Premier League • England

How the transfer net spend at Liverpool compares with their Premier League rivals in the last five years

Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk, Jurgen Klopp and Darwin Nunez alongside Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho. TEAMtalk montage.

After watching their team struggle on the pitch in 2022/23, Liverpool fans have been highly critical of Fenway Sports Group (FSG) and their lack of investment.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have exceeded expectations in recent years, winning the Premier League, an FA Cup, the EFL Cup, a Champions League title, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup.

But Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, who are bankrolled by the riches of Abu Dhabi, have won four of the last five Premier League titles.

“Oh, you will not like the answer, and you all have the answer already,” Klopp said recently when asked what Liverpool need to do to keep pace with City. “Nobody can compete with City in that.

“You have the best team in the world and you put in the best striker on the market, no matter what it costs, you just do it. I know City will not like it, nobody will like it, you’ve asked the question, but you know the answer. What does Liverpool do? We cannot act like them. It is not possible.”

A lack of investment has begun to catch up with Liverpool this season and they now face a battle to finish in the Champions League places.

FSG have put the Reds on the market but recent reports suggest they are considering a partial sale of Liverpool rather than a full takeover of the club.

Courtesy of Transfermarkt, we’ve looked at the net spend of each of the Premier League ‘big six’ since the start of 2018 to see how the clubs compare.


Liverpool – €109.43m
Manchester City – €99.59m
Arsenal – €80.9m
Chelsea – €71.7m
Manchester United – €59.35m
Tottenham – €28.4m

Liverpool were the biggest spenders in 2018 and they signed Virgil van Dijk, Alisson Becker, Naby Keita, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri

But some of those signings were funded by the departure of Philippe Coutinho, who joined Barcelona in January 2018 in a deal worth a reported €135m.

Tottenham weren’t very active in the transfer market in 2018 as Lucas Moura was their only first-team signing and they didn’t sell anyone either.


Arsenal – €101.65m
Manchester City – €80.92m
Tottenham – €73.15m
Manchester United – €73.12m
Chelsea – €62.5m profit
Liverpool – €63.8m profit

Arsenal came out on top in 2019 after breaking their transfer record to sign Nicolas Pepe while also adding William Saliba, Gabriel Martinelli, Kieran Tierney and David Luiz to their squad.

Liverpool spent just €1.9m on new signings in 2019 as they welcomed Sepp van den Berg from PEC Zwolle and the Reds also sold Danny Ings, Dominic Solanke, Simon Mignolet and Ryan Kent.

The Reds still won three major trophies in 2019 and also went on to lift the Premier League at the end of the 2019/20 season.


Chelsea – €184.58m
Manchester United – €120.3m
Tottenham – €102.7m
Manchester City – €101.4m
Arsenal – €72.85m
Liverpool – €71m

While some football clubs struggled financially following the outbreak of the pandemic, the Premier League big six continued to make big-money signings.

After having a transfer ban in the summer of 2019, Chelsea really splashed the cash in 2020 and bought Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Ben Chilwell and Edouard Mendy.

Liverpool had the lowest net spend from the ‘big six’ in 2020 but they still added Takumi Minamini, Diogo Jota, Thiago Alcantara and Konstantinos Tsimikas to their squad.

Liverpool star Diogo Jota


Arsenal – €136.7m
Manchester United – €128.6m
Manchester City – €84.7m
Tottenham – €34.2m
Liverpool – €14.8m
Chelsea – €7.2m profit

Arsenal had a net spend of over €130m in 2021 after Mikel Arteta decided to sign Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale, Martin Odegaard, Nuno Tavares, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Takehiro Tomiyasu.

Liverpool brought in three centre-backs in 2022, signing Ibrahima Konate and Ben Davies on permanent deals while also paying a €2.5m loan fee for Ozan Kabak. They then brought their net spend down by offloading Harry Wilson, Xherdan Shaqiri and Taiwo Awoniyi.

Despite spending a reported €113m on Romelu Lukaku, Chelsea still made an overall profit in 2021 as they sold six players and also received loan fees for Fikayo Tomori, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Emerson, Kenedy and Michy Batshuayi.


Manchester United – €226.47m
Chelsea – €225.46m
Tottenham – €158.23m
Arsenal – €109.56m
Liverpool – €61.6m
Manchester City – €54m profit

After taking over at United in the summer of 2022, Erik ten Hag was given over €200m to spend and he welcomed Tyrell Malacia, Lisandro Martinez, Casemiro and Antony to Old Trafford.

Liverpool made two big-money signings in Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez during 2022 but Sadio Mane’s move to Bayern Munich helped them recoup some money and bring their net spend down.

Despite adding Julian Alvarez, Erling Haaland, Kalvin Phillips, Manuel Akanji and Sergio Gomez to their squad, Manchester City still made a profit in 2022 as they sold the likes of Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Pedro Porro.


Chelsea – €318.2m
Arsenal – €60.3m
Liverpool – €42m
Manchester City – €11m
Tottenham – €8m
Manchester United – €2.96m

Chelsea manager Graham Potter went on a lavish spending spree in the January window and it left Jurgen Klopp feeling baffled.

The Blues secured deals for Gabriel Slonina, Andrey Santos, David Datro Fofana, Benoit Badiashile, Joao Felix, Noni Madueke, Mykhaylo Mudrk, Malo Gusto and then broke the British transfer record to sign Enzo Fernandez on deadline day.

Liverpool were able to make one first-team signing in January 2023, buying Cody Gakpo from PSV Eindhoven in a €42m deal.

With the Glazers looking to sell Manchester United in 2023, Ten Hag didn’t have a big transfer budget in January and their only signings were loan deals.

Total net spend:

Chelsea – €730.24m
Manchester United – €610.8m
Arsenal – €561.96m
Tottenham – €404.68m
Manchester City – €323.61m
Liverpool – €235.03m

Despite making a profit on transfers in both 2019 and 2021, Chelsea unsurprisingly came out on top following their recent spending spree.

But Manchester United, who are looking to win their first trophy since their Europa League final victory in 2017, aren’t far behind.

Arsenal have spent over €150m more than north London rivals Tottenham but the Gunners are beginning to get a good return on their investments.

While Manchester City have spent a lot of money on new signings in the last five years, they’re fifth on this list due to their ability to sell players for more than their value.

Liverpool’s owners run the club on a self-sustaining business model but they find themselves at the bottom of the list and it’s easy to see why their fans are so frustrated.

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