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Football Clubs Break Records with $9.63 Billion International Transfer Spending in 2023

Football clubs worldwide shattered previous records by spending a remarkable $9.63 billion (8.88 billion euros) on international transfers in 2023, marking a 48.1 percent increase from the previous year, according to a FIFA report released on Tuesday. This spending surge surpassed the 2019 record by over $2 billion, signifying a significant rebound from the belt-tightening prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The top 10 player transfers in 2023 collectively represented over 10% of the total expenditure. Notable moves included Jude Bellingham to Real Madrid, Enzo Fernandez joining Chelsea, and Harry Kane signing with Bayern Munich.

English clubs, spearheaded by Chelsea, dominated the list, spending a combined $2.96 billion, three times more than their French counterparts, who secured the second spot. Saudi Arabian clubs entered the top five spenders for the first time, with a combined outlay of $970 million, notably acquiring Neymar, Sadio Mane, and Riyad Mahrez. Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema also moved to Saudi Arabia, albeit on free transfers.

The top five biggest-spending teams in 2023 were Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich.

In contrast, German clubs received the highest transfer fees, totaling almost $1.21 billion, boosted by significant sales like Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund and Randal Kolo Muani from Eintracht Frankfurt to PSG.

Portuguese clubs led in importing players with 1,017 incoming transfers, while Brazil topped the list in exports with a total of 1,217.

The FIFA report also highlighted substantial growth in the women’s football transfer market. In 2023, 623 women’s clubs participated in international transfers, up from 507 the previous year. The number of players moving across countries reached 1,888, surpassing the 1,571 recorded in 2022. This growth generated a record annual spending of $6.1 million, marking an 84.2 percent increase from the previous year.

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