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Which clubs spent most in the last two football transfer windows?

On the 10th of February the International Centre for Sports Studies, known more commonly as CIES, published a study on the financial balance between earning and spending of European clubs during the last two football transfer windows. Specifically, the football transfer windows of summer 2019 and winter 2020 were taken into account. The conclusions that they reached are as follows. Note that the study was conducted in Euros rather than Pound Sterling.


Biggest earners – Chelsea, Benfica and Ajax

The study showed that Chelsea made the biggest net profit of any football club in Europe over the last two transfer windows. A big reason for this is the transfer ban which was imposed on them last summer after they breached FIFA rules on the recruitment of young players.

The Blues spent €45m on Mateo Kovacic, which they were able to do as he had been on loan with clause to buy included in his contract. They received €250m in incoming transfer fees, making a net profit of €205m. Chelsea were the only Premier League team who finished the top 10 the previous season to turn a net profit.

Chelsea’s biggest outgoing transfer was, of course, Belgian international Eden Hazard. The 28-year old left London for Madrid last summer and Real Madrid paid around €100m, without bonuses, for the playmaker.

Another notable sale was the departure of Alvaro Morata who joined Atletico Madrid for a fee estimated to be around €55m, having previously been on loan in the Spanish capital.

Their earning were additionally boosted by the sales of right-back Ola Aina (Torino), center-back Tomas Kalas (Bristol City), center-back David Luiz (Arsenal) and a few others.

Benfica (€167m) and Ajax (€137m) were respectively the second and third biggest net earners according to the study. Benfica sold, among others, João Félix to Atletico Madrid for €126m, Raúl Jiménez to Wolverhampton for €36m and Raúl de Tomás to Espanyol for €20.50m.

Champions League semi-finalists Ajax opted to cash in on some of their prized assets after an excellent season. They sold Matthijs de Ligt to Juventus for €85.50m, Frenkie de Jong to Barcelona for €75.00m and Kasper Dolberg to Nice for €20.50. Each of them were developed at the club proving, once again, that Ajax have one of the best football academies in the world.


Biggest spenders – Real Madrid, Aston Villa and Barcelona

Having won the Champions League in four of the previous five seasons, Real Madrid were never going to take a last 16 exit or a third place La Liga finish lying down. Los Blancos sit atop the other end of the spectrum having the biggest net spend over the last two windows.

The Spanish club most notably signed Eden Hazard from Chelsea for a fee of €100m plus bonuses. However, the seven transfers involving a fee conducted by Real Madrid during the summer 2019 and winter 2020 transfer windows had a total estimated cost of €330m (add-ons included). During the same period, the income recouped by Real for seven players added up to €149m, resulting in a net spend of €181m.

Though Eden Hazard was the biggest incoming name, he was not the only big expense for the club who hold the most La Liga titles. Luka Jovic joined from Eintracht Frankfurt for €60m, Éder Militão from FC Porto for €50m, Ferland Mendy from Lyon for €48m, Rodrygo from Santos FC for €45m and Reinier from Flamengo for €30m. On the departure list, Mateo Kovacic went to Chelsea for €45m and Marcos Llorente heading to Atlético Madrid for €30m recouped the most for Los Blancos.

Aston Villa (-€169m) and Barcelona (-€166m) were respectively second and third in the list of biggest net spenders. Premier League club Aston Villa are certainly the most surprising name in the list of biggest net spenders during the last two football transfer windows.

The Villans spent a lot of money last year in order to try and survive relegation in their maiden season back in the top flight. However, their plan hasn’t worked so far and Dean Smith’s men are currenly in 19th place.

Of the incoming players, the two most notable were Brazilian center-forward Wesley from Club Brugge and center-back Tyrone Mings from Bournemouth. Aston Villa only received €3m in incoming transfers, hence the big negative balance during the last two football transfer windows.

FC Barcelona’s biggest incoming transfers during the last two football transfer windows were Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid (€120m), Frenkie de Jong from Ajax (€75m), Trincão from Braga (€31m) and Neto from Valencia (€26m). Departing the club, Malcom to Zenit (€40m) and Jasper Cillessen to Valencia (€35m) were the biggest names to go.

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