Premier League clubs spent more money on defensive midfielders than any other position in the 2023/24 summer transfer window.
Spending hit record levels, with Premier League sides splashing more than $3 billion on transfer fees according to Transfermarkt.com.
And based on those figures, $610 million was spent on players whose most common position has been defensive midfield. That’s more than was spent on any other position on the pitch. It exceeded the position with the next highest total spending, attacking midfielders, by more than $100 million.
The spending on defensive midfielders was led by Arsenal’s signing of Declan Rice from West Ham United and Chelsea’s signings of Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia from Brighton and Hove Albion and Southampton, respectively.
Newcastle United, Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest also made a nominal defensive midfielder their biggest signing of the summer.
And Manchester United, who spent big on the position last summer to sign Casemiro, also strengthened their defensive midfield position this summer by loaning Moroccan international Sofyan Amrabat from Fiorentina with an option to buy.
The total spending on defensive midfielders this summer was more than twice the $295 million that Premier league clubs spent on the position in the summer of 2022. Before the start of 2022, none of the top fifteen most expensive Premier League signings of all time were defensive midfielders, now they make up three of the top four most expensive signings.
Premier League clubs spent the least on full-backs this summer, spending just $131 million on the position.
Spending on goalkeepers this summer reached $221 million, eclipsing the $61 million spent on the position last summer, with six goalkeepers this summer being bought for upwards of $18 million each.
In fact, the Premier League spending on goalkeepers this summer is greater than the total spending on players by the Portuguese or Belgian top tiers or England’s second tier, the Championship.
The Premier League’s total spending this summer is more than the next three biggest spending leagues combined. Clubs in France’s Ligue 1 spent the next most at $970 million, but almost all of this was covered by the $945 million received from player sales.
France’s spending could still be topped by Saudi Arabia, which has spent $933 million. The transfer window is still open in Saudi Arabia, so a single big-name signing such as Mohammed Salah would make the Saudi Pro League the second biggest spenders.
The Premier League’s income from player sales was roughly half of what clubs spent, giving it a net deficit of more than $1.4 billion.
Only Everton, West Ham, Wolves and Brighton spent less than they received on player transfers. Chelsea spent by far the most in the window, and while the Blues recouped more than anyone else in player sales, their net spend was still higher than other clubs.
Manchester United, Newcastle and Arsenal had the next highest net spends, followed by Bournemouth, who after a relatively quiet summer 2022 transfer window, followed up their heavy January spending with another big round of recruitment as they look to consolidate their Premier League status.
The Cherries were one of twelve Premier League sides this summer that spent more than $100 million on transfer fees, and one of seven sides with a net spend of more than $100 million.