Liverpool’s net spend of £346m since Jurgen Klopp arrived in 2015 shines a light on the German as he prepares to leave this summer… but how do their big six rivals compare




Jurgen Klopp’s time at Liverpool is ticking down as he prepares to end nine years at Anfield this summer. Despite a disappointing end to his Merseyside reign, the German can still be pretty proud of what he’s achieved. 

The Reds claimed the Carabao Cup in February after beating Chelsea in the final, sparking hopes it would result in a trophy spree to end Klopp’s spell with an unprecedented quadruple.

However, Liverpool have fallen away in the title race and look destined to lose out on the Premier League crown to either Man City or Arsenal. 

They went out of the FA Cup to Man United and were dumped out of the Europa League by Serie A side Atalanta – swiftly ending those lofty ambitions. But after bringing seven trophies to Anfield with a modest net spend after taking over in 2015, Klopp should have no regrets.

Mail Sport has assessed how Liverpool’s net spend compares to their other ‘big six’ rivals across the same time frame.

Jurgen Klopp leaves Liverpool this summer after garnering a net spend of £346m during his time in charge at Anfield
Klopp will depart with a Carabao Cup winners’ medal in his final campaign with the Reds

 

LIVERPOOL

MAJOR BUYS

Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton, £35m, 2023 

Sadio Mane from Southampton, £36m, 2016

Mohamed Salah from Roma, £43m, 2017

Alisson from Roma, £55m, 2018 

Dominik Szoboszlai, £60m, 2023  

Darwin Nunez from Benfica, 64m, 2022 

Virgil van Dijk from Southampton, £75m, 2018 

MAJOR OUTGOINGS

Dominic Solanke to Bournemouth, £19m, 2019 

Rhian Brewster to Sheffield United, £23.5m, 2020 

Mamadou Sakho to Crystal Palace, £24m, 2017 

Christian Benteke to Crystal Palace, £27m, 2016 

Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich, £27.5m, 2022 

Fabinho to Al-Ittihad, £40m, 2023 

Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona, £105m 

NET SPEND SINCE 2015: £346m

TROPHIES WON: Eight

Liverpool have kept their business smart during the Klopp era – pleasing fans by laying out on some big names, but the important thing is that the majority of those names have delivered. 

A net spend of £346m is the best of their big six rivals, and although they haven’t won as many trophies as Man City since Klopp arrived, they have probably done the best business and kept their costs low, while still winning a string of silverware. 

And at the time of a lot of the deals, not all of them were the household names they are today when they joined. Mohamed Salah was a rising star at Roma before his £43m move from Roma, before he turned himself into a powerhouse at Liverpool. The same goes for Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk. 

Of course there’s been some misfires along the way – looking at you Darwin Nunez and Naby Keita – but a majority of the time their business has beared fruit, such as the £55m outlay on Alisson in 2018 that guaranteed them a world class goalkeeper. 

Those purchases laid the groundwork for building a team of world-beaters that would go on to win the Champions League in 2019 and the Premier League the following year – which was the 2019-20 campaign that saw them spend just £10m and raise nearly £40m.

Outgoings have helped Liverpool a lot in terms of net spend. Barcelona paid £105m for Philippe Coutinho in 2018 and two years later they offloaded academy prospect Rhian Brewster for pure profit after Sheffield United bought him for £23.5m. 

Similar outgoings have come from selling Jordan Ibe to Bournemouth for £15m in 2016 when the club bought him for next to nothing in 2012 – and they raked in £19m selling Dominic Solanke to Bournemouth in 2019, having signed him for free in 2017.  

They also managed to flog Fabinho to Al-Ittihad for £40m, as well as selling an ageing Jordan Henderson to Al-Ettifaq for £12m.

