Premier League clubs ranked by net spend in relation to turnover

Quick Reads
Romelu Lukaku in Chelsea training

Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United are often the Premier League’s biggest spenders in the transfer market – but research shows it’s Aston Villa who spent the highest percentage of their income on new players between 2016-17 and 2019-20.

With a net spend of more than £342million, City were the biggest net spenders during that period, but that accounts for only 25.87% of their total income, smaller than five other clubs.

Liverpool’s handy knack at balancing the books through fringe player sales has them way down at 16th on the list put together by Paddy Power, with their net spend just 7.42% of their overall income, while United (25.75%) are a place behind City in seventh and Chelsea (14.52%) are in 10th.

Aston Villa, however, spent 70.39% of their total income on transfers to finance their promotion from the Championship, with Wolves (61.98%) not far behind for similar reasons.

It is certainly possible to get into the Premier League without spending beyond your means, though, as evidenced by Brentford and Norwich City. The Bees’ profit over the five seasons was equal to 157% of their other non-transfer income, such as shirt sales and matchday tickets, while Norwich made a net profit on transfers equating to 27% of their total income elsewhere.

Full table

Team Total Net Spend Net spend as % of total income
Brentford £159,030,000 157.12% (profit)
Norwich City £615,460,000 27.05% (profit)
Southampton -£284,110,000 3.50%
Watford -£222,790,000 6.13%
Liverpool -£291,480,000 7.42%
Crystal Palace -£73,335,000 9.12%
Newcastle United -£561,200,000 10.20%
Burnley -£37,660,000 11.24%
Leicester City -£226,750,000 12.09%
Tottenham Hotspur -£91,410,000 12.86%
Chelsea -£63,170,000 14.52%
Arsenal -£102,470,000 18.48%
West Ham United -£237,050,000 22.91%
Manchester United -£190,170,000 25.75%
Manchester City -£342,390,000 25.87%
Everton -£64,240,000 33.20%
Leeds United -£102,680,000 43.92%
Brighton & Hove Albion -£25,200,000 48.53%
Wolverhampton Wanderers -£282,700,000 61.98%
Aston Villa -£104,900,000 70.39%
    • Research includes all current 20 Premier League’s club’s financial figures from 2016/17 to 2019/20
    • Annual turnover data sourced from Companies House
    • Annual Net Spend data sourced from TransferMarkt

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