Woodward defends summer transfer business
“While our commitment to investment remains, it must be balanced with recognition of the extraordinarily challenging environment facing us and all football clubs at this time. Let me share a few initial observations on this summer’s transfer window:
• Gross transfer spending across the big five European leagues was down c40% this summer, driven by both a lower volume of transactions and lower average fees
• The contraction was also felt at the top-end of the market, with no transactions over €100m for the first time in 5 years; and an almost 30% reduction in the average fee for the top 30 transfers
• There was a material increase in the share of free transfers and loans (up over 20% and c.30% respectively).
• At a club level, many of our peers were cautious, with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus and PSG having a combined net spent of €9m; or a median net spend of €13m
• Of course there were one or two outliers the other way, most notably Chelsea, who were making up for not being able to be active during their transfer ban in summer 2019. But one needs to look across multiple windows to gain a clearer perspective; and as I mentioned earlier our aggregate net investment over the last 3 transfer windows compares very favourably with our peers.
“The bottom line is we are investing and will continue to invest to back the manager.”