future, or a Project as so many like to call it nowadays, then no amount of money can make them successful. With that being said, let’s see who are the highest spenders in the Premier League:
Biggest Spenders in Premier League History
It is interesting to see the amount of success or failure that the Premier League top spenders ever had over the years and whether that money was spent for short term fixes or long term plans and if it all paid off or was it squandered. All these questions and more will be answered below:
10. Brighton & Hove Albion (Average expenditure per season: £11.3m)
Brighton’s inclusion in this list is a peculiar one. You might wonder why a small club is one of the Premier League top spenders ever? And the answer would be that the EPL is very demanding and if you don’t bring in top players when you are promoted to EPL then you won’t stay up for long. That is a fact that a couple of other teams in this list share. It is also worth noting that there are several clubs who have spent more than Brighton, but their average expenditure per season is much lower and that is an important factor in our list.
Since Brighton came to the Premier League just recently, where the players are far more expensive than they were 10 years ago, they’ve had to pay big money to bring in quality players., paying around £20m each for players like Maupay, Trossard, Webster and Jahanbakhsh. arguably their gamble has paid off more or less, because they have stayed up in the league until now.
Brighton has spent £222.8m and have to spend even more if they don’t want to be relegated next season but as it is they are one of the highest spenders in Premier League history and that tells a lot about the quality of other teams in the league.
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9. West Ham United (Average expenditure per season: £13.1m)
West Ham United is another team that is similar to Brighton in regards to spending. Although they have a fierce and loyal fan base and have been one of the teams that have competed in the Premier League regularly, they have been relegated a number of times during the Premier League era.
With every relegation and subsequent promotion comes a need to invest in players that are at the level of Premier League, and that is costly. Over the years the Hammers have brought in some really expensive players and those transfers haven’t always worked out for them, but if they haven’t been relegated then they must be doing something right.
Some of these transfers that have put West Ham amongst Premier League biggest spenders ever include Sebastien Haller (£36m from Eintracht Frankfurt), Pablo Fornals (£25m from Villarreal) last season and also Felipe Anderson (£36m from Lazio) the season before.
Despite being one of the highest spenders in Premier League history by spending over £493m, West Ham United are yet to achieve any success or even reach a European competition but like any other team on this list, they hope to change that in the upcoming season.
8. Aston Villa (Average expenditure per season: £19.4m)
Like Everton, Aston Villa was once a great club, on a scale of which clubs like Chelsea dreamt of being and spent billions to reach, but they have fallen onto hard times recently. With money playing a key figure in achieving success in football nowadays, not having a wealthy owner has hurt the club’s chances of success recently.
Their average expenditure per season though is as great as Arsenal and Liverpool, which are clubs that have won the league and have won numerous other trophies and honors which is not great news for Villa because that means that they haven’t been doing a good job in transfer, as evidenced by their lack of silverware and their struggle to stay up in the EPL.
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Nonetheless, they have spent £521.5m over the years by acquiring players like Wesley (£22.2m), Mings (£19.9m) and Douglas Luiz (£15m) in recent seasons as well as Darren Bent for £19.7m, a signing that they made almost 10 years ago. Unlike West Ham or Brighton that have made their most expensive signings only recently, Aston villa has a whole host of players that have been brought to the club with huge money over the course of last two decades, which shows the club’s ambition to be better but also shows the amount of their miscalculations as well.
Lastly, It is worth noting that despite being one of Premier League biggest spenders, they have also sold well over the years, with the transfers of Ashley Young, Fabian Delph and James Milner.
7. Everton (Average expenditure per season: £17.9m)
Once a powerful club in England and still one of the most decorated teams in England, Everton hasn’t seen that much of glory since the start of Premier League era, in fact they have only won a single silverware and that is 1994-95 FA Cup. But that is about to change, or at least that’s what their new owner Farhad Moshiri likes to think.
Traditionally a club that boasted of homegrown players from the academies, players like Wayne Rooney, Eric Dier and Ross Barkley, Everton have recently become a club that splashes cash in every transfer window, buying new players and becoming one of the biggest Premier League spenders ever. That’s solely because of their new owner (Iranian businessman Farhad Moshiri) and his ambition to take the club to the higher echelon of English football, following the paths of clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea.
