In Brief

Premier League football agents: honest brokers or greedy sharks?

Agents received £260m from the 20 EPL clubs from February 2018 to January 2019

Business is booming for football agents with Premier League clubs shelling out a staggering £260m to one of the world’s more maligned professions.

It’s rare to find anyone in the game who has a good word to say about the wheelers and dealers who once were called agents but now prefer the more respectable description of “representatives”.

Whatever one calls them, they’re handsomely rewarded for looking after the financial interests of the world’s top football stars, as BBC Sport reports.

Liverpool flying high in fee table

The £260m they received from the 20 Premier League clubs between 1 February 2018 and 31 January 2019 was a £49m increase on the previous year, despite spending on transfers “falling by more than £500m when compared with the previous season”.

Liverpool are top of the charts when it comes to recompensing agents, the Merseyside club paying out more than £43m in 12 months. Next are Chelsea with £26m in fees and Manchester City on £24m.

Of the other top-six clubs, Manchester United came in at £20.7m while Tottenham and Arsenal forked out a modest £11m.

Bemused

Nonetheless, reports The Sun, Tottenham fans are “bemused” at the figure given their outlay on new players in the last two transfer windows is £0.

But it turns out agents demand a big slice of the pay even when it comes to contract renewals, and with Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Erik Lamela, Davinson Sanchez and Son Heung-min all signing extensions in the last year Spurs have had to pay significant fees to agents.

In explaining the fact that Liverpool have paid £17m more than any other club, The Guardian says that the annual Football Association (FA) figures “do not amount to the total agents’ fees agreed on the deals done in these transfer windows [and] as most of the fees are paid in instalments, the figures add up to the actual money paid by the clubs during the year”.

That is why the Liverpool’s intermediary fees have nearly doubled in the past year despite spending only £18m more on new players in 2018-19 than they did in the 2017-18 season. 

Caps to control agents?

The FA doesn’t publish specific fees paid to each agent on any given deal but these latest exorbitant figures are expected to be discussed on Friday during the Premier League shareholders’ meeting in London.

According to the Guardian, clubs and The FA are “both wanting to introduce rules to stop agents being paid by both the club and the player in a single transfer”.

Fifa is also keen to bring some greater control and clarity to the system and the sport’s world governing body is considering changing the rules so that only a player can pay the agent, while also capping to 5% the cut of the contract the player then has to divvy up with their representative.

Premier League agent fees

Figures from 1 February 2018 to 31 January 2019.

  • Liverpool: £43,795,863 
  • Chelsea: £26,850,552 
  • Manchester City: £24,122,753 
  • Manchester United: £20,759,350 
  • Everton: £19,116,370 
  • West Ham United: £14,414,845 
  • Leicester City: £12,720,618 
  • Arsenal: £11,181,730 
  • Tottenham: £11,141,255 
  • Watford: £10,894,179 
  • Bournemouth: £10,295,433 
  • Newcastle United: £8,868,027 
  • Fulham: £8,234,360 
  • Crystal Palace: £6,976,425 
  • Brighton: £6,859,429 
  • Wolves: £6,479,714 
  • Southampton: £6,151,107 
  • Huddersfield: £5,023,807 
  • Burnley: £3,975,928 
  • Cardiff City: £2,802,375
  • Total spend: £260,664,118 (23.5% increase on the previous year)

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