Written By: Dominic Chandler (@Frankly2Shankly)
The transfer window slammed shut last month with over a billion pounds spent by Premier League clubs. With squads now fixed in place until January, the overall cost of putting these twenty teams together tops a staggering £6.2 billion in transfer fees. Looking at each team in the top division, we analyse a league table comprised of the estimated cost it took to assemble each roster. From league champions Liverpool to the newly promoted sides, it’ll be intriguing to see how this table reflects the overall outcome of divisional rankings come the end of the season.
20th) West Bromwich Albion
Estimated Squad Cost: £88m
The newly promoted side went into the campaign with largely the same squad which earned them a place back in the top division. Ex-loanees Grady Diangana and Matheus Pereira made their deals permanent, while Filip Krovinović returned for another season at The Hawthorns. The Baggies did add £15m striker Karlan Grant, but it remains to be seen whether this squad has been sufficiently strengthened to beat the drop this season.
Estimated Squad Cost: £92m
Sean Dyche has undoubtedly constructed a resolute and efficient unit with the Clarets. With £15m Chris Wood still their record signing, Burnley have achieved top half finishes in two of the previous three seasons despite a modest outlay. However, the club’s failure to back their manager over the summer may come back to bite them. Burnley are yet to win in the league this season, and with a hectic schedule ahead, their thin squad may be their undoing.
18th) Sheffield United
Estimated Squad Cost: £117mEmbed from Getty Images
The Blades were one of the surprise packages in the Premier League last season, as Chris Wilder maximised his limited resources to admirable effect. United’s form has dipped post-lockdown though, and they’ve made a stuttering start to this season. Wilder was backed by the club over the summer though, with the £40m addition of Aaron Ramsdale and Rhian Brewster. The onus will be on the latter of the two to provide a cutting edge for the goal-shy Blades.
17th) Leeds United
Estimated Squad Cost: £121mEmbed from Getty Images
Leeds have started the season in excellent form and are carrying on from where they left off in the Championship. Marcelo Bielsa masterminded promotion with a comparatively limited transfer budget and the crux of his current squad comprises of those players. However, Leeds have added some international quality to the ranks with the likes of Rodrigo and Diego Llotente arriving at Elland Road. United invested around £100m in the summer, and so far, it’s paying dividends.
Estimated Squad Cost: £146m
Last time Fulham were promoted to the Premier League, they spent over £100m on twelve players; it ended in immediate relegation. This time around the Cottagers have taken a more pragmatic approach. Scott Parker has made six loan signings, while spending under £30m on permanent deals. The most expensive of which was Anthony Konockaert, who left on loan last month. Currently on just four points, perhaps Fulham failed to find that happy medium over the summer.
15th) Brighton and Hove Albion
Estimated Squad Cost: £153m
After cementing their status in the Premier League, Brighton go into their four term in the top division having had a relatively quiet transfer window. Free agent Adam Lallana was the headline addition at the Falmer Stadium, with young star Ben White also returning to the fold. It’s a change in tack for a side who have broken their transfer record five times in the past four years. Graham Potter now has plenty of options at his disposal.
Estimated Squad Cost: £165m
Since their return to the Premier League in 2012, the Saints have sold around £300m worth of top-class talent, including Liverpool pair Sadio Mané and Virgil van Dijk. These star departures have characterised Southampton’s recruitment process, often resulting in annual overhauls of playing staff. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg may be the latest key player to leave St Mary’s, nonetheless Ralph Hasenhüttl has finally injected some much-needed stability into the squad.
13th) Crystal Palace
Estimated Squad Cost: £190m
A considerable squad cost is perhaps misleading regarding the level of overachievement Roy Hodgson has enjoyed with the Eagles over the past few seasons. Big money signings such as Christian Benteke and Mamadou Sakho were signed during previous managerial regimes. The former England boss was able to make his first expensive addition in Eberechi Eze this summer though, adding much-needed support to a squad built around talisman Wilfried Zaha.
12th) Newcastle United
Estimated Squad Cost: £217mEmbed from Getty Images
Much has been made of Mike Ashley’s apparent reluctance to back his managers in the transfer market in recent years. However, Steve Bruce has been undisputedly supported in his quest to bolster his ranks since taking the helm in 2019. The Magpies smashed their transfer record to sign Joelinton last summer, also adding Allan Saint-Maximin to the squad. This year they also brought in relegated duo Callum Wilson and Jamal Lewis for a combined £35m.
11th) West Ham United
Estimated Squad Cost: £218m
In terms of transfer outlay and subsequent results on the pitch, the Hammers are perhaps the great underachievers of the Premier League. Blockbuster signings Felipe Anderson and Sébastien Haller have so far failed to make a lasting impression, with West Ham fighting relegation last season. Perhaps the Irons’ more subdued summer window in 2020 has reflected that. However, West Ham’s overall squad cost will rise again when Saïd Benrahma’s stay becomes a permanent one.
