The Premier League Transfer Island
5 min read

The Premier League Transfer Island

The Premier League Transfer Island
"You can check-out any time you like, But you can never leave! (until your contact ends or your club subsidizes your exit)"

There is a great article in the Financial Times by John Burn-Murdoch on how the Premier League has moved away on terms of revenue from pretty much every other league.

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Burn-Murdoch has a ton of great graphics but one of the most important ones that I see here is this one:

The revenues for the Premier League make it a monster. Just by being in the Premier League a team becomes one of the richest in the world. Looking at the latest Deloitte money league rankings, 10 of the 20 highest revenue teams in the world play in the Premier League, and 14 of the top 30 highest revenue teams.

It isn't just the revenue disparity that has been growing but also the wages that each team can pay.

The median wage bill for a Premier League team would be the 4th highest in La Liga, 3rd highest in the Bundesliga, tied for 3rd highest in Serie A, and second highest in Ligue 1. The lowest payroll in the Premier League would be above the median for all the other leagues (except for the Bundesliga but it is still close).

What this has meant, is that the Premier League has a massive pull to bring players in from other leagues. The bottom teams in the Premier League can pay more than just about all but the handful of elite teams on the continent.

The reverse side of this is that when Premier League teams, especially the top teams, who pay their players the most, have a player that is out of favor or who they would simply like to sell, the options for where that player can go have shrunk significantly.

Some of this is probably exaggerated by the COVID finances but the number of transfers from the Premier League to other leagues is down slightly, with the average fee down quite a bit, while loans are up significantly.

In the three seasons prior to COVID, there were 11.3 total transfers (among the top 200 transfers on trasfermarkt) and 7.3 loans from the Premier League to other Leagues. The average transfer fee was 22.7 million pounds, there was an average of 7 or more transfers 20 million or under, 3.3 over 20 million, and 1 free transfer.

Since 2020 the transfer numbers look like this: 12.5 total transfers, 17 (!) loans from the Premier League to other Leagues. The average transfer fee was 14.5 million pounds, there was an average of 5.5 or more transfers 20 million or under, 3 over 20 million, and 4 free transfers.

There still have been some big transfers from the Premier League to other Leagues with Ferran Torres (49m) and Leroy Sané (54m) both leaving for fees over 40 million but it is not the same as the really big transfers that we saw before where Eden Hazard (103m), Romelu Lukaku (67m), Philippe Coutinho (121m), and Diego Costa (54m) all left.

The real change has been on the lower side of the market, the players that are surplus to requirements for Premier League teams. These are the players that used to sell for the 10-20m range, that are now turning into free transfers and loans.

With the differences in wages between the Premier League and other leagues, the buying teams are having to bring the total cost down of the player acquisition by reducing fees paid to the selling clubs. I expect that this trend will continue going forward for at least the short term and very well could continue for the long term as the inbalances in revenues don't appear to be closing.

Once players end up on Premier League island, getting out might not be as easy as it used to be.

Another week with a lot of #content from me.

It was the beginning of the month so I made some predictions for the future and took a look at how my previous guesses have turned out. I really like doing these and seeing how my intuition actually plays out.  

Predictions for June and beyond
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I took a stab at trying to put together some early stats based goals for what I think a successful season for Arsenal would look like in 2022/23.

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For premium members I took a look at the signing of Ivan Perisic for Tottenham.

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Last but not least, I continued my position by position season review looking at how Arsenal's attacking midfielders did last season.

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This is the second in the series looking at Arsenal’s season, position by position. Last week I looked at the strikers: Arsenal Season Review: StrikersIt is time to start looking at how Arsenal did position by position. Today we are going to look at one of the thorniest positions, the