Barclays has revealed that England has the biggest transfer deficit in world football after clubs spent £579m recruiting talent from overseas, a figure up by 15-per-cent.
The bank said the balance of trade deficit stands at £379.1m, after taking into account the sale of players worth £200m to foreign clubs. This was seven times larger than second placed Germany.
Overseas television rights and sponsorship deals from foreign investors totalling £1bn supported the spending by English clubs.
At club level Manchester United’s £59.7m signing of Angel Di Maria helped it to record the highest deficit of £119.3m, after spending £137.3m and raising just £18m from sales to overseas clubs.
Manchester City had a deficit of £42m after spending £57.6m and raising £15.7m. Liverpool’s deficit was just £1.4m after spending £78.9m and raising £77.5m, and Burnley didn’t trade w-ith foreign clubs. Only three English clubs had a small trade surplus – QPR, Sunderland and Crystal Palace.
Barclays’ Football Balance of Trade shows Spain was England’s biggest football trading partner in the summer transfer window and Spanish clubs continue to hold the largest share of the global export market at 35-per-cent.
France has moved from being one of the biggest net importers of football talent in summer 2013, spending £247m, to being the third biggest exporter, leaving it with a budget surplus of £86.6m.
The Chinese Super League is emerging as a net importer of overseas talent as its premier football league continues to grow. China has the third highest deficit, albeit at £7.4m it is far behind the deficits of Germany and England. However, in the January transfer window of the 2013/14 season, China had the highest global deficit of foreign trade, running up a deficit of £36.6m, £15.4m more than England.
Chris Lee, head of professional sports banking at Barclays, said: “While English football has run up the biggest trade deficit in world football transfers, the overall income it generates far outstrips the cost of importing players from overseas.
“Matches from England’s Premier League are beamed to around 211 countries across the globe, and overseas corporates want to be part of what is regarded by many as the best football league in the world. The attraction of England’s ‘beautiful game’ continues to ensure its position as a huge export success for the country and England truly remains the business home of football.”