The £1.8bn raised from player sales funding Premier League’s Big Six spending

Times are tough for clubs around Europe due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their finances — but that does not apply to the Premier League’s ‘big-six’.

Clubs in France are desperately advertising their stars for sale following the collapse of a major TV deal. Even European heavyweights such as Real Madrid and Barcelona have been forced to take out loans to cope with huge losses.

But in the Premier League, the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea have been able to spend without too much concern over how it will affect their financial situation.

Chelsea splashed out £220million on new players in the summer of 2020, while Manchester City paid £100m to sign centre-backs Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake. Even Arsenal were able to capture £45m signing Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid.

Jadon Sancho joined Man Utd in a £73m deal from Borussia Dortmund


Getty Images)

Those levels of spending look set to increase in 2021, with Manchester United announcing the arrivals of Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane from Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid respectively for a cool £115m combined.

The Premier League’s lucrative £5bn TV deal with Sky goes some way to funding their recruitment. But these clubs must be credited for their work in the transfer market too, cashing in on star names for huge fees and taking in sizeable amounts for fringe players.

But which of the ‘big six’ have proved to be the shrewdest at bringing in transfer revenue? Mirror Football have run the numbers, calculating each club’s total income with every fee received since July 2016…

Includes confirmed transfers up to and including July 28, 2021. Fees relate to figures reported at the time of their announcements.

6. Manchester United — £181.2m

Romelu Lukaku was sold to Inter Milan for a reported £74m



The Red Devils flogged Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan for a record £74m fee two years ago which allowed them to sign Harry Maguire from Leicester City for a similar figure.

Aside from that, United have only sold one other player for £20m or more, with the exit of Morgan Schneiderlin four-and-a-half years ago.

But it is fair to say that given their overall revenues are comparable with Barcelona and Real Madrid, United are not quite as reliant on player sales to fund their transfer deals.

Man Utd sales since July 2016:

Will Keane — £1m (Hull City, July 2016)

Paddy McNair — £5.5m (Sunderland, August 2016)

Tyler Blackett — £1.5m (Reading, August 2016)

Morgan Schneiderlin – £20m ( Everton, January 2017)

Memphis Depay — £16m (Lyon, January 2017)

Adnan Januzaj — £9.8m (Real Sociedad, July 2017)

Daley Blind — £14m (Ajax, July 2018)

Sam Johnstone — £6.5m (West Brom, July 2018)

Marouane Fellaini — £10.5m (Shandong Luneng, January 2019)

Romelu Lukaku – £74m (Inter Milan, August 2019)

Matteo Darmian — £1.4m (Parma, July 2019)

Ashley Young — £1.5m (Inter Milan, January 2020)

Chris Smalling — £18m (AS Roma, October 2020)

Tim Fosu-Mensah — £1.5m (Bayer Leverkusen, January 2021)

5. Arsenal — £203.4m

Arsenal’s £35m sale of Alex Iwobi was the highest fee they have received over the last five years



Arsene Wenger’s abilities to bring in funds should never be underestimated and between the summers of 2017 and 2018, the Gunners raised £109m through player sales alone.

But since then, their transfer strategy has been called into question with Alex Iwobi’s £35m move to Everton the only large sale of note.

Emiliano Martinez’s departure may have raised £20m at the time, but the Argentine is arguably worth double that figure now. Still, Mikel Arteta could raise significant funds this summer if the club sell Joe Willock and Hector Bellerin.

Arsenal sales since July 2016:

Wellington Silva — £2.5m (Fluminense, July 2016)

Serge Gnabry — £5m (Werder Bremen, August 2016)

Wojciech Szczesny — £12m ( Juventus, July 2017)

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – £35m ( Liverpool, August 2017)

Gabriel Paulista — £11m (Valencia, August 2017)

Kieran Gibbs — £7m (West Brom, August 2017)

Theo Walcott – £20m (Everton, January 2018)

Olivier Giroud — £18m (Chelsea, January 2018)

Francis Coquelin — £12m (Valencia, January 2018)

Lucas Perez — £4m ( West Ham, August 2018)

Joel Campbell — £2m (Frosinone, August 2018)

Chuba Akpom — £900k (PAOK Salonika, August 2018)

David Ospina — £3m (Napoli, July 2019)

Alex Iwobi — £35m (Everton, August 2019)

Krystian Bielik — £10m (Derby, August 2019)

Laurent Koscielny — £4m (Bordeaux, August 2019)

Carl Jenkinson — £2m (Nottingham Forest, August 2019)

Emiliano Martinez – £20m (Aston Villa, September 2020)

4. Tottenham — £221m

Kyle Walker left Tottenham for £49m in 2017



For the majority of Mauricio Pochettino’s reign, he kept his Tottenham squad intact with only a few notable departures — Kyle Walker and Mousa Dembele — affecting their squad depth.

