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FIFA reveal record international transfers made in summer window, but agents claimed 10% fees

Agents were the big winners of the summer transfer window as FIFA revealed a record number of international deals were struck with £4.35bn spent on fees… but intermediaries made a staggering £430m

  • FIFA has released a ‘snapshot’ of the summer transfer business
  • Record 9,717 players were on the move in the professional men’s game worldwide
  • Transfer market has recovered after Covid pandemic curtailed trade
  • Agents were among the winners of the window, claiming 10 percent of all compensation

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More international football transfers took place this summer than ever before, as a dazzling £4.35 billion changed hands, according to FIFA, with agents pocketing nearly 10 per cent of the total spend.

A record 9,717 players were on the move worldwide in the men’s professional game, with a further 417 new registrations pending, bringing the total well above 10,000 for the first time.

The number of international transfers was higher than the previous record of 2019, when 9,092 players switched clubs and there was also a record number of signings in the women’s game.

Manchester City spent £51million securing Erling Haaland's signature this summer

Manchester City spent £51million securing Erling Haaland’s signature this summer

And with so much traffic between clubs, intermediaries made a profit, claiming 9.9 per cent of the transfer fees paid, which amounts to a handy £430 million, compared to £371 million last year.

It was a particularly lucrative summer for agents. The fees they claimed during this transfer window were only slightly below the full-year figure in 2021, of £435 million, and will further fuel world governance’s desire to implement reforms in the transfer system.

The figures, which are included in FIFA’s International Transfer Snapshot Report, which spans the period from June 1 to September 1, show how ubiquitous agents have become, accounting for a 6.1 percent share of total spending a decade ago.

When it came to the number of transfers, UEFA countries led the way with more than 6,500 signatures.

The high transfer rate this summer was driven by a combination of clubs recovering from the Covid pandemic, which strained the transfer market, and the wealth of the Premier League, which saw record spending of nearly £2bn in the top flight.

West Ham's Lucas Paqueta was one of many players brought to England from French Ligue 1

West Ham's Lucas Paqueta was one of many players brought to England from French Ligue 1

West Ham’s Lucas Paqueta was one of many players brought to England from French Ligue 1

English clubs led the way in the number of players signed (422) and the fees paid to international players at £1.6 billion.

French, Italian, Spanish and German clubs together spent £1.7bn on cross-border signings.

The broadcasting deals signed by the Premier League at home and abroad are dwarfed by the other big four European leagues, giving English clubs an advantage in terms of paying fees, but also wages.

The report illustrates how many of Europe’s most talented players flock to the English shores.

France topped the world rankings as it made the most money from international transfers, while its clubs made £537 million during the summer transfer window.

Chelsea's Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibal was acquired from Napoli for £33million

Chelsea's Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibal was acquired from Napoli for £33million

Chelsea’s Senegalese defender Kalidou Koulibal was acquired from Napoli for £33million

The Transfermarkt website lists 19 Ligue 1 players who crossed the Channel this summer, with combined fees of over £200 million going the other way.

Compared to the Premier League, Ligue 1 clubs have seen their TV revenues plummet, leading to dire warnings that the division will become a second or third tier competition in Europe.

Among those who made the switch were centre-backs Sven Botman, who moved from Lille to Newcastle United for £33 million, and Wout Faes, who moved from Reims to Leicester City for £15 million; defensive midfielder Amadou Onana who left Reims for £31million for Everton and attacking midfielder Lucas Paqueta who went from Lyon to West Ham United for £38million.

International transfers of female professional players during the summer period also reached a new record with 684 transfers – 14.4% more than in the same period in 2021.

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