Liverpool have managed to win eight trophies after spending big in the transfer market – with a majority of their deals paying off since Klopp took charge

 

MANCHESTER CITY

MAJOR BUYS 

Bernardo Silva from Monaco, £43m, 2017 

Kyle Walker from Tottenham, £50m, 2017

Aymeric Laporte from Athletic Bilbao, £57m, 2017 

Rodri from Atletico Madrid, £62m, 2019 

Josko Gvardiol from RB Leipzig, £77m, 2023 

Jack Grealish from Aston Villa, £100m, 2021 

 

MAJOR OUTGOINGS 

Kelechi Iheanacho to Leicester, £25m, 2017 

Oleksandr Zinchenko to Arsenal, £30m, 2022 

Cole Palmer to Chelsea, £42m, 2023 

Gabriel Jesus to Arsenal, £45m, 2022 

Raheem Sterling to Chelsea, £47m, 2022 

Ferran Torres to Barcelona, £55m, 2022 

NET SPEND SINCE 2015: £630m

TROPHIES WON: 17

Man City’s net spend across this period is almost surprising given the vast amount of money they’ve splashed out to build a title winning and Europe-conquering team. 

Guardiola wasn’t at City yet when Klopp first joined Liverpool midway through the 2015-16 season, but he added to the League Cup won by predecessor Manuel Pellegrini in his final season in charge by bringing a total of 16 trophies to the Etihad and counting.

He’s done that – including winning four Premier League titles and the fabled Champions League crown that made up the Treble last season – after being backed with a mammoth outlay on some star players like Rodri (£60m) from Atletico Madrid. The Spaniard ending up being worth every penny after becoming integral to their domination of world football.

Ilkay Gundogan (£20m) and Erling Haaland (£50m), meanwhile, arrived for relative bargain prices from Borussia Dortmund and the £43m and £50m spent on Bernardo Silva and Kyle Walker respectively has been incredible business too. 

Fans might question Jack Grealish’s £100m price tag after he joined in 2021 to mixed reviews, while the jury is certainly still out on £77m Josko Gvardiol. 

The club – who could being given crippling punishments from the Premier League guilty after facing 115 charges over breaching financial rules – have balanced things out by selling a number of both youngsters and other stars for a hefty profit. 

Their sales have perhaps gone under the radar, dwarfed by the big money deals City are known for – but the club have done some great outgoing business, especially in the last two years.

Last season they generated nearly £80m from Arsenal alone after they bought £30m Oleksandr Zinchenko and £45m Gabriel Jesus, both of whom were not first choice in their position. In the same year they offloaded Raheem Sterling to Chelsea for £47m, more or less the same as they paid to sign him from Liverpool in 2015.

And this season the Blues came back again for Cole Palmer, handing City another £42million to put in the piggy bank. 

Man City’s net spend is slightly higher at £630m – after bringing in stars like Erling Haaland and Rodri – winning 17 trophies along the way
Pep Guardiola’s side have sold their unwanted stars for big money to balance the books

 

ARSENAL

MAJOR BUYS 

Gabriel Jesus from Man City, £45m, 2022  

Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon, £46m, 2017

Ben White from Brighton, £50m, 2021

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Dortmund, £56m, 2018 

Kai Havertz from Chelsea, £65m, 2023 

Nicolas Pepe from Lille, £72m, 2019

Declan Rice from West Ham, £105m, 2023 

MAJOR OUTGOINGS 

Theo Walcott to Everton, £20m, 2018 

Granit Xhaka to Bayer Leverkusen, £22m, 2023 

Joe Willock to Newcastle, £25m, 2021 

Alex Iwobi to Everton, £34m, 2019 

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool, £35m, 2017 

Folarin Balogun to Monaco, £35m, 2023 

NET SPEND: £702m

TROPHIES WON: 6

There was a time when Arsenal fans would question the direction of the club in terms of transfers, but it is starting to look like things are falling into place under the guidance of sporting director Edu and manager Mikel Arteta. 

Arsenal have been title contenders in back-to-back season and slowly but surely have built a team more than capable of challenging the goliath that is Manchester City for honours. 

The Gunners have often found a way to reap success even in the worst of times after winning the FA Cup twice since Klopp’s appointment in 2015-16, as well as three Community Shield titles. 

Arteta will still be hopeful his side can derail City to win their first title since 2003-04 at the end of the season, but long-term his now team are equipped for regular challenges thanks to some solid investments.

