The numbers behind La Liga’s transfer window


A summer of drawn-out sagas and inflated transfer fees has finally come to an end after the transfer window slammed shut on all European clubs last week.

While the English Premier League rounded out the summer as the highest spending league, clubs from Spain’s La Liga were conservative in their approach, at least on a league-wide scale.

That’s because there was nothing reserved about the approach Barcelona took to replace Paris Saint-Germain’s latest signing, Neymar, as they scrambled with haste and intensity to find the right man to succeed the mercurial Brazilian.

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Ousmane Dembele is Barcelona’s club record signing, eclipsing the record held by Luis Suarez after joining from Liverpool in 2014. He is the second-most expensive signing in history and demaded the highest fee for a 20-year-old since Anthony Martial’s move to Manchester United in 2015.

They got their man, eventually, securing the signing of Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele for a whopping €105 million. The French international is a hugely talented individual, but only time will tell if he is the right player to fill the boots of Neymar.

Across the next few weeks we will look at the five heaviest spending leagues from Europe over the summer, starting here with Spain’s La Liga.

5. La Liga – Spent £511.15 million / €559.05 million 

Barcelona finished the transfer window as the highest spending team in La Liga, totalling €192.5 million worth of signings after adding Ousmane Dembele, Paulinho, Nelson Semedo, Gerard Deulofeu and Marlon Santos, and they make up 34.4% of the league’s entire spend.

La Liga’s other juggernaut, Real Madrid, were relatively quiet over the summer. They were the third-highest spending team in the league, outlaying a somewhat meagre sum of €46.5 million on new players.

Though, when considering the strength of Zinedine Zidane’s back-to-back Champions League winning squad, there’s probably not a lot of spending required.

In fact, Real Madrid turned over the league’s highest net profit over the summer, racking up a whopping €76.5 million from the sales of Alvaro Morata, Danilo and James Rodriguez (Bayern Munich paid a €13 million loan fee).

Sevilla piped Real Madrid as the second-highest spending team in the league, spending €63.85 million on nine new players. Villarreal were fourth-highest with €44.5 million spent, while Atletico Madrid and Valencia were tied on €36 million each.

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Average spend from clubs in La Liga: €27.95 million. Average net profit from clubs in La Liga: €6.41 million.

As a collective unit, the above graph proves the moderate means of Spain’s La Liga, on top of sound financial management. Though nine of the 20 clubs recorded a net loss, only four of them (Villarreal, Valencia, Celta de Vigo and Getafe) finished with a loss greater than €10 million.

Meanwhile, 10 clubs recorded a net profit, six of which were greater than €10 million. That leaves just Athletic Bilbao, who refrained from spending or selling, and continue to operate with their historic transfer policy of only recruiting Basque-based players.

Overall, Spain’s La Liga is one of the greatest leagues in world football. Barring the two colossal units that are Real Madrid and Barcelona, and usually Atletico Madrid, there isn’t a huge discrepancy between the rest of the division, most of which are capable sides that can compete in European competition.



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