Which Premier League Club Is The Biggest Spender In The Last Decade?

Which Premier League club is the biggest spender in the last decade? You may be surprised by the results.

According to a recent survey by Deloitte, Premier League clubs have spent more than £4.4bn on players since the transfer window was introduced 10 years ago.

Here are the top 20 spenders in the Premier League since the transfer window debuted in 2003, including the number of trophies each club has won:

  1. Chelsea, £673 million — 12 trophies — 3 Premier League titles (2o05, 2006, 2010), 1 Champions League (2012), 4 FA Cups (2007, 2009, 2010, 2012), 2 League Cups (2005, 2007) and 2 Community Shields (2005, 2009).
  2. Manchester City, £572 million — 3 trophies — 1 Premier League title (2012), 1 FA Cup (2011) and 1 Community Shield (2012).
  3. Liverpool, £414 million — 6 trophies — 1 Champions League (2005), 1 UEFA Super Cup (2005), 1 FA Cup (2006), 2 League Cups (2003, 2012) and 1 Community Shield (2006).
  4. Manchester United, £352 million — 16 trophies — 5 Premier League titles (2003, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011), 1 Champions League (2008), 1 FA Cup (2004), 3 League Cups (2006, 2009, 2010), 5 Community Shields (2003, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011) and 1 FIFA Club World Cup (2008).
  5. Tottenham Hotspur, £350 million — 1 trophy — 1 League Cup (2008).
  6. Arsenal, £214 million — 4 trophies — 1 Premier League title (2004), 2 FA Cups (2003, 2005) and 1 Community Shield (2004).
  7. Aston Villa, £201 million — 0 trophies
  8. Sunderland, £187 million — 0 trophies
  9. Newcastle United, £174 million — 1 trophy — 1 Intertoto Cup (2006).
  10. Everton, £129 million — 0 trophies
  11. West Ham United, £123 million — 0 trophies
  12. Wigan Athletic, £110 million — 0 trophies
  13. Fulham, £107 million — 0 trophies
  14. Portsmouth, £100 million — 1 trophy — 1 FA Cup (2008).
  15. Birmingham City, £92 million — 1 trophy — 1 League Cup (2011).
  16. Blackburn Rovers, £87 million — 0 trophies
  17. Stoke City, £84 million — 0 trophies
  18. Bolton Wanderers, £76 million — 0 trophies
  19. Middlesbrough, £71 million — 1 trophies — 1 League Cup (2004).
  20. West Bromwich Albion, £64 million — 0 trophies
Some of the interesting points that can be gleaned from the above data:
  • Manchester United is certainly the model of success, having spent less than many of its closest rivals but having garnered far more trophies,
  • Manchester City’s spending is immense when you consider that most of it was conducted in the past five years,
  • Liverpool has spent almost four times as much as neighbors Everton,
  • In the North London derby, Arsenal has spent £136 million less than Tottenham Hotspur but have won 3 more trophies,
  • Wigan often is perceived as a thrifty small town club, but as you can see from the above data, the club has spent more than a few of its rivals.

What are some of the interesting takeaways you see from the above list?

H/T ToffeeWeb

38 thoughts on “Which Premier League Club Is The Biggest Spender In The Last Decade?”

  1. You should also include the money they earned by selling players. You should look at total spending = amount for spending – amount for sales.

    That will give you a better idea because clubs like Arsenal have sold a lot of key players for good money over the years, while Man City and chelsea have wasted a lot of money

    1. There’s a ton of ways to slice and dice the information, but this particular article is only focusing on the biggest spenders.

      The Gaffer

      1. That’s all very well, but then to draw conclusions (“Manchester United is certainly the model of success”) about how the clubs are being run from that data is foolish.

        Eg. data looking at net spend over the past 10 years shows a very different picture of how the clubs are being run:


        I think in the interests of having a meaningful discussion you have to have an informed discussion, and you have to at least scratch the surface and look at what’s beneath. There’s still a ton of missing information – eg, player wage bills, ticket prices and attendances, sponsorship deals, merchandise sales, and prize money (1 carling cup /= 1 champions league), as well as other investments the clubs make. Then, and only then, can you really start making meaningful statements about how the clubs are being run.

        And even then, there are discussions to be had. What if Man City buy Ronaldo for 80 million? They might make most of it back in shirt sales and extra money from sponsorship deals in the few years after he signs, so perhaps it’s a good way to run a club, but an analysis that just looks at past figures, and doesn’t speculate on the future, wouldn’t be complete enough to comment on that.

  2. What a poor article. You’re suggesting that United have spent relatively low??? That’s complete BS. They’ve been buying the title for years.
    Don’t be so selective with the date and look past 2003.

    In 2002 Ferdinand was bought for 30 million
    In 2001 Veron was bought for 28 million
    in 2001 van Nistelrooy was bought for 20 million.

    That’s only 3 transfers that happened before 2003, but they add up to 78 million more.

    Also, back then, 30 million would have been far more money than it is now.

    1. Evan, read the article again. It focuses on who the biggest spender is from the past 10 years since the transfer window has begun. Anything before January 2003 is not included in this article.

      The Gaffer

        1. That’s the concept of the article. It’s focused on transfer purchases since the window has opened.

          The Gaffer

          1. Right, but they didn’t needed to purchase a world class defender, midfielder, and striker in 2003 because they’d already spent 78 million in the two years before the transfer window was put in place. Again, you’re metrics are useless for drawing any conclusions. If the concept of the article is to leave out really important data and then make meaningless statements on the back of the scant data you’ve decided to include then you’re bang on.

