Premier League clubs spent less than a fifth of their expected cumulative 2020/21 revenue during this summer’s transfer window*, according to research by a leading football finance academic.

Club’s collective net-spend of £830m was a “relatively sustainable” 17-18% of revenue says Chris Winn, football finance academic at the Global Institute of Sport.

However, the net-spend of clubs was around £200m more than 2019’s summer window, despite the gross total being c.£170m less this time around.

Chris, who also appeared on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme to discuss the close of the international window earlier this week, said: “Even allowing for no match day revenue this season in a worst case scenario, potential broadcast rebates and the commercial hits due to lack of fan exposure, I’d still expect the Premier League to generate at least £4.5bn-£5bn total revenue this season as stands.”

Chris continued, “Whilst the significant gross spend by Premier League clubs affirmed the notion of this summer being a buyers’ market, it is also important to note that transfer fees are often paid in instalments over time- so these levels of spend are not immediate cash payments here and now. Clubs will hope that future payments will be made in better times, and are often supplemented with future performance related terms to limit potential future liability.”

Ben Chilwell, right, signed for Frank Lampard's Chelsea this summer for a reported £50m.

In 2018/19 (the latest period for which financials are available), matchday revenue only accounted for around 13% (£680m) of overall club revenue in the English top flight, slightly below the net spend figure paid out by clubs this summer, with broadcast and commercial deals being far more generous towards club coffers. Thirteen of the seventeen consistent Premier League teams spent less this summer compared to last, with nine clubs reducing net-spend. Only three clubs ended the summer in profit – Crystal Palace, West Ham United and Brighton.

The so-called “big six” contributed c.£650m of the £1.24bn gross spent this summer – 53%. Last summer this was just over 40%. However, this summer’s spend is heavily skewed by the backing Frank Lampard was given at Chelsea following their transfer ban last term. The Londoners spent over £220m this summer – almost 18% of the league gross spend – on the likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Ben Chilwell.

Commenting on the spending spree from Premier League clubs this summer, Chris added: “A lot has been said about spending responsibly in the current environment, but clubs need to continue to invest to compete at that level. In the top flight if clubs are relegated, or don’t qualify for Europe when expected to, it can have huge financial consequences, as well as impacting the ability to attract future talent. Historically, there’s often a very strong correlation between spending and success in the Premier League.”

*Note- the domestic transfer window allowing trade between the Premier League and EFL remains open until Friday 16th October.