• Brighton has the best net spend figure in the Premier League, making a significant profit through shrewd player acquisitions and sales.
  • Luton Town's low-budget approach to transfers reflects their need to refurbish their stadium, but its effectiveness in securing results remains to be seen.
  • Chelsea has the highest net spend in the Premier League over the past five seasons, highlighting their significant investment in players despite substantial sales.

The Premier League is the richest league in the world by some distance: across the summer 2023 transfer window alone, clubs have spent over £2 billion combined between them - a remarkable figure which includes the likes of Moises Caicedo, Declan Rice and Josko Gvardiol to name just three.

Spending appears to have increased hugely in the last year alone, particularly since Todd Boehly's consortium completed their takeover of Chelsea, but the numbers had been astronomical for many teams over the past few years regardless.

Of course, with huge incomings often come equivalent outgoings in order to finance such expenditure - yet this varies significantly among top-flight clubs in England, with some actually in profit whilst others languish in the red.

Here, we'll run through the rankings for every current Premier League team over the past five seasons, using figures from Transfermarkt, to find out which team has the largest net spend in that time.

20 Brighton: +£77 million

Brighton & Hove Albion's Evan Ferguson celebrates

This one will likely come as no surprise to anybody who has paid any attention to the transfer market over the course of the last few months, as the Seagulls have proven deft at acquiring obscure talent before selling on for massive profit. Most notable in that regard has been Moises Caicedo, who joined for only £4.5 million back in 2021 and now has left for an astonishing £115 million, representing profit of more than £100 million alone on the midfielder.

Read More: Brighton: Moises Caicedo and the nine other players Tony Bloom sold for at least £10m

Other names such as Ben White, Marc Cucurella and Alexis Mac Allister have all moved on for sizeable fees too, giving Brighton the best net spend figure in the Premier League and the only club to have a positive figure.

19 Luton Town: -£12 million

Luton Town's Tom Lockyer and teammates

As the Premier League's newest members, Luton have not had the chance to spend big this summer owing to the need to refurbish their home stadium, Kenilworth Road, and make it fit for top-flight standards. Instead, they have been looking for bargains ever since their play-off Promotion Final win in May, bringing in the likes of Ross Barkley and Tim Krul on free transfers. Their spending across the last five years has been relatively tempered as they worked their way back up the English football pyramid, though it remains to be seen whether their low-budget approach will keep them above the drop zone this season.

18 Everton: -£33 million

Everton's Colombian defender Yerry Mina celebrates with teammates
Getty Images

A stalwart of the Premier League, Everton have flirted with relegation on a number of occasions in recent seasons, even with a number of high-profile signings in that time, including Amadou Onana, Alex Iwobi and Abdoulaye Doucoure. Their net spend is brought down considerably by a few big money moves to fellow Premier League clubs (Richarlison to Spurs and Anthony Gordon to Newcastle to name just two), giving them a modest figure of -£33 million. Sean Dyche would no doubt want that figure to be a little higher (or lower, depending on which way you look at it), but it seems he'll have to make do with his current squad until January now.

17 Brentford: -£73 million

Brentford celebrate vs Manchester United.

While this might go against the reputation the Bees have for being one of the most financially shrewd clubs in the Premier League, the west London outfit are still an extremely well-run side. Thomas Frank's team have produced a number of high quality forwards which they have sold on for profit in the form of Ollie Watkins, Saïd Benrahma and Neal Maupay, whilst never splurging more than £25 million on one individual player. Their willingness to spend has naturally increased since being promoted in 2021, though not beyond rational expectations, and their data-driven approach looks to continue to stand them in good stead for the future.

16 Burnley: -£79 million

Burnley's Vincent Kompany celebrates

Although Burnley are another newly-promoted side like Luton, their spending is understandably larger given their presence in the Premier League for several years before suffering relegation in 2022. They recently broke their club transfer record by signing Zeki Amdouni from FC Basel for a little over £15 million, but such outlays will not cause too much concern on Lancashire given the balanced budget for the most part.

Funds have come in from departures such as Chris Wood (to Newcastle) and Nathan Collins (to Wolves), meaning the Clarets occupy a respectable 16th spot on this list.

