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The highest-spending football leagues in the summer of 2023

The transfer news that dominated throughout the previous few days were Neymar’s move to the Saudi Pro League and how the English transfer record was broken once more, in just a matter of weeks. This prompted SportingPedia to identify the highest-spending leagues during the 2023 summer transfer window and compare how they rank against the EPL.

While the English Premier League predictably tops the rankings, the numbers show that the Italian Serie A remains in 2nd place, while the Spanish La Liga has dropped astonishingly below the top 5 leagues at #6. The report shows that a significant new contestant, Saudi Arabia’s Pro League, has emerged within the top 5 spending leagues globally.

Key Takeaways

  • English Premier League teams have spent a total of €2.05 billion until 16th of August
  • Serie A ranks 2nd, followed by the Bundesliga and Ligue 1
  • La Liga is now the 6th highest spending league in the world
  • Saudi’s Pro League has moved up to 5th spot
  • The English Premier League has spent just €280 million less in player acquisitions during the 2023 summer transfer window, than the remaining 4 of the top 5 leagues combined – La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga
  • The dominance of English football is underlined by the presence of the Championship in 8th place
  • Only one football league outside of Europe finds a place in the ranking – Saudi Arabia’s Pro League

English Premier League Dominance

The English Premier League once again demonstrates its financial prowess, investing an impressive €2.05 billion solely in new players during the summer of 2023. This amount is almost three times greater than the closest competitor’s spending. The collective spending of the 20 Premier League teams falls just €280 million short of the combined spending of Europe’s top 5 leagues. This reinforces English teams’ dominant presence in the transfer market. Notably, Serie A secures the 2nd position with an expenditure of €712 million for player acquisitions, with the German Bundesliga rounding off the top 3.

La Liga Struggles

There are small margins between the leagues ranked from 2nd to 5th place, but then comes La Liga. The Spanish top-tier teams appear to be struggling to keep pace with their European counterparts, as La Liga falls behind the other top 5 European leagues. Real Madrid, Barcelona & Co. have spent almost two times less than the elite teams in France and Germany so far and just 16% of the English Premier League clubs’ expenditures.

New Force Emerging

A significant shift is marked by the inclusion of the non-European Saudi Pro League in the ranking. Now occupying the 5th spot, it has surpassed La Liga in terms of spending power. The dominance of English football extends beyond the Premier League, as the Championship, their second division, takes 8th place. The other football leagues from around the globe who find a place in the ranking are the Portuguese Liga Portugal, the Dutch Eredivisie, and the Belgian Jupiler Pro League who take respectively 7th, 9th and 10th positions.

Approaching the figures from a relative standpoint, it becomes evident that Premier League clubs have shouldered a significant 37.1% of the total expenditure among the top 10 leagues. Leagues occupying positions 2 through 5 each command a similar share, ranging from 11% to 12.9%. In stark contrast, a substantial decline is observed in the subsequent position, as La Liga lays claim to a mere 6.1% of the overall spending.