Record Premier League spending fuels transfer market recovery: FIFA

Record spending by English Premier League clubs fueled a recovery in the international transfer market in 2022 with a total outlay of some $6.5 billion, according to a report published by football governing body FIFA on Thursday.

The figure represents an increase in the last two years as football recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic but is still below the levels of 2019 ($7.35 billion), just before the health crisis, International Association Football Federation (FIFA) said in its Global Transfer Report.

The report only takes into account international transfers, in which over 20,000 were recorded and fewer than 3,000 involved a fee.

English clubs' spending "reached a record high of almost $2.2 billion", the report said, with six of the 10 biggest international transfers involving moves to Premier League sides.

Liverpool's Uruguayan striker Darwin Nunez runs with the ball during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield in Liverpool, England, January 21, 2023. (Photo: CFP)

Among those moves were Liverpool's signing of Darwin Nunez from Benfica for an initial 75 million euros ($82 million) plus 25 million in potential bonuses and Luis Diaz from Porto as well as Manchester United’s purchases of Casemiro and Antony from Real Madrid and Ajax respectively.

There was also Erling Haaland's switch from Borussia Dortmund to Manchester City and Newcastle United's signing of Alexander Isak from Real Sociedad.

French clubs brought in the most money, although the total amount recouped of $740.3 million was still down on 2019 figures of over $900 million.

Keira Walsh (R) of England is put under pressure by Rose Lavelle of the United States during the Women's International Friendly match between England and USA at Wembley Stadium in London, England, October 7, 2022. (Photo: CFP)

Meanwhile, the continuing growth of women's football was reflected by a 19 percent increase in the number of international transfers to a total of 1,555.

Only a small number involved a fee but spending on international transfers rose to $3.3 million, which FIFA said was 62 percent higher than the previous year.

Leading the biggest moves in the women's game was Keira Walsh's transfer from Manchester City to Barcelona, the fee for which was reported as being around 350,000 euros ($381,450).

"All of this reflects the impressive strides being taken as more and more female players continue to turn professional," said Emilio Garcia Silvero, FIFA's chief legal and compliance officer.