Southampton ranked 21st in the world when clubs were ordered based on their spending on transfer fees between 2011 and 2020.
This is via a recent report from FIFA as they published a report analysing international transfers during the past decade.
English clubs dominate the top 30 list given that Premier League clubs have seen a huge increase in income from TV rights deals that now dwarf similar deals from other European leagues.
It is also notable that all the clubs in the top 30 are from Europe in a report that also assesses the transfer actions of clubs from all countries worldwide.
Southampton’s spend is big but needs some context
Saints benefitted hugely from being part of the English top-flight for much of the past decade and became able to spend millions of pounds on players over night following their 2012 promotion.
Ranking 21st in the world between 2011 and 2020 is significant but the sales that the club made also need to be added into the equation.
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Via transfermarkt.com, Saints spent a total of £447.05m on incoming deals in the area covered by FIFA’s report. However, sales are said to have brought them in around £388.70m across the same period.
Their biggest spend in one window came in 2014/15 when they brought in players commanding a total outlay of £86.40m, but that came after the infamous summer sales that saw £111.45m worth of talent go out the door.
That big spend saw the club sign some players who paid off hugely and many of them will go down in club folklore because of their impact in a time of need. Some other costly signings have not paid off nearly as well though.
Importantly, the club’s two biggest signings – Danny Ings for £20m and Jannik Vestergaard for around £22m – did pay back their transfer fees based on their contributions and the fees they were eventually sold for.
Saints will continue to spend healthy sums on players but they have always been transparent with the fact that they will also sell players to fund their own growth as a club.