Clubs around the Premier League are currently feeling the effects of Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules. The January transfer period has now been open for more than two weeks. However, most English top-flight teams have yet to make any significant moves just yet.

While this can change in the second half of the month, it seems as if these clubs are handcuffed at the moment. This is mostly due to intense overall summer spending by Premier League teams. The 20 clubs combined to record a net spend of about $1.3 billion during the summer transfer market.

On average, each team had a net spending of around $68 million during this timeframe. Bigger clubs, however, offset this figure. For instance, Chelsea recorded a net spend of nearly $215 million and Manchester United spent $159 million after selling select players. Despite spending heavily, both clubs are currently struggling this season.

Transfers down compared to last year

Heavy summer spending had previously not stopped certain clubs from spending even more in January. However, these teams are now more worried about FFP regulations. This is perhaps partially down to Everton receiving a 10-point deduction in November for violating the financial laws. It was the harshest punishment ever for a Premier League club.

The Toffees, however, may soon face further punishment as they were recently hit with additional charges. Nottingham Forest was also accused of similar infractions in the latest round of charges as well. Current FFP rules state that clubs cannot record losses exceeding $134 million over three years. This equates to about $44.6 million per year.

With so many Premier League sides close to the loss limit, there has been limited action in the January market. Inglish top flight sides have combined to spend less than $40 million during the month so far. Tottenham Hotspur‘s $27 million deal with Genoa for defender Radu Dragusin is a large chunk of this figure. Spurs could eventually pay the Italian side a little more in the future, assuming additional stipulations are met.

Premier League teams combined to spend $436 million at this stage of the January window in 2023. Chelsea’s $100 million deal to sign Ukrainian winger Mykhailo Mudryk and Liverpool‘s $45 million move for Cody Gakpo highlighted these figures. In the end, top English teams collectively recorded a net spend of $785 million during January 2023.

The 2022/23 season, however, was not exactly an outlier. Premier League clubs combined to spend $71 million at this stage of January in 2021. These teams ended up shelling out around $228 million by the end of the month during the 2021/22 campaign.

Premier League clubs hinted at spending restrictions in January

Spending could certainly increase heading towards the end of the month. After all, clubs tend to wait until they have to make a move before deadline day. This was evident in Chelsea giving Benfica more than $130 million to sign Enzo Fernandez in the final hours of the transfer period last January.

Nevertheless, several team officials have hinted at FFP laws in their lack of movement during the current month. Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta recently admitted that the club may not make a January move due to financial constraints. Newcastle CEO Darren Eales even suggested that the club could sell a star player to adhere to the financial rules.

At the bottom of the table, there are concerns about spending significant amounts of money just to suffer relegation. A team like Luton Town could be hamstrung if they sign more players to Premier League contracts. They would quickly need to move on from the players’ wages during the summer months back in the Championship.