On the transfer market, England is alone on its island

The summer transfer window has ended in the major football championships. In Belgium, there are still a few days left for the clubs to make good deals. A look back at a period of transfers marked by the domination of English clubs and, in Belgium, FC Bruges.

the summer transfer market ended Thursday at midnight except in a few competitions, such as Belgium, where it will end on September 6. « This allows Belgian clubs to hope to make some good last-minute deals, » said Louis Derwa, lawyer specializing in sports law and counsel to Anderlecht coach Felice Mazzu.

This transfer window shows once again that the rich are always richer – English clubs at European level, FC Bruges at Belgian level – with some large transactions (and even records in Belgium) but not delirious amounts as was still the case a few years ago. Review of five major trends.

1 – A very active market, but few extravagant amounts

The transfer window was very lively, that’s undeniable. The five major leagues (England, Spain, Germany, Italy, France) show a negative balance with 4.5 billion in expenditure for « only » 3.2 billion in revenue, according to the specialized platform data Transfermarkt. This deficit of 1.3 billion is due to the profligacy of English Premier League clubs.

Despite Financial Fair Play rules, they have no qualms about spending. Because every season UEFA redistributes 2 billion euros to clubs participating in the Champions League, most of them playing in these 5 major leagues. The covid crisis seems to have been forgotten when a year ago KPMG estimated that it had cost European clubs 2.5 billion euros.


Billions of Euro’s

The clubs of the five biggest European championships have invested some 5.5 billion euros this summer on the transfer market.

In contrastthere were fewer delusional amounts like a few years ago when PSG slammed 400 million for two players (Neymar and Mbappé). No transfer has thus reached the 100 million mark (see graph).

2 – England… and the others

English Premier League clubs alone spent more than those in the other four major European leagues combined.

The English championship, by far the most attractive in the media, is further increasing its power. Its best clubs benefit from the income of the Champions League and above all, the stratospheric television rights; more than 12 billion euros for the next three seasons.

Premier League clubs alone have spent more in this way than Serie A, La Liga, Bundesliga and Ligue 1: 2.4 billion euros against 2.3 billion. A record. Seven of the ten highest inbound transfers were made by English clubs. Thereby, chelsea which was sold for 5 billion euros by the Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich to an American consortium experienced in the mysteries of sports business, has alone spent 282 million euros.

It should be noted that all this money invested by English clubs seems to flow between them. Continental clubs benefit relatively littlewith the exception of Ajax Amsterdam which sold Antony and Lisandro Martinez to Manchester United for 125 million, and Benfica Lisbon which sold Darwin Nunez to Liverpool for 75 million.

3 – FC Brugge above the lot

Comparison is not right, but the domination of FC Bruges on the Belgian scale becomes as overwhelming as that of Bayern Munich in Germany or that of PSG in France. By winning its third consecutive Belgian championship title, the FCB will once again receive at least thirty million from the Champions League.


millions of euros

This is the unprecedented amount spent by FC Bruges on the transfer market.

He achieved the most expensive outgoing and incoming transfers in the history of the Jupiler Pro League this summer. He bought the Ukrainian striker from Benfica Roman Yaremchuk for nearly 19 million and ceded its star Charles De Ketelaere for 35 million to AC Milan. Despite the 48 million spent, it thus shows a positive balance of 7.7 million.

In the image, moreover, of all the Belgian pro clubs which display a positive balance of more than 61 million. The Belgian championship being more than ever a subtop competition allowing young talents to reveal themselves before attracting the attention of more renowned championships. In addition to Charles De Ketelaere, let’s mention the Anderlechtois Gomez who left for Manchester City. As well as two other Bruges players, Nsoki and Openda transferred respectively to the German (Hoffenheim) and French (Lens) championships.

As for the rivals of FC Bruges, if Anderlecht and Standard have limited means given their financial situation, Antwerp has been able to benefit from the largesse of its patron, Paul Gheysens, boss of Ghelamco, while the revelation of the past season, the Union, transferred « intelligently« . « They have the art of recruiting well known but effective players, notes Louis Derwa. Their owner, Tony Boom, is indeed at the head of a company specializing in data and player analysis algorithms (for sports betting), which gives them a head start.

By attracting Jan Vertonghen, the most capped Red Devil, Anderlecht achieved a big blow at the end of the transfer window

4 – The World Cup effect

The World Cup deadline this fall had a significant effect on the transfer market, especially for Belgian players. « Time is running out for players wanting to be included in the future selection of Roberto Martinez, notes Luis Derwa. That’s why many Devils, often reservists, wanted to change clubs to find playing time which will allow them to attract the attention of the coach. » This is the case, for example, of Witsel (passed from Dortmund to Atletico Madrid), Boyata (from Herta Berlin to FC Bruges), Batshuayi (from Chelsea to Fenerbahce), Origi (from Liverpol to AC Milan), Dendoncker (from Wolverhampton to Aston Villa) or Vertonghen (35), who moved from Benfica to Anderlecht. Sporting did not have to pay compensation for afford the most capped Devil, but he will have to take care of his lavish salary.

« As the World Cup approached, many Devils, often reservists, wanted to change clubs to find playing time. »

Louis Derwa

Lawyer specializing in sports law

5 – The coveted young Devils

Last lesson: several (future) young Red Devils have taken a sporting step forward by joining more prestigious championships or clubs. In addition to De Ketelaere, note Onana, moved from Lille to Everton for 35 million, Openda moved from FC Bruges to Lens, Theate from Bologna to Rennes for 19 million, and Faes who was transferred from Reims to Leicester City for 10 million. It is rather reassuring for the future of the national team.

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