But bit-by-bit, Daniel Levy has been stripping the parts away from the Argentine’s squad that reached the 2019 Champions League final.

The fact they made a healthy profit on Kieran Trippier, Christian Eriksen and Juan Foyth underlines the Spurs chairman’s undeniable ability to negotiate deals on his terms.

Tottenham sales since July 2016:

Ryan Mason — £13m (Hull City, August 2016)

Nacer Chadli — £13m (West Brom, August 2016)

Alex Pritchard — £8m (Norwich City, August 2016)

DeAndre Yedlin — £5m ( Newcastle United, August 2016)

Tom Carroll — £4.5m (Swansea City, January 2017)

Nabil Bentaleb — £16m (Schalke, February 2017)

Kyle Walker – £49m (Manchester City, July 2017)

Clinton N’Jie — £8m (Marseille, July 2017)

Federico Fazio — £3m (AS Roma, July 2017)

Kevin Wimmer — £18m (Stoke City, August 2017)

Mousa Dembele — £11m (Guangzhou R&F, January 2019)

Kieran Trippier – £20m (Atletico Madrid, July 2019)

Vincent Janssen — £6m (Monterrey, July 2019)

Georges-Kevin Nkoudou — £4.5m (Besiktas, August 2019)

Christian Eriksen — £17m (Inter Milan, January 2020)

Juan Foyth — £13m (Villarreal, June 2021)

Toby Alderweireld — £12m (Al Duhail, July 2021)

3. Manchester City — £294.1m

Leroy Sane left Man City for Bayern Munich in July 2020

Money has never been a huge concern for Man City since Sheikh Mansour’s takeover in 2008 and his investment of nearly £1.5bn on signing the world’s best players proves that.

But in order to adhere to Financial Fair Play regulations, City have had to bring in revenue through their stadium and sales, which have been significant over the past five years.

In particular, their ability to source eight-figure fees for youngsters such as Brahim Diaz and Angelino, who were very much out of favour at the Etihad Stadium, suggests they have a good handle on their sales strategy.

Man City sales since July 2016:

Stevan Jovetic — £12m (Inter Milan, July 2016)

Florian Lejeune — £1m (Eibar, July 2016)

Geromino Rulli — £6m (Real Sociedad, August 2016)

Enes Unal — £13m (Villarreal, June 2017)

Aaron Mooy — £10m ( Huddersfield, June 2017)

Nolito — £8m (Sevilla, July 2017)

Aleksandar Kolarov — £4m (AS Roma, July 2017)

Ruben Sobrino — £2m (Alaves, July 2017)

Bruno Zuculini — £1m (Hellas Verona, July 2017)

Kelechi Iheanacho – £24m (Leicester City, August 2017)

Wilfried Bony — £12m (Swansea City, August 2017)

Fernando — £4.5m (Galatasaray, August 2017)

Samir Nasri — £3m (Antalyaspor, August 2017)

Pablo Maffeo — £8m (Stuttgart, June 2018)

Olarenwaju Kayode — £2m (Shakhtar Donetsk, June 2018)

Angus Gunn — £13.5m ( Southampton, July 2018)

Bersant Celina — £3m (Swansea City, July 2018)

Jason Denayer — £5.5m (Lyon, August 2018)

Joe Hart — £3.5m ( Burnley, August 2018)

Brahim Diaz — £15.5m (Real Madrid, January 2019)

Douglas Luiz — £15m (Aston Villa, July 2019)

Fabian Delph — £8.5m (Everton, July 2019)

Manu Garcia — £3.5m (Sporting Gijon, July 2019)

Pablo Mari — £1.3m (Flamengo, July 2019)

Danilo – £34.2m (Juventus, August 2019)

Leroy Sane – £40.9m (Bayern Munich, July 2020)

Jack Harrison — £12m (Leeds United, July 2020)

Tosin Adarabioyo — £2m ( Fulham, September 2020)

Angelino — £16m (RB Leipzig, February 2021)

Lukas Nmecha — £11m (Wolfsburg, July 2021)

2. Liverpool — £371.8m

Liverpool profited handsomely from the £142m sale of Philippe Coutinho



Those who questioned Liverpool’s decision to sell Philippe Coutinho in 2018 for a then-British record £142m fee now look very foolish.

