The Premier League has released its annual list of fees paid to authorised agents by clubs in the year leading up to the end of the most recent transfer deadline, with Liverpool and Manchester United leading the way. A total of £129.86m ($194.32m) was spent in total on representatives between 1 October 2014 and 30 September 2015, the aforementioned duo contributing £14,301,464 and £13,881,814 of that sum respectively.
Clarifying just who they regard as an agent, the league states: "The definition of an 'agent', as in rule A.1.9 of the Premier League Handbook, means 'any person who qualifies as an intermediary for the purposes of the FA regulations on working with intermediaries as they may be amended from time to time'."
In their final January window under the management of ex-Reds boss Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool did not make a single signing but instead strengthened considerably at the end of the 2014-15 season by acquiring the likes of Roberto Firmino, Nathaniel Clyne, Christian Benteke and Joe Gomez as well as moving to complete deals for free agents James Milner, Danny Ings and Adam Bogdan.
Rivals United, meanwhile, added goalkeeper Victor Valdes to their ranks over the winter and spent heavily during the summer to buy France international Anthony Martial in addition to Matteo Darmian and midfielders Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin.
Manchester City feature third on the list having paid £12,429,380 to agents, while Chelsea are next with £11,961,206. Arsenal round off the top five, although a figure of £11,928,584 – almost treble what they paid in 2014-15 – could be deemed as a little high by some given they only signed three players during the allotted time frame in Gabriel, Krystian Bielik and Petr Cech. However, it is well worth noting these fees can also apply to outgoing deals as well as scholars and new contracts.
At the other end of the scale, promoted Watford committed just £1,620,229. Fellow top-flight newcomers Bournemouth spent £2,328,862 and Norwich weighed in at £2,484,285. Meanwhile, Tottenham Hotspur almost halved their output from £10,983,011 to £5,987,052.