They haven’t always got it right historically. Fans will not be fond of remembering how they sold Serge Gnabry to Werder Bremen for £5m in 2016 – with the winger now a star at Bayern Munich.

They’ll also wonder how they let Alexis Sanchez join Man United for free, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan coming the other way.

A £27m deal for Lucas Torreira also proved to be a flop, while the £22m spent on Leverkusen keeper Bernd Leno failed to pay off too – and the less said about the £72m splashed on Lille’s Nicolas Pepe in 2019, the better after he struggled to repay that huge fee.

Business has been much more positive in recent seasons after spending £50m on Ben White, who has become one of Arteta’s best defenders, and £30m on Real Madrid playmaker Martin Odegaard – with the Norwegian one of the bright lights in the team, pulling the strings and proving to be the difference.

Mikel Arteta is slowly building a team that can challenge for titles at Arsenal
Shrewd work has seen him bring in the likes of Martin Odegaard and Declan Rice
Arsenal cashed in on some of their academy stars, including Alex Iwobi, who joined Everton for £34m in 2019

This year Arsenal really loosened the purse-strings by bringing in Declan Rice for £105m, with the midfielder becoming pivotal for Arteta and crucial in the title race, while the £65m acquisition of Kai Havertz looked like a flop at first – before the German went on to score 13 goals in all competitions. 

The Gunners have always had good business sense and have made decent money from a lot of players who weren’t first team regulars – including academy stars who cost them nothing. 

In 2017, Liverpool paid £35m for injury-prone midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Everton took Theo Walcott and Alex Iwobi off their hands for £20m in 2018 and £34m in 2019. 

Meanwhile, in 2021 Newcastle paid around £25m for academy star Joe Willock while another prospect in Folarin Balogun went to Monaco for £35m last summer.

 

TOTTENHAM

MAJOR BUYS 

Pedro Porro from Sporting Lisbon, £34m, 2023 

James Maddison from Leicester City, £40m, 2023 

Davinson Sanchez from Ajax, £42m, 2017

Cristian Romero from Atalanta, £42.5m, 2022 

Mickey van de Ven from Wolfsburg, £43m, 2023 

Richarlison from Everton, £52m, 2022 

Tanguy Ndombele from lyon, £55m, 2019

MAJOR OUTGOINGS 

Christian Eriksen to Inter Milan, £17m, 2020 

Kieran Trippier to Atletico Madrid, £20m, 2019 

Steven Bergwijn to Ajax, £26m, 2022 

Kyle Walker to Manchester City, £50m, 2017 

Harry Kane to Bayern Munich, £100m, 2023 

NET SPEND: £570m

TROPHIES WON: 0

Tottenham’s transfer history is filled with hits and misses – usually far more misses than hits – but since 2015-16 there has been some good business despite the gripes with chairman Daniel Levy from Tottenham fans. 

Spurs haven’t spent anywhere near as much as their rivals and infamously went a whole season in 2018-19 without spending a penny. A net spend of £570m will be seen as a win within the club, but of course, a lack of silverware. 

There’s been a lot of resentment towards the club from the fanbase about their inability to loosen the purse-strings – given their record buy was £55m flop Tanguy Ndombele, who looks a shadow of the player they signed from Lyon in 2019 and is now struggling to get in the team on loan at Galatasaray. 

Similarly, the £42m they paid Ajax for defender Davinson Sanchez failed to pay off either after six seasons in north London, with the Colombian centre-back also on the books of the Turkish club. 

Last season things hardly got better with big money deals after laying out £52m on Everton forward Richarlison, only to see him score one Premier League goal over the course of the 2022-23 campaign. The Brazilian has improved in this campaign – scoring 12 times in total – but still represents poor business at such a high price.

Tanguy Ndombele – a £55m signing – is one of the worst deals in Tottenham’s history
Richarlison, who came in for £52m, has been another misfire
The club did manage to bring in £100m by selling Harry Kane to Bayern Munich, with the player costing nothing

Since Ange Postecoglou arrived, the deals have looked more promising. Defender Mickey van de Ven arrived for £43m and has looked solid despite difficult times at the back. 

