Financial figures released by the Football Association have revealed that Premier League clubs spent nearly £175million on agent fees in the last two transfer windows, with Chelsea the capital’s highest spenders.
A record £220m was spent on agents across English football’s top four divisions, a 37 per cent increase on the last full year of results for 2014-15.
Much of the increase came from the Championship, where spending jumped by over 60 per cent to £42.4m. But as top-flight spending on transfer fees continued to balloon, so did the 20 clubs’ expenditure on intermediaries and agents, which grew by 34 per cent.
League leaders Chelsea were the top division’s second-highest spenders with £25.1m paid to intermediaries and agents in the period between February 2, 2016 and January 31, 2017. Their spending was only surpassed by Manchester City (£26.2m).
That period encompasses two transfer windows in which Chelsea spent significantly more than £100m to upgrade Antonio Conte’s squad, recruiting N’Golo Kante, Michy Batshuayi, Marcos Alonso and David Luiz.
Arsenal were the next highest spending London club but the £10.2m they paid in fees to agents and intermediaries was significantly less than the fees paid out by Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United (£19m), with even Liverpool paying more (£13.8m).
Their expenditure on agents is notably low considering the summer transfer window saw Arsene Wenger spend more on new signings than he had ever done before in his 20-year spell at Arsenal, bringing in German defender Shkodran Mustafi (£35m), Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka (£33.8m) and Spanish forward Lucas Perez (£17m).
West Ham paid nearly as much as the Gunners (£9.5m) over a period during which they recruited 13 new players, most notably £20m record signing Andre Ayew from Swansea and Robert Snodgrass from Hull.
Tottenham spent £7.2m, with their figures including major new contracts for the likes of Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli, while Crystal Palace paid £6m. That takes the combined spending of London’s top-flights clubs on agents and intermediaries to £57.9m, a third of total Premier League expenditure.
In the Championship QPR’s £2.4m spending was London’s highest, but faded into relative insignificance when compared with the £10.4m relegated Newcastle spent.
Fulham paid £1.3m to intermediaries while Brentford spent £626,000, the sixth-lowest sum in the division.
Of the League One clubs AFC Wimbledon spent £57,000, Millwall £140,000 and Charlton £608,000 while League Two sides Barnet and Leyton Orient spent £35,000 and £83,000 respectively.