Arguably Moshiri’s plans hasn’t worked out even under the management of Carlo Ancelotti but they haven’t shied away from spending. Last year alone they spent £119.5m bringing players like Alex Iwobi (£40m from Arsenal), Moise Kean (£25m from Juventus), Andre Gomes (£22m from Barcelona) and as of writing this article they have secured the services of Allan from Napoli and seem to add James Rodriguez from Real Madrid. All in all they have spent £729.1m in the Premier League era which certainly puts them in the top 10 of Premier League biggest spenders ever.
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6. Tottenham (Average expenditure per season: £10.6m)
Tottenham weren’t one of the highest spenders in Premier League history until the start of the last decade but because of some excellent sales over the years, most important amongst them being the sale of Gareth Bale for a then record fee of £80m to Real Madrid, they have been able to spend huge amounts of money on buying players.
Spurs have the lowest average expenditure per season amongst Premier League biggest spenders and that is because of their incredible sales record worth of £645m. Besides Gareth Bale, over the years they have sold players like Kyle Walker, Berbatov, Luka Modric and Christian Erikson for hefty sums that have allowed them to buy players as well.
They have spent £824m buying players like Ndombele(£38.7m), Sanchez(£25.8m), Sissoko(£22.5m) and Lo Celso(£20.6m) but what is interesting is that most of their top players aren’t among their biggest transfers, players like Harry Kane, Son, Moura and Lloris.
These all point to the fact that Tottenham’s transfer policy has been mostly wrong, especially considering they have spent as much as their arch rivals Arsenal having achieved practically nothing since their last trophy was a League Cup in 2007-08, way before their spending spree began.
5. Arsenal (Average expenditure per season: £19.5m)
Arsenal is famous for being stingy when it comes to spending money. It’s a part of the club’s DNA and maybe it’s something that has made them successful over the years, since they never gamble an insane amount of money to win something. Arsenal prefers to be building slowly towards success which haven’t paid that well in the last decade but they are a patient club having played on the top flight of English football since 1919 without being relegated!
Arsenal’s smart transfer policy, which many of the club’s fans loath, is made perfectly clear when we take a look at the Premier League biggest spenders ever and see that Arsenal’s average expenditure per season is on par with teams like Liverpool and Aston Villa despite winning a considerable amount more domestic cups and leagues than those two. Their average Expenditure per season is also less than half of the clubs that Arsenal have always competed against.
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This means that Arsenal are not primarily a buying club and by looking at their top 10 biggest transfers it is apparent when it is made clear that a position must be strengthened they go out and buy a player. And their reluctance to strengthen when they should, have costed them numerous trophies. An example of this is their 2015-16 title challenge where the needed a top class striker in front of a world class Mesut Ozil who assisted 19 times that season. But they were left with Olivier Giroud who didn’t score for nearly 20 games and costed them the league.
When it comes down to it though, Arsenal have spent quite a lot of money over the years, over £833m to be precise, and that puts them high on the list of biggest Premier League spenders ever. As of writing this article, most of their biggest transfers ever are still in the team. Pepe (£72m), Aubameyang (£56m), Lacazette (£47m) and Ozil (£43m) are some of them and it only shows that in today’s market, even a conservative spending club like Arsenal have to change and pay big money to bring in players and even that may not be enough to compete at the highest level.
4. Liverpool (Average expenditure per season: £19.3m)
Liverpool’s place this high on the list of Premier League biggest spenders ever may not be justified considering they haven’t won much since the EPL started 29 years ago. Barring the years under Jurgen Klopp which resulted in 1 EPL and 1 Champions League title, Liverpool only managed to win the Champions League once and never won the League 25 years before it. In the top 5 highest spenders in Premier League history every team has won the EPL at least 3 times except Liverpool that managed it once.
Despite all this it can be argued that a club like Liverpool that are the most decorated English team of all time demand to have big players, both the club’s mentality and the fans’, which has resulted in them buying big players even when they were not competing for the title, something that has paid off now since they are the best team in England right now.
Until Klopp came Liverpool seemed to lack direction when it came to buying players but seeing that 8 of their 10 biggest transfers ever are part of Liverpool’s squad that won the Champions League and Premier League in back to back seasons means they are finally on the right path.
Liverpool have spent over a billion pounds, £1,079m to be precise, but they have sold pretty well too with £750m coming from players’ sales. van Dijk, Becker, Salah, Fabinho, Mane and Firmino are some of their biggest transfers, with their record signing being can Dijk for £75m and Becker a close second with £65m. With a team of top players ready for winning every competition, Liverpool Owners, the Fenway group, must be more lenient in transfers though, because if they are not they won’t be able to stay at the top for much longer.