10th) Aston Villa
Estimated Squad Cost: £232m
Villa brought in a dozen new faces last year in a spending spree costing over £100m and it just about bought them Premier League survival. This summer they went big in the market again, splashing the best part of £80m on new additions. However, the club’s latest recruitment drive has left them on much more of an even keel than last summer. The likes of Ollie Watkins and Emiliano Martinez look more measured additions as Dean Smith’s squad continues to gel.
9th) Wolverhampton Wanderers
Estimated Squad Cost: £236mEmbed from Getty Images
With a mix of Portuguese international talent and trusted servants of their Championship promotion, Nuno Espírito Santo has built one of the most formidable units in the division. Wolves’ settled system saw some disruption over the summer though, with the departures of Matt Doherty and Diogo Jota. To fill the void, in came compatriots Nélson Semedo and Fábio Silva, the latter costing a club record £35m.
8th) Leicester City
Estimated Squad Cost: £320mEmbed from Getty Images
The Foxes will have been disappointed not to have sealed a top four finish last season, nonetheless, they still relatively overachieved in 2019. Big name departures of England duo Harry Maguire and Ben Chilwell have allowed Brendan Rodgers to reinvest in his squad. £50m pair Timothy Castagne and Wesley Fofana were added over the summer. Meanwhile, the likes of James Maddison and Wilfred Ndidi have at least doubled their values over recent season.
7th) Tottenham Hotspur
Estimated Squad Cost: £393m
Spurs have gone thirteen years without a trophy. Nevertheless, when you compare their transfer outlay to some of their rivals, it could be argued that Mauricio Pochettino had his side punching above their weight at times. With Mourinho now at the helm, Tottenham added more depth and balance to their ranks. This included the acquisition of Real Madrid pair Sergio Reguilón for around £27m and Gareth Bale returning on loan.
Estimated Squad Cost: £418m
In recent years, the Toffees have been one of the most underperforming squads in the Premier League. Despite spending well over £400m in transfer fees over the previous four seasons, Everton’s best placed finish during that time was seventh. However, the arrival of Carlos Ancelotti may have changed their fortunes in recruitment. The £60m spent on midfield trio James Rodriguez, Abdoulaye Doucouré and Allan looks to have infused instant class into the squad.
Estimated Squad Cost: £490mEmbed from Getty Images
Over the past four years, the Gunners have spent an astonishing amount of money in the transfer market as they’ve looked to rebuild. That cost amounts to over £400m, and with no Champions League qualification to show for it, their recruitment has yielded mixed results. With Arteta now in charge, Arsenal will hope that they have approached the market in a more calculated fashion this year. The arrivals of Thomas Partey and Gabriel are the latest significant additions.
Estimated Squad Cost: £531mEmbed from Getty Images
The Reds spent big to secure the services of Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker, and their successive trophy-laden seasons suggest it’s been money well-spent. Liverpool opted not to spend significantly in 2019 though, and while that risk paid dividends, they changed their approach this summer. Jürgen Klopp added just under £80m’s worth of talent to his squad in Kostas Tsimikas, Thiago Alcântara and Diogo Jota, as the German aims to retain his title.
Estimated Squad Cost: £630mEmbed from Getty Images
The Blues were another side who didn’t spend big last summer (although not by choice). However, they made up for lost time in 2020 with a £220m spending spree. Attacking trio Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech were brought in to join the £58m Christian Pulisic. Meanwhile Ben Chilwell was also signed for £45m. Edouard Mendy was recruited to play between the sticks, meaning that Chelsea now have the world’s most expensive keeper on the bench.
2nd) Manchester United
Estimated Squad Cost: £641mEmbed from Getty Images
Since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, United have spent over £900m in transfer fees. During that period, the club have broken the £50m mark six times, including a deal to make Paul Pogba the world’s most expensive ever player in 2016. The fact that the Red Devils haven’t come close to lifting another league title since, casts a damning light on their recruitment. Current boss Solskjær has already spent around £240m on his side as he looks to improve their fortunes.
1st) Manchester CityEmbed from Getty Images
Estimated Squad Cost: £824m For some time, Manchester City have boasted the most expensively assembled team in world football. After finishing 18 points behind champions Liverpool last season, they reacted by adding over £120m’s worth of talent to their star-studded squad. One of these new faces was Rúben Dias, who cost the club a record £65m to sign from Benfica. The signing means that Pep Guardiola has now spent over £400m on defensive reinforcements since he arrived at City in 2016.