2 Feb 2011

Record transfer deals not a trend in Premier League football?

6:23 am on 2 February 2011

Analysts say the 225 million pounds ($NZ 465 million) laid out by Premier League football clubs in January surpassed all records but should not be seen as evidence of a general trend to spend.

Tuesday's extraordinary 134-million pounds ($NZ 277 million) spree on Fernando Torres, Andy Carroll, David Luiz and Luis Suarez meant the January window total easily surpassed the previous record of 175 million ($NZ 362 million) in 2008 according to business advisory firm Deloitte.

It was also a quantum leap on last year when only 30 million ($NZ 62 million) changed hands to a background discussion of clubs getting their financial houses in order ahead of next year's implementation of UEFA's financial fair play rules.

The rules require clubs to live within their means by ensuring expenditure is not more than the revenue they generate through their activities.

Just over half of this year's money moved between Premier League clubs, with 47 percent going overseas and just two percent -- 5 million pounds -- going into England's Football League clubs, according to the Deloitte report.

The numbers, led by the 50 million pounds ($NZ 103 million) Chelsea paid Liverpool for Torres and the 36 million ($NZ 74 million) of that which moved from Anfield to Newcastle United for Carroll, led to widespread media comment that the English game was at complete odds with so-called "austerity Britain" as just about every other sector struggles with funding cuts.

However, Deloitte stressed the figures had been somewhat skewed by the top-end moves and should not be used to read any deep and meaningful trends within the game.

Alex Byars, senior consultant at Deloitte's Sports Business Group says although they were surprised to see 225 million it should be noted that around 80 percent of that figure was spent by four clubs (Chelsea, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Manchester City) and on just six players.