While the Brazilian has struggled in Barcelona, the Reds used the proceeds to sign Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker, two signings who arguably revolutionised Jurgen Klopp’s defence.

They have raised significant amounts by selling off unwanted graduates from their academy — the £23m for Rhian Brewster is undoubtedly the highlight — and the Merseyside outfit look to be in a healthy state for years to come.

Liverpool sales since July 2016:

Jordon Ibe — £16m ( Bournemouth, July 2016)

Joe Allen — £13m (Stoke City, July 2016)

Martin Skrtel — £6m (Fenerbahce, July 2016)

Christian Benteke – £27m ( Crystal Palace, August 2016)

Luis Alberto — £4.3m (Lazio, August 2016)

Brad Smith — £4m (Bournemouth, August 2016)

Lucas Leiva — £5m (Lazio, July 2017)

Kevin Stewart — £4m (Hull City, July 2017)

Andre Wisdom — £2m (Derby County, July 2017)

Mamadou Sakho – £26m (Crystal Palace, August 2017)

Philippe Coutinho – £142m (Barcelona, January 2018)

Danny Ward — £12.5m (Leicester, July 2018)

Ragnar Klavan — £2m (Cagliari, August 2018)

Dominic Solanke — £17m (Bournemouth, January 2019)

Danny Ings – £20m (Southampton, July 2019)

Simon Mignolet — £6m (Club Brugge, August 2019)

Ryan Kent — £7m (Rangers, September 2019)

Dejan Lovren — £10m (Zenit St Petersburg, July 2020)

Ovie Ejaria — £3.5m (Reading, August 2020)

Rhian Brewster – £23.5m (Sheffield United, October 2020)

Taiwo Awoniyi — £6.5m (Union Berlin, June 2021)

Marko Grujic — £10.5m (FC Porto, July 2021)

Harry Wilson — £12m (Fulham, July 2021)

1. Chelsea — £576.4m

Eden Hazard was sold to Real Madrid for £130m – a British record sale

A lot can be said about Chelsea’s controversial loan system, but it is incredibly prosperous and a key fundraiser for the club during the coronavirus pandemic.

The strategy saw the club purchase young talent and stockpile them before selling on for an inflated fee over the last decade. In addition, graduates from their famous academy are now hot property amongst clubs in Europe.

That is reflected by the £20m spent by Crystal Palace to acquire Marc Guehi, who has never started a Premier League game for Chelsea.

But their ability to drive up the price for their star players, such as Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and Oscar, has benefitted them hugely in recent seasons.

Chelsea sales since July 2016:

Mohamed Salah — £15m (AS Roma, July 2016)

Papy Djilobodji — £8m (Sunderland, August 2016)

Stipe Perica — £4m (Udinese, August 2016)

Oscar — £60m (Shanghai SIPG, January 2017)

Patrick Bamford — £6m (Middlesbrough, January 2017)

Nathan Ake – £20m (Bournemouth, June 2017)

Asmir Begovic — £10m (Bournemouth, June 2017)

Bertrand Traore — £8.8m (Lyon, June 2017)

Christian Atsu — £6m (Newcastle United, June 2017)

Juan Cuadrado — £18m (Juventus, July 2017)

Nathaniel Chalobah — £7m (Watford, July 2017)

Nemanja Matic – £40m (Manchester United, August 2017)

Diego Costa – £57m (Atletico Madrid, January 2018)

Thibaut Courtois — £35m (Real Madrid, August 2018)

Cesc Fabregas — £8m (AS Monaco, January 2019)

Eden Hazard – £130m (Real Madrid, June 2019)

Ola Aina — £8.8m (Torino, June 2019)

Tomas Kalas — £8.1m (Bristol City, July 2019)

Alvaro Morata – £58m (Atletico Madrid, July 2019)

Michael Hector — £5m (Fulham, July 2019)

Kenneth Omeruo — £4m (Leganes, July 2019)

David Luiz — £8m (Arsenal, August 2019)

Mario Pasalic — £13m (Atalanta, July 2020)

Nathan — £3m (Atletico Paranaense, July 2020)

Victor Moses— £4.5m (Spartak Moscow, June 2021)

Fikayo Tomori — £25m (AC Milan, June 2021)

Olivier Giroud — £1.5m (AC Milan, July 2021)

Marc Guehi – £20m (Crystal Palace, July 2021)

Lewis Bate — £1.5m (Leeds United, July 2021)

Myles Peart-Harris — £1.3m (Brentford, July 2021)

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