REVEALED: Man City were football's biggest spenders in the past decade

REVEALED: Manchester City were football’s biggest spenders in the past decade as FIFA report shows that English clubs spent £9BILLION on transfers… and agents pocketed £3.5bn!

  • Manchester City were world football’s biggest spenders over the past decade  
  • A new report from FIFA has lifted the lid on the world of football transfers 
  • 12 English clubs feature in the top 30 spending clubs in the world from 2011-20
  • England accounted for over a quarter of the £35.3bn spent on transfers 
  • Agents’ influence has skyrocketed, with a total of £3.5bn spent on agents’ fees  

Manchester City have spent more money on transfers than any club in the world in the past ten years, a FIFA report has found as the shifting dynamics of transfers in modern football is underscored.

The past 10 years has seen the world transfer record shattered three times, with transfer fees entering nine figures for the first time in the sport’s history. Now, a new report has laid out the eye-watering numbers behind international transfers. 

FIFA’s ‘Ten Years of International Transfers Report’ has detailed the huge sums involved in transfers from 2011-2020, with English clubs unsurprisingly at the heart of the big-money moves. 

Manchester City have spent more on transfers than any other club over the past decade

A FIFA report shows that City (L) and Chelsea (R) lead the way for transfers from 2011-2020

And City, who have developed into a European powerhouse during this timeframe as a result of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan’s ownership, top a list of the 30 top spending clubs in the world.

All 30 clubs are European, with City leading the way ahead of second-placed Chelsea, while Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid make up the remaining places in the top five.

FIFA have not attributed exact figures to each club’s spending, but highlight that City have completed 130 incoming transfers, 59.2 per cent of which have been with fees – meaning they have not been free signings or loan deals.

English clubs make up for over a quarter of total transfer expenditure over the past 10 years

12 of the top 30 spending clubs hail from England, where £9billion has been spent on transfers

Chelsea, meanwhile, have completed 95 incoming transfers, 80 per cent of which have been with fees.

A global total of $48.5bn (£35.3bn) was spent on international transfer expenditure from 2011-2020, with English clubs accounting for over a quarter of that figure with a staggering $12.4bn (£9bn). 

In total, the top 30 spending clubs spent a combined $22.5bn (£16.35bn) on transfers during this time, equating to 47 per cent of the whole sum. 

12 of the top 30 clubs hail from England. They include City, Chelsea, Man United, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, Leicester, Southampton, Wolves, Everton, West Ham and Newcastle.  

Wolves (L), Leicester (C) and West Ham (R) all feature in the all-European world top 30

English clubs spent big, but also lost big. The report further outlined that English clubs made a net loss of £5.2bn from 2011-2020. 

City were 11th-highest in terms of fees received over the same period, with 44.6 per cent of their 307 outgoing international transfers and loans involving them featuring a fee.

City were involved in 232 outgoing loans or loan extensions, according to the report.

Benfica, the Portuguese club which sold star defender Ruben Dias to City in the 2020 summer window, earned the most from international transfer fees, the report found.

The report said 14 deals were completed which involved a transfer fee of $100m (£72.65m) or more, with Argentinian winger Angel Di Maria featuring in two of them.

Agents pocketed a total of £3.5bn from 2011-2020 (pictured: renouned agent Mino Raiola)

Transfers have reached nine figures, with Neymar (R) and Paul Pogba (L) moving for big money


1. Neymar

£198m (Barcelona to PSG) 

2. Kylian Mbappe

£163m (Monaco to PSG) 

3.  Philippe Coutinho

£142m (Liverpool to Barcelona) 

4. Joao Felix

£114m (Benfica to Atletico Madrid)  

5. Antoine Griezmann

£108m (Atletico Madrid to Barcelona) 

6. Paul Pogba

£100m (Juventus to Manchester United)

7. Ousmane Dembele 

£96m (Dortmund to Barcelona) 

8. Eden Hazard

£88m (Chelsea to Real Madrid) 

9. Gareth Bale

£86m (Spurs to Real Madrid) 

10. Harry Maguire

£80m (Leicester to Man United 

The average international transfer fee paid by the top 30 spending clubs peaked at $17.8m (just under £13m) in 2018, dropping to $14.4m (£10.5m) in 2020. 

The report also found solidarity contributions from transfers – which are paid to clubs in recognition of their role in the training and development of a player – has sharply declined, with the 2020 figure of $38.5m (£30m) only just above the $38m (£29.6m) recorded in 2011. The contributions peaked at $67.7m (49.2m) in 2018.

FIFA is working on establishing a Clearing House which it hopes will ensure these payments are fully and quickly distributed to the clubs and academies involved.

The past 10 years has also seen the influence of agents grow massively, with the term ‘superagent’ attached to the likes of Jorge Mendes and Mino Raiola. FIFA say that agents’ fees have risen from $131.1min 2011 to $640.5m in 2019.

In total, $3.5bn has been spent on agents’ fees over the decade, with England accounting for £919m of that sum. 

Despite leading the way for total spent on transfers, City do not feature in the top ten most expensive transfers for 2011-2020, although this summer’s arrival of Jack Grealish, for £100m, is the sixth-most expensive transfer in history.

Chelsea’s £97.5m signing of Romelu Lukaku this transfer window is the seventh-most expensive transfer ever, although they too do not feature in the list for most costly transfers from 2011-2020. 

Barcelona are responsible for three of the top six transfers in that timespan, with Antoine Griezmann, Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele costing £346m. The club recently announced a total debt of £1.15bn. 

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