Daily Mirror

While millions of Brits struggle with bills and just making ends meet, Premier League clubs took their January spending spree to a staggering £295M

- BY JOHN CROSS Chief Football Writer @johncrossm­irror

BIG-MONEY deals and huge spending are well and truly back in the Premier League.

The 20 top-flight clubs spent a staggering £295million between them last month – the second-highest total in the winter window.

So much for any supposed uncertaint­y about Covid and the knock-on financial impact of a global pandemic which has gripped football and cost clubs hundreds of millions.

Newcastle’s mega-rich Saudi owners splashed out £91m, while Liverpool did the biggest deal with the £37.5 signing of Porto’s Colombia forward Luis Diaz.

The other four top leagues in Europe – Serie A, La Liga, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 spent a combined £317m - only £2m more than the Premier League and EFL put together.

Premier League clubs’ net spending - what they paid minus income from sales came to £180m. That is the highest figure since the January transfer window was introduced in 2003 and highlights how clubs were not remotely interested in balancing the books.

It blew apart the theory clubs would be cautious and that it would be more about loans, swaps and cheap deals.

The record spending for the January window was £430m in 2018.

Last year clubs reined in their expenditur­e, with £70m-worth of buys in January. This time deadline day resembled a mad trolley dash of excess.

That will undoubtedl­y raise questions for the Premier League, the 20 clubs and their owners about finances and responsibi­lities to the overall football pyramid.

Dan Jones (below), head of Deloitte’s sports business group, said: “This transfer window indicates the financial pressures of Covid on Premier League clubs are easing, with spending firmly back to pre-pandemic levels and remarkably among the highest we’ve ever seen in January.

“The Premier League continues to lead the way globally, retaining its status as the world’s biggest domestic football league in financial terms, once again supported by full stadia and securing strong overseas broadcast deals.

“Other large European leagues are also edging back to higher spending, but it is Premier League clubs that have notched up the largest total spend in this transfer window, spending almost £150m more than Serie A clubs, the closest competitor.”

The Premier League can point to the return of supporters to grounds and the stability that brings to commercial deals, matchday revenue and no games played behind closed doors. And the continued security of not just domestic TV deals but also lucrative overseas packages which bring in billions – deals that continue to grow.

They also see Newcastle under their wealthy new owners as a fresh player in the transfer market, swelling it by paying £35m for Bruno Guimaraes (bottom), £25m to land Chris Wood from Burnley, and paying Brighton £13m for Dan Burn (right). The £91m spent in total is the same as previous owner Mike Ashley paid out in the previous 14 January windows.

Half of the money spent by Premier League clubs (£150m) came from the bottom five – Everton, Norwich, Newcastle, Watford and Burnley. Last year that total was £5m, showing the desperatio­n to survive this time round.

But it will leave the EFL, its clubs and supporters raising questions about Tracey Crouch’s fan-led review and where the Premier League is regarding the demands that more money should filter down the pyramid. Crisis-hit Derby never get much sympathy from Premier League owners because of County’s previous excesses in trying to win promotion.

Fans, however, should not suffer because of reckless ownership plunging their clubs into debt.

At League One and Two level there is dismay at how much the top flight is spending while the rest of football struggles to survive. And while millions grapple with bills and making ends meet, football has again shown just how far the beautiful game is removed from the realities of everyday life.

WE are hanging by a thread as clubs while the Premier League’s spending is just obscene.

That inevitably has a knock-on effect in the Championsh­ip as clubs chase promotion and then, in turn, it has a knock-on effect in Leagues One and Two. Now our supporters see the money spent in the top flight and honestly believe that owners at our level have millions to spend, when the reality is that it’s a constant battle to survive.


Crouch chaired the fan-led review into football – and if her report isn’t implemente­d, we can say goodbye to community football clubs without a doubt. I have been running Gillingham FC for 26 years and the abuse I have suffered in the last four or five months is way above the level of abuse anyone should suffer.

Any abuse is bad but when my family is affected, when I’m affected and my health is affected, and when I drive to work on a Saturday and drive under bridges which have ‘Scally Out’ banners on them, it’s disgusting, it’s distastefu­l, it’s painful and it’s hurtful. This is not a situation I should be

put in. The same goes for many other owners at our level.

And this is all being caused by the sheer arrogance of clubs in the Premier League.

We simply don’t have the ability to get near to competing on a level playing field given the spending and the lack of income in the lower divisions.

The way the bar has been raised in terms of expectatio­ns of supporters is just crazy and unrealisti­c.

Many people in my position – given the abuse that I have had and the affect it’s had on my health –would have walked out of Gillingham ages ago. But if I walk out on this club, it will collapse.

And if it collapses, there’s no guarantee that any white knight would come in, because why would they? Who would come in and get the abuse that I get and have had for many years?

It’s impossible. I can work 12 hours seven days a week.

Yet I still can’t solve the problem because there simply isn’t enough cash coming down from the top level of football to sustain what we are trying to do on a break-even basis.

We are running our club on bare bones, going day-to-day just to survive... and yet the Premier League is spending hundreds of millions.

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 ?? ?? PUT YOUR SHIRT ON ME Luis Diaz joined Liverpool for £37.5m and that figure could rise still further
PUT YOUR SHIRT ON ME Luis Diaz joined Liverpool for £37.5m and that figure could rise still further

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