15 Crystal Palace: -£103 million

Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson in deep thought

Next up come south London side Crystal Palace who, while never being hugely prolific in the transfer window, have had their fair share of ups and downs too. Marc Guehi from Chelsea has so far proven to be an excellent bit of business for the Eagles, as has Eberechi Eze, both of whom arrived for less than £20 million each. Equally, the sale of Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Man United for nearly £50 million greatly helped with balancing the books at Selhurst Park, putting them very much in mid-table of this order.

14 AFC Bournemouth: -£105 million

AFC Bournemouth's Dominic Solanke and teammates applaud fans

Continuing past the £100 million mark and it's a team that many may not expect to be such big spenders given the apparent lack of budget available to the Cherries with regard to stadium redevelopment. Down on the south coast it has been a busy window for new manager Andoni Iraola and his team, as nearly £110 million worth of talent has joined his squad, with only a little over £1 million in player sales. Of course, when taking into account previous seasons' sales of Nathan Ake, Tyrone Mings and Callum Wilson the figures aren't quite so bruising, but they do still represent a significant level of spending at the Vitality Stadium.

13 Fulham: -£109 million

Fulham's Joao Palhinha celebrates scoring against Arsenal
Action Images via Reuters

Another team that have been up and down between the Premier League and the Championship across the time period in question are Fulham, though their infamous 2018/19 window in which they spent over £100 million but were still relegated is just beyond the scope of this list. They have been more modest in their purchases since then, although big names have still arrived at Craven Cottage, including Calvin Bassey this summer for a fee of around £20 million. The one move bringing this number into slightly more reasonable territory is that of Aleksander Mitrovic moving to Saudi Arabia's Al-Hilal for £50 million, without which the Cottagers would be much further up this ranking.

12 Sheffield United: -£125 million

Sheffield United's George Baldock, William Osula and Jack Robinson

The Blades have endured a turbulent few years, bobbing up and down between the first and second tier, during which time they have made a few eyebrow-raising additions. Rhian Brewster's £22 million move from Liverpool has yet to become truly fruitful, and the £20 million spent on Cameron Archer is another bold gamble for someone just 21 years old. At the same time however, there have been some noteworthy sales, with Aaron Ramsdale the obvious pick of the bunch, but also Sander Berge and Iliman Ndiaye too.

11 Wolves: -£127 million

Wolves manager Gary O'Neil
Action Images via Reuters

It has been a complicated past few years for Wolves when it comes to transfers - they have spent a staggering £410 million during which time they have both competed in the Europa League but also been mindful of the drop in equal measure. FFP problems were apparently the cause of Julen Lopetegui's sudden departure on the eve of the opening weekend and now seem to be limiting the Midlands' side in the business they can conduct. Nevertheless, they did break their transfer record this summer with the purchase of Matheus Cunha for £43 million, so it seems their days of big spending are not over yet.

10 Nottingham Forest: -£188 million

Nottingham Forest manager Steve Cooper

Last summer Nottingham Forest went all out with their signings in an effort to ensure that they remained in the top-flight at the first time of asking, bringing in dozens of new players. In fact, nine of their 10 biggest arrivals have come in either this year's transfer window or the two last season, showing the extent of their spending over the past year alone. Sales have been much harder to come by though, with their most notable departure being that of Matty Cash to Aston Villa, meaning they do require more effort on the outgoings side to bring them down to a more sustainable level.

9 Liverpool: -£218 million

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp celebrates

Here's another big shock in this ranking - Liverpool only have the 9th biggest net spend in the Premier League, albeit still a very large figure of £218 million. Reds' fans have long complained that their owners have not been willing enough to invest funds into the club in order to back Jurgen Klopp and these figures appear to show they may have a point. That's not to say they haven't had major arrivals - Darwin Núñez's £70 million move has happened in this timeframe - but given the success on the pitch there is clear shortfall of incomings off of it.

8 West Ham: -£249 million

West Ham United manager David Moyes

The Hammers have not been afraid to splash the cash in recent windows, even after seeing multiple players disappoint following large initial transfer fees spent on them (see, for example, Sébastien Haller). Their position would actually be even higher if it weren't for a certain Declan Rice who departed the club after a long-winded saga, joining Arsenal for a monumental £105 million. David Moyes kept the team up last year and also brought home European silverware to East London, which will have appeased many fans, but with the level of money spent a more successful league campaign ought to be on the cards.