  3. IMO this type of data is useless without wages. Spurs v Arsenal is a perfect example. Spurs have spend more on buying players but Arsenal spends drastically more on player wages.

    1. Cody, what do you base this information on? Cite a source.

      Several Arsenal players have left the club because the wages that the Gunners were paying were so low.

      The Gaffer

  4. A much more important comparison of EPL teams (if you’re speaking of finance), is profit. As I’ve said previously, it’s easy for multi-billionnaires to throw money at their “toys.” For them, it’s about buying trophies, not earning them.

  5. I would say that one interesting thing is Portsmouth. Spent 100M and managed 1 FA Cup as well as administration.
    could also note the Aston Villa and Birmingham City differences. Villa doubling Birmingham, which may not have gotten them trophies, but has kept them in the Premier League.

  6. Misleading article. it doesn’t take inflation and the rising cost of players into account. $20mil in 2002 is way more than $20mil today. Also you should include players that were bought after the 2002 season because that transfer counts against the 2003 season whether or not it was in January. Also, the conclusions aren’t worth much without numbers for sold players. E.g $300 mil spent with $200 mil in players sold is vastly better than $250 mil spent with $50. The net is a more meaningful number for comparisons and even better if you incorporate player wages.

  7. Basically its like baseball (MLB)… If you spend money, nothing is promised. But if you don’t spend money, I can promise you few if any titles…. Simple.

  8. I, for one, do not quite see what all the hate is about with this article. Yes, there is plenty more data out there to show whatever it is you want to see.
    That is the thing with data. In reality you can find the data to support whatever it is you want to support. You can make the data into whatever it is you want to see.
    For them to go out and get you all the data necessary would take more time than most people would be willing to take (other than Deloitte).
    If you really want to see all the data and write your own article go buy the report from Deloitte, read through it and present it.
    I do feel a bit like I’m rambling, but I thought the article was a good way to show some simple stats about spending to spur on some discussion. Most people seem bent on pointing out what is missing instead of what is there.

    1. @Todd
      I dont get what you are saying. You want to have a discussion over incomplete information? I thought we were supposed to be rational on here?

  9. This is kinda incomplete information. More should have been included.
    Total Transfers – only say which club spent the most or which club had the most financial resources available.

    Net Spending would tell us how well the club is being run: What type of asset they are spending their money on and how much resell value do these assets have.

  10. Nice one The Gaffer. I always wonder why Liverpool spend so much with little trophies. I think the reason is that Liverpool fail to negotiate welk. For example. 20 million for Downing, 20 million for Robbie Keane.

  11. Gaffer, nice article, but I’d like to point out that you made a typo error in your first sentence.

    “Which Premier League is the biggest spender in the last decade?”

    You missed out the word “club” here.

  12. Would be interesting to see not only spent but sold. And that net. Clubs at the bottom sell then buy. And if they don’t they get relegated or in deep trouble money wise.

  13. For crying out loud, The Gaffer is simply giving you one way to look at spending. You want another? Fine, there are tons of sites out there, but as Todd pointed out stats are stats. Have fun with this:


    The one difference that really stands out is Arsenal.

    1. Gladys, read the article. It’s based on January 2003 to this summer. Why? The premise of the article is based on calculating the money spent since the transfer window began.

      The Gaffer

      1. Yes, but that doesn’t address his question of why the 2001 cup for Liverpool was included. Doesn’t 2001 come before January 2003?

  14. All I can add to this is any club that has been successful have spent to acquire that success. When Sir Red Nose Ferguson was about to be fired from Manure when he was there for how many years and couldn’t win the league he spent a boat load of money to by the title. Liverpool, Arsenal dis the same. So i am not quite sure why now that other clubs like Chelsea and City have the resources everybody is complaining. I find it quite amusing lol. If I was Arsenal I would spend some money fast it’s been almost a decade now without a title lol.

    1. Yes Sir Red Nose bought many players in 80s after he sold his star players like whiteside, stapleton, mcgrath, moran, robins to rival clubs to gain the fund. Which player that chelsea or citeh force to sold incase to buy big margin players like mutu, crespo, shevchenko, torres, aguero, silva? Silly comparison…

  15. In Soccernomics the authors found that, in any given year, net transfer spend is not correlated to success on the pitch, but wages paid is the single best determinant of points on the table.

    The catch is that incoming transfer spend tends to increase wages, but it is entirely misguided to look solely at outward transfer spend to draw any conclusions about efficiency in attaining wins.

    Also, you cannot look at the past ten years of spend vs. the past ten years of on pitch performance, as the team on the field ten years ago was mostly acquired via spend outside the window.

    Arsenal, for example, having not won any silverware in 7 years, would seem to have not spent very effectively in at least the past seven years, and possibly more. If you could isolate each purchased player’s contribution, that would be a different story, but being able to do so would mean you’ve uncovered the holy grail of football analysis. Good luck with that.

    1. @bub
      In the last 7 years Arsenal have spent 44 million. But they’re earned over 90 million. I’m not sure looking at spending alone is helping assess the effectivity of the club.

      1. Imho Thats your problem. Your club more focuss to gain some extra money instead the trophy. I feel really sorry for AW to be honest…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *