Mercato Summer 2012 – They’ve spent how much?

Ligue 1 Scatter

The transfer window has (as is traditional) slammed shut – sort of. Possibly there are still some frees / late release deals to be done, but for now, we’re putting a pin in it and sending up the dashboard.  This takes the details of all the deals done by Ligue 1 and Premiership clubs this window, and visualises the results – click here for the dashboard.


Our sources for this project are L’Equipe’s Transfer Tableau, which lists all deals for Ligue 1 and Premiership clubs (and other leagues, not included on the dashboard) – where the deal is a money move but no fee is disclosed, a valuation has been taken from Transfermarkt.

Please note that the number of undisclosed fees means that the net spend and average fee figures may include an estimated element for some teams and overall; this may particularly affect Tottenham as Adebayor’s estimated value of €25m is probably not what they actually paid for him, that deal being, as James Richardson observed, more that “they’ve agreed with Manchester City to pay his wages and park him at White Hart Lane”. The decision was taken to use Transfermarkt’s valuations rather than relying on rumoured figures to ensure consistency across the dataset – also because otherwise I’d have to look at some of those ‘ITK’ Twitter accounts that I prefer to avoid like the plague.

Overall comparisons – Ligue 1 remains a less financially extreme league than the Premiership, with only one entrant in the top ten ‘net spenders’ and only five players purchased for more than €10m, as opposed to 22 in the Premiership.  The overall average spend on players is €4m, compared to €7.15m in the Premiership.  The number of free transfers is also markedly different between the two leagues – Ligue 1 used this method to acquire 48 new players (43% of the total) whereas the Premiership only brought in 24 (18%).  In terms of the bottom line, Ligue 1’s net outlay this window was €30.6m (10% of the total for the two leagues), the Premiership’s a startling €270.6m.

The PSG Effect – comparisons between Ligue 1 and the Premiership are even more pointed if we ignore PSG (insert obvious joke here).  Of the five €10m-plus players brought into Ligue 1, four went to PSG (Thiago Silva, Lavezzi, Ibrahimovic, Verratti – the other was Marvin Martin’s €10m move to Lille) and PSG are (of course) the only French club in the top ten for net spend. This is by some distance, as well – a confirmed outlay of €105m, and net spend of €101.75, puts them way in front of second-placed Chelsea with net spend (including estimated element) of €83.5m, so the difference is equivalent to Jack Rodwell plus change.  This outlay also significantly skews the average spend figures for Ligue 1 – the headline figure of €4m overall is almost halved, to €2.1m, when PSG are removed.  Similarly, take out PSG’s net outlay and Ligue 1 actually made  €71.1m overall.

International Dealings – the higher prices of the Premiership mean that Ligue 1 clubs rarely shop there; four players arrived, but only one (possibly)  for money, Kamel Ghilas from Hull City to Reims for an estimated €2m.  The other three, Joey Barton to OM, Jean Makoun to Rennes, and Salomon Kalou to Lille, were all loan deals.  Conversely, the Premiership do like to shop in France, with ten players coming in, only one (Romain Amalfitano to Newcastle from Reims) on a free; all bar Thorgen Hazard (then loaned straight out to Belgium) were purchased from Ligue 1.  This means net income (includes estimated fees for Ghilas and Lloris) of €84.75m for France from the Premiership alone.

Looking further afield, the other big leagues in Europe are well represented, the Premiership dealing heavily with Spain, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands, while Ligue 1 concentrates on slightly more affordable leagues such as Greece, and the Belgian influence can be seen in both.  Also, the current situation at Glasgow Rangers has had an impact as 4 of the 6 Premiership arrivals from Scotland are from that beleaguered club.

In terms of departures, again the big leagues feature heavily, and the vast majority of players move within Europe (337 of 352), but we can also see new leagues as preferred destinations for players perhaps seeking a large paycheck elsewhere, with six departures to clubs in the Middle East.

To keep an eye on how these clubs are doing throughout the season, I will be maintaining league and comparison dashboards again – with five games now played in Ligue 1, see here for the initial findings, to which more will be added as trends emerge, and the Premiership will also be getting the treatment after the next round of games.

The usual riders and disclaimers about the use of stats and whether I should or should not get out more are summed up in this blogpost.


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