Premier League clubs spent over $341 million in agent fees over the last calendar year, according to the figures published by the FA Thursday morning. The spending is up from $277 million the year before.
According to reports over the past few days, the English governing body is looking to crack down on agent fees, looking to put a stop to “dual representation” that sees agents take cuts of a transfer from both the clubs and players involved. As the system currently stands, players fork over a portion of their new salary to agents as a fee for brokering the deal on their behalf, while clubs also shell out to agents a significant chunk of the transfer fee received.
The reports state that the FA is looking into implementing rules as soon as the summer transfer window that state an agent can only be paid by a player and not by a club, significantly reducing an agent’s haul. FIFA is reportedly looking into a less stringent rule that would cap the transfer fee percentage a club can pay an agent in any specific deal.
In its current construction, the system encourages agents to broker as many transfers as possible to earn more transfer fee cuts, rather than working for the players to earn them the highest salary possible. This often causes agents to push players towards transfers they may otherwise not have looked for. Should the FA ban Premier League clubs from paying agent fees, it could cause agents to steer their clients away from Premier League clubs towards other leagues that would continue to pay them hefty fees.
In the figures released by the FA, Liverpool spent the most on agent fees over the last calendar year, contributing $56.5 million, almost 17% of the total league figure. The Reds made Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson the most expensive shot-stopper in the world this past summer, also securing midfielders Naby Keita and Fabinho for big money.
Second was Chelsea who contributed $35.3 million to agents after Kepa Arrizabalaga broke the Alisson figure for most expensive goalkeeper while also capturing midfielder Jorginho from Napoli. Manchester City was third with $31.7 million spent on middle-men, spending big on Leicester City forward Riyad Mahrez.
Manchester United was fourth just a tick over $27 million, while Cardiff City came in last with just $3.6 million spent as they sit five points back of Premier League safety. Also notably, newly promoted Fulham managed to fork out just $10.8 million – 12th most in the league – despite a massive spending spree last summer that saw them spend over $100 million on players.