Left-back Destiny Udogie has looked like one of the most promising in his position in the league and only cost £15m from Udinese, and while he has suffered an up and down season, James Maddison appears to be a good signing long term at £40m.

Outgoings haven’t been enormous either for Spurs, who have always prided themselves on being a smart business club while juggling repayments for their new £1bn stadium. They cashed in on Kyle Walker for £50m in 2017 after Man City came calling, while the club did well to recoup nearly the full £27m they spent on Steven Bergwijn after selling him to Ajax in 2022. 

Losing Harry Kane was a body blow for the club’s aspirations but the £100m they received for their talisman is sure to show up healthily on their financial records – having brought the player through their academy for nothing.

 

CHELSEA

MAJOR BUYS 

Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid, £58m, 2017 

Marc Cucurella from Brighton, £60m, 2022 

Mykhailo Mudryk from Shakhtar Donestsk, £62m, 2022 

Kepa Arrizabalaga from Athletic Bilbao, £72m, 2018 

Kai Havertz from Bayer Leverkusen, £72m, 2020 

Wesley Fofana from Leicester, £75m, 2022 

Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan, £97m, 2021

Moises Caicedo from Brighton, £100m, 2023 

Enzo Fernandez from Benfica £105m, 2022

 

MAJOR OUTGOINGS 

Kurt Zouma to West Ham, £31m, 2021 

Thibaut Courtois to Real Madrid, £32m, 2018 

Tammy Abraham to Roma, £36m, 2021

Nemanja Matic to Man United, £40m, 2017 

Diego Costa to Atletico Madrid, £50m, 2018 

Mason Mount to Man United, £55m, 2023 

Oscar to Shanghai Shenhua, £60m, 2016 

Kai Havertz to Arsenal, £65m, 2023 

Eden Hazard to Real Madrid, £150m 

NET SPEND: £1bn 

TROPHIES WON: 6 

Where to start with Chelsea? 

There’s a lot to take in, a lot of deals to digest – both coming and going – but let’s start with the end result – which is a net spend of £1bn. 

Todd Boehly has only been Chelsea owner for two seasons but has already splashed out more than £1bn and has been left with an inexperienced squad that’s rough around the edges and lacking the leadership and quality to win silverware.

He’s spent more than £100m each on Moises Caicedo and Enzo Fernandez – who have underperformed to the extreme, £62m on Mykhailo Mudryk, who is struggling for confidence and more than £50m each on Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia – who have been injured all season. 

The season before he splurged £47m on Raheem Sterling, £60m on Marc Cucurella and £75m on Wesley Fofana – with a total of 15 players arriving. While Boehly might be building for the future, no trophies have arrived in either of his two seasons. 

In the seasons prior, the club were much more successful under previous owner Roman Abramovich and sporting director Marina Granovskaia – who partnered to pull off deals like N’Golo Kante’s move from Leicester for £32m in 2016, Antonio Rudiger for £30m in 2017 and Napoli’s Jorginho for £51m.

Chelsea have spent more than £1bn on players who are yet to produce since Todd Boehly took over the club – including Moises Caicedo
Enzo Fernandez is another player who came in for an eye-watering price
The Blues raked in £150m when they sold Eden Hazard to Real Madrid in 2019

However, despite their success on the pitch – during a spell that saw them win the Premier League in 2016-17, the FA Cup the following year and the Europa League the year after that – there have been a string of misfires in the market. 

The £58m spent on Alvara Morata in 2017 was a disaster deal while in the same window Danny Drinkwater arrived for £35m before playing 23 times in just five seasons. 

There were more fumbles in the market the following year as the club spent £72m on goalkeeper Kepa, before more misfires of Hakim Ziyech (36m), Timo Werner (£50m) and Kai Havertz (£72m) in 2020-21.

The final player to come in under the leadership of Abramovich was Romelu Lukaku for £97m – a deal which perhaps sums up Chelsea’s transfer business on the whole.

