June 24, 2024

Premier League clubs owe a combined £2billion in “buy now, pay later” deals as per a report from The Times [31 January], with West Ham alone owing £180.5million, according to Sean Whetstone. The West Ham news source shared via his X account on 6 February that the Hammers owe the sum to other clubs after recent transfer spending, with the staggered payments a feature of most recent transfers.

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Not only does this allow clubs to offset any potential Financial Fair Play and Profit and Sustainability issues by spacing out the payments, but it also helps with the structure of payments with the high prices being thrown around.

Premier League clubs owe silly money

While the figure owed by West Ham is certainly nothing out of the ordinary and isn’t anywhere near as high as some other Premier League clubs, their total debt in transfer payments totals roughly 9% of the money owed by PL sides.

The sum will be increased by deals for players like Mohamed Kudus (£38 million), James Ward-Prowse (£30 million), Edson Alvarez (£35.4), and TNT Sports (£38.3), all of whom were completed during the same transfer window.

It would be nearly impossible for teams to complete many agreements at those exorbitant rates without the flexibility to pay over a staggered period; a combined summer spend of £118 million [Transfermarkt] this season is difficult to pull off without being spaced out.

Chelsea, for example, have spent roughly £1billion since the takeover of Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital in May 2022, with their contracts famously amortised over long periods of up to eight years in some cases to help spread out those fees and avoid any FFP irregularity.

With the likes of Kudus and Ward-Prowse shining at the London Stadium this season, their arrivals would likely not have been possible without this type of transfer spend.

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