Football transfer fees leap from £30m to £225m


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Fernando Torres Celebrates a goal for Liverpool

Feeling blue: Fernando Torres is off to Chelsea for £50m

Premier League clubs appear to have shaken off the recession and any notion of the age of austerity by spending a whopping £225m in the January transfer window.

The figure is up more than seven-fold from last year and towers above the previous record of £175m in January 2008, according to analysis by the business advisory firm Deloitte.

The company's Sports Business Group arm said it was 'surprised' that more than £200m spent despite Premier League clubs pulling in record revenues in 2010 but added that it was mostly down to spending by just four clubs.

Dan Jones, a sports specialist, explained: 'When you scratch beneath the surface you find that around 80% of the total spending of £225m is concentrated across only four clubs (Chelsea, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Manchester City) and spread across only six players.

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'So this was a particularly polarised window, with only a few clubs flexing their financial muscles, on what was a deafening final day of an otherwise quiet window.'

Jones said that for most clubs, the combination of tight credit and reduced profits had put the brakes on spending. But English clubs sitll outspent the top divisions of France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Deloitte also estimated that £115m or 51% of the total went to other Premier League clubs while £105m 47% went abroad and just 2% or £5m went to Football League clubs.

One of this year's most controversial transfers was Andy Carroll. The 22-year-old has a string of court appearances and late-night drunken bust-ups behind him, is to move from Newcastle to Liverpool for £35m, making him the most expensive British player in history. The record was previously held by Rio Ferdinand, sold for £29m in in 2002.

His salary is estimated at £80,000 a week, up from £28,000 a week at Newcastle.

Another record was set - the highest fee for a transfer between two English clubs - when Chelsea paid £50m to Liverpool for Fernando Torres.

Liverpool also confirmed a £23m deal for Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez.