Top clubs have varied record in transfer market
Top Premier League clubs have had a varied record in making profits in the transfer market over the past decade. Tottenham Hotspur made a profit on player sales of £287m, but £104m of that came in the 2013-14 season when they sold Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for £85m.
Chelsea are just behind them on £275.7m and in many ways they have been the smartest operators in the market. They have been able to comply with Uefa's financial fair play rules and their policy of sending dozens of players out on loan has paid off.
Roman Abramovich has invested more than £1 billion in the club since he took over in 2003 but they have picked up considerable income from selling both established players such as David Luiz and those they have sent out on loan. For example, Patrick Bamford was bought from Nottingham Forest for £1.5m and sold last week to Middlesbrough for about £6m. He never played a game for Chelsea.
In the case of David Luiz he was sold to Paris Saint-Germain for £50m in 2014. As three quarters of his original transfer fee had been amortised (written off) by the club, Chelsea made a profit of about £43m on the deal. They then bought him back last summer for £34m.
Chelsea had 38 payers out on loan across eight countries in September. They insist that this is not a way of making money, but of giving players experience. It also ensures that they cannot play for rival clubs. There are signs that Arsenal and Manchester City are now following a similar policy.
Arsenal made a net profit of £263m over the decade from player sales. Manchester United made £171m, but £80m came from the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo. Liverpool made £147m and Manchester City £75m.