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3. Manchester United (Average expenditure per season: £40.5m)
Manchester’s place amongst Premier League biggest spenders ever is of no surprise to anyone. We all know that when it comes to paying huge transfer fees and wages, there are a handful of clubs that could rival Manchester United but even then the club didn’t use to always invest so heavily on players. The picture becomes clearer when we take a closer look at the numbers. For example, Red Devils have spent over £1.2 billion over the years.
An eye watering £850m of that money was spent after Sir Alex Ferguson left meaning that in Ferguson’s 26 years as the manager the club spent third of the amount of money that they have since he left 7 years ago. An expenditure that has resulted in a few cup trophies. It is apparent that the club has no vision of how to build a team to achieve success and that fault may rest with the owners and not the managers because there have been plenty of managers since Sir Alex left and none of them and the player that they brought to the club were given enough chance to adapt to the club.
Over the years Manchester United have spent £1.2 billion buying players like Pogba (£94.5m), Maguire (£78.3m), Lukaku (£76.2m) and Di Maria (£67.5m). it is to be noted however that among United’s biggest transfers there are only 2 or 3 players that have performed up to the standards and the rest are either sold or haven’t been performing as well as their price tag suggests they should.
it is obvious though that Sir Alex’ policy of nurturing young talent and only bringing bigger players to strengthen and add experience to the team worked much better than the Woodwards’ (owners of the club) policy of splashing money every chance they get, but that doesn’t seem to slow them down. as one of the biggest clubs in the world and biggest Spenders in Premier League, Manchester United has always had the money to spend, no matter the player, and it won’t change anytime soon.
2. Chelsea (Average expenditure per season: £41.4m)
If you told an EPL fan in 2002 that Chelsea, which was a small club back then, would spend billions in the transfer market and win 5 Premier League titles and 1 UCL title, they would’ve laughed in your face and called you crazy. So you could imagine that to everyone’s shock when Roman Abramovic’s Chelsea went on to do exactly that.
Chelsea may be the blueprint for every team that has high ambitions after a wealthy owner takes over. Under the ownership of Abramovic, Chelsea has become one of the best run clubs in the world, acquiring many trophies and fans along the way. They have a very strong management model from the youth levels up to the first team. Despite being one of the Premier League biggest spenders ever, Chelsea have sold quite well too. accumulating nearly £876m in player sales making them the biggest seller club in the Premier League.
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They have achieved this by not using youth players in the first team, but instead bring them up to a certain level and then sell them to smaller EPL clubs for a hefty price. They are also fierce negotiators when it comes to selling players who have flopped at the club, players like Morata that was sold almost at the same amount he was bought which is just incredible.
Chelsea has spent nearly £1.6 billion during EPL era, buying players like Kepa Arrizabalaga(£72m), Kai Havertz(£71m), Alvaro Morata(£60m), and Pulisic(£52m) and they don’t seem to stop anytime soon, as evidenced by the current transfer window. As it is, Chelsea will continue their current policy because it has worked out so well for them.
1. Manchester City (Average expenditure per season: £63.1m)
Manchester City shares a similar tale with Chelsea. In fact, they are a club that tried to emulate Chelsea and have been successful in doing so, knocking them out of being title contenders and taking their place. Sheikh Mansour’s move to buy a club in an exciting city that attracts players have paid well, as they have been winning the EPL every 3 years as well as winning several cup trophies.
Although they have been spending nearly as much as Chelsea, they haven’t been selling players as well as them which leaves them with over £20m more in average expenditures per season than Chelsea, which is just staggering, especially considering they didn’t become a club of this size until the start of the last decade.
Premier League biggest spenders ever are Manchester City, having paid £1.61 billion for players like De Bruyne(£68m), Mahrez(£59m), Cancelo(£58m) and Rodri(£62m), all of whom are a part of their current team and have performed well. In fact, City’s recruitment policy have always been well as the players that they bring in perform extremely well more often than not.
Just recently though they were threatened with a ban from European football because of not abiding by financial fairplay rules, but the court didn’t have enough evidence to condemn them, and that casts a shadow on their footballing achievements because much of it has been because of their expenditure that no other club can match. A fact that separates clubs like Manchester United and Arsenal, which spend the money that the club produced rather than from an owner’s pocket, from the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea (in the early 2000s) that have done the opposite.