7 Aston Villa: -£313 million

Aston Villa manager Unai Emery

Unai Emery has rightfully been praised for the excellent work he has done since taking over from Steven Gerrard last November as he guided Villa to a seventh-placed finish. That has given them qualification for the Europa Conference League, but it has come at a cost - £313 million over the last five years, to be precise. Moussa Diaby has gone somewhat under the radar as a club-record signing for Aston Villa at over £50 million, and even with Jack Grealish's £100 million move two years ago it is still very much a negative net spend figure at Villa Park.

6 Manchester City: -£318 million

Manchester City's Rodri celebrates scoring their second goal with Ruben Dias

Now this is a shock. For all the jokes around how much Man City's team has cost to be assembled (and it is still a huge amount of money), it appears their level of spending is actually rather moderate when compared to rivals. That's not to say they don't spend big - being £318 million in the red is a surefire sign of that - but their player sales have helped make their net spend figure far more amenable. Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Ferran Torres have all left for upwards of £50 million each, meaning Pep Guardiola's team have recouped large sums in the midst of wild spending.

5 Newcastle: -£417 million

Anthony Gordon applauds newcastle fans

If someone had seen Newcastle this high on a spending list a few years ago they'd probably have thought it mad, but since the Saudi-backed takeover of the club in October 2021, the Magpies have been busy in the transfer market. Alexander Isak arrived to much fanfare for £60 million, whilst Sandro Tonali has had a similar reaction following his £58 million switch from AC Milan, adding to Newcastle's expenditure. There have been very few outgoings other than Allan Saint-Maximin's move to Saudi Arabia, which itself was only for £23 million, meaning there is now a huge gap to be filled in Newcastle's finances.

4 Tottenham: -£446 million

James Maddison in action for Tottenham Hotspur

Moving into the really big spenders now, and it's a club who have, ironically enough, been renowned for a lack of incomings and frugalness under the stewardship of Daniel Levy. The loss of one of their greatest ever players in Harry Kane this summer offsets some of the larger purchases in the past, such as Tanguy Ndombele and Richarlison, but there haven't been many other significant outgoings of late. In fact, there had been almost nothing in the way of funds coming into the club before Kane's move since the likes of Gareth Bale departed almost 10 years ago, going some way to explaining the large deficit Spurs now have.

3 Arsenal: -£553 million

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta

For a club that has been without Champions League football for some time, it is an impressive feat that Arsenal have continued to spend big despite the lack of prize money, but it seems with Mikel Arteta it could finally be coming together. Declan Rice is the obvious one to pick out given the transfer fee paid to West Ham, but Kai Havertz also joined for £65 million, adding onto the list of expenditures which also includes Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. In that time, the Gunners have not managed to sell a single player for a sum greater than £30 million, contributing to their huge net spend amount of £553 million.

2 Manchester United: -£602 million

Erik ten Hag pumps his fist to the crowd

Much like Liverpool, Man United have another fanbase that are not happy with their ownership setup, although based on these figures the sympathy for their supporters is likely to be much less than for those on Merseyside. Huge amounts have been spent in almost every window since 2019, since when there have been four different managers in charge of the team, adding to the sense of chaos at the club. The likes of Antony, Harry Maguire and Jadon Sancho have all had monumental fees paid for them, which many would say have not been worth the money, given the lack of success each have had individually at Old Trafford.

1 Chelsea: -£678 million

Chelsea co-owner Todd Boehly looking happy

It might not be a surprise, but it's still extraordinary to see just how much Chelsea have spent across the last five seasons when compared to the amount they have brought in. Todd Boehly's bi-annual spending spree has been in full flow again this summer, as the Blues broke the British transfer record for the second time in a year, paying out £115 million for Moises Caicedo after £105 million for Enzo Fernandez in January. Outgoings have been more substantial in this window, with over £200 million brought back in, but there is still a long way to go before Chelsea even come close to bringing their net spend figure down to a more reasonable size.