Chelsea have managed to balance the books by offloading a string of academy graduates like Fiyako Tomori to AC Milan, Tammy Abraham to Roma, Marc Guehi to Crystal Palace, Nathan Ake to Bournemouth and there have been some big outgoings too – not to mention Eden Hazard leaving for Real Madrid for £150m in 2019.

 

MANCHESTER UNITED

MAJOR BUYS 

Casemiro from Real Madrid, £70m, 2022 

Rasmus Hojlund from Atalanta, £72m, 2023

Jadon Sancho from Dortmund, £73m, 2021 

Romelu Lukaku from Everton, £75m, 2017 

Harry Maguire from Leicester, £80m, 2019 

Antony from Ajax, £85m, 2022 

Paul Pogba from Juventus, £89m, 2016 

MAJOR OUTGOINGS 

Daley Blind to Ajax, £14m, 2018 

Dean Henderson to Crystal Palace, £15m, 2023 

Anthony Elanga to Nottingham Forest, £15m, 2023 

Chris Smalling to Roma, £18m, 2020 

Morgan Schneiderlin to Everton, £24m, 2017 

Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan, £74m, 2019 

Man United’s transfer business has been very Jekyll & Hyde over the last decade – some good deals, some terrible. 

Just like Chelsea, their net spend clocks in at £1bn and even their own former CEO has previously admitted they ‘burned through cash’ after making a series of ill-advised transfers.

Since Sir Alex Ferguson left, supporters have been up in arms over transfer misfires – embodied by the disastrous £60m deal for Angel Di Maria in 2014 that was ended after just one year.

But the deals haven’t got much better since as they ramped up the spending from the following season onwards – when Klopp joined Liverpool – breaking the transfer record at the time to bring Paul Pogba back to the club from Juventus for £89m in 2016, and it’s safe to say he did not repay that fee during his six seasons.

The year after Lukaku – another flop – arrived from Everton for £75m before leaving two seasons later, an after a quiet 2018, Harry Maguire was brought in for £80m in the summer of 2019. Ask most fans and they’ll tell you he was not worth the money.

But one player who has been worth every penny is Bruno Fernandes, who cost £68m and has been one of United’s talismen with 79 goals from 230 games. 

However, they also splashed out £40m on the underwhelming Donny van de Beek and £73m for Jadon Sancho – the winger who struggled to settle and fell out with Erik ten Hag – the season after. The club spent £12m to bring back Cristiano Ronaldo the same year, and although his arrival would have driven up shirt sales, his divisive presence caused more problems than it solved. 

Last season saw a further £85m spent on winger Antony and £70m on Casemiro, who has produced some flat displays of late. And in the summer just gone, £72m was paid for striker Rasmus Hojlund and £47m for goalkeeper Andre Onana, who has had huge critics this season.

Man United’s net worth comes in at £1bn since 2015-16 after splashing out on big-money deals for the likes of Paul Pogba, who cost £89m
United also spent £85m on Antony
United managed to break even on the £75m they spent on Romelu Lukaku after selling him to Inter Milan in 2019
Bruno Fernandes has been a rare big-money transfer that has paid off after his £68m arrival in 2020

So on the whole, United’s business has been largely unsuccessful, despite four trophies coming in that period since 2015-16, though given the sheer amount of money spent, many fans and pundits would have expected more – with no Premier League title since 2012-13.

There have been lots of outgoing to even things out, but not nearly enough to lower their net spend. United somehow broke even on Lukaku despite him struggling to sparkle at Old Trafford as Inter Milan paid £74m in 2019, while Chris Smalling went to Roma for £18m the following year.

Last season they cashed in on Dean Henderson and Anthony Elanga – earning £15m each from their respective moves to Crystal Palace and Nottingham Forest – but on the whole the club haven’t made nearly enough money compared to what they’ve spent. 

Too many ageing stars – like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Alexis Sanchez, Nemanja Matic, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Edinson Cavani and Juan Mata – were brought in before releasing them for free, which has contributed to their eye-watering figure.



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