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English clubs led way as international spending reached record £7.6b in 2023

The international transfer spending record was smashed in 2023, a FIFA report has found, thanks to big-money moves like Enzo Fernandez’s switch from Benfica to Chelsea last January (John Walton/PA)
The international transfer spending record was smashed in 2023, a FIFA report has found, thanks to big-money moves like Enzo Fernandez’s switch from Benfica to Chelsea last January (John Walton/PA)

A record 9.63billion US dollars (£7.6b) was spent on international transfer deals in 2023, according to a new report from FIFA.

English clubs led the way, spending £2.3bn across the January and summer windows last year, out of a total which smashed the previous single-year record set in 2019 by more than two billion US dollars.

FIFA’s Global Transfer Report found Saudi Arabian clubs were the third-highest spenders on cross-border deals, splashing out 970m US dollars (£765.9m) in 2023 compared to just 50.4m US dollars (£39.8m) in 2022.

Saudi clubs spent big last summer on star names such as Neymar, pictured
Saudi clubs spent big last summer on star names such as Neymar, pictured (Nick Potts/PA)

Chelsea were unsurprisingly identified as Europe’s top spenders on international deals, with five other English teams in the top 10 and a further five in the top 20.

The top 10 player transfers alone generated more than 10 per cent of the entire amount spent on transfer fees in 2023.

FIFA’s top 10 included Jude Bellingham’s move from Borussia Dortmund to Real Madrid, Enzo Fernandez’s switch from Benfica to Chelsea and Rasmus Hojlund’s transfer from Atalanta to Manchester United. An English team was the buying club in six of those top 10 deals.

The continued growth of the women’s professional game was highlighted by a more than 20 per cent increase in the number of transfers last year compared to 2022 – 1,888 compared to 1,571 according to the FIFA report.