According to figures posted yesterday, Premier League clubs paid an inordinate £67.1 million in order to sate the whims of the various agents, middle-men and brokers with which they dealt in the period between October 2009 and September 2010.
The results actually show a slight decrease from the £70.69 million total that was officially posted last year, although only 742 separate transactions took place within ’09/’10 – with 792 deals being concluded during the previous year.
Despite the dramatic drop in transfer fees between ’09 and ’10 (which were 38.7% lower than the previous year), agents fees have only dipped slightly and the skew is partially due to fact that agents fee are paid in routine increments throughout the length of a player’s contract rather than in a single lump sum – thus creating a ‘financial lag’ of sorts.
Chelsea and Liverpool top the individual stakes having spent a sizeable £9.2 million and £9 million respectively, and both clubs sit a considerable distance ahead of third-place Man City – who only paid out £5.6 million in fees, despite Sheikh Mansour‘s recent exercises in nouveau-riche über capitalism.
Of the top three spenders, Chelsea’s outlay is slightly down on last year’s postings, whereas Man City have more than halved their outgoings (which are down from a staggering £12.8 million recorded in ’08/’09), however Liverpool’s total has risen by £2.4 million during the same period – thanks chiefly to newly-instated manager Roy Hodgson‘s efforts in culling the surplus from the ‘unbelievably overstaffed’ squad which he inherited from predecessor Rafa Benitez.
As well as bringing in a flock of fee-laden players in the five months that he has been in situ at Anfield, Hodgson has also overseen (if not been wholly responsible for) the sales of Diego Cavalieri, Javier Mascherano, Albert Riera and Yossi Benayoun amongst others and sanctioned the outbound loan deals for Philipp Degen, Alberto Aquilani, Nabil El-Zhar and Emiliano Insua – all of which will have incurred payments to the many corresponding brokers.
Man City’s new-found ‘frugality’ is possibly due to the looming threat of breaching FIFA’s Financial Fair Play initiative, which has left them needing to slash their £133 million annual wage bill.
City’s chief executive Garry Cook has also stated his determination to snub out the sway that player’s agents currently hold at Eastlands, in a bid to bring an air of austerity back to the club.
The huge cut in middle-man payments has seen them fall to a total only £300,000(ish) above the £5.36 million shelled out by Tottenham Hotspur who, under the gung-ho tenure of one-man financial sledgehammer Harry Redknapp, are a club very much moving in the opposite fiscal direction having pipped the Citizens to Champions League qualification last season.
Several clubs struck a blow in the interest of economy, with West Ham, Wigan and archetypal tightwads Arsenal who all trimmed their payments to agents by more than £1 million over the 12-month period.
Interestingly, Portsmouth (who were relegated from the top flight last season) paid more in agent fees during ’08/’09 than all three promoted clubs (Blackpool, West Brom and Newcastle) have managed this year combined – which is a telling glimpse into their current travails if ever there was one.
The agent fee list in full…
Arsenal – £3,660,199.00
Aston Villa – £2,279,536.50
Birmingham – £1,518,529.09
Blackburn – £1,623,232.92
Blackpool – £45,000.00
Bolton – £3,549,316.72
Chelsea – £9,293,751.48
Everton – £3,599,040.51
Fulham – £2,087,373.55
Liverpool – £9,032,528.49
Manchester City – £5,952,261.33
Manchester United – £2,312,726.00
Newcastle – £2,417,776.00
Stoke – £2,196,968.50
Sunderland – £4,421,990.72
Tottenham – £5,361,229.87
West Brom – £614,195.73
West Ham – £3,419,089.99
Wigan – £2,461,500.00
Wolves – £1,291,794.00
Total – £67,138,040.40
Do you ever get the feeling you may be in the wrong line of work?