In March 2021, the Guardian revealed that Premier League clubs had spent a combined £272million on agents’ fees over the previous twelve months, with Chelsea the highest spenders on £35.2million, West Brom the lowest on £4.2million, and Gillingham the only club in the top four divisions of English football to not pay anything. And weirdly, this represented an increase on the year before (£263m) despite top flight clubs making huge losses in the pandemic, and with transfer spending decreasing by 10.6% between 2019 and 2020.
Figures like this suggest that the power that football agents hold in the game is continuing to grow, with their profits increasing even as those in other areas of the industry plummet. According to Forbes, Jonathan Barnett, Jorge Mendes and Mino Raiola all rank among the top five most lucrative sports agents in the world, making more money from their profession than any agent working in basketball or American football.
And according to BILD, Raiola will demand wages of £825,000 a week for his most sought after client, Erling Haaland, as well as agent fees totalling almost £35million (34.3m) once the Norwegian striker’s release clause comes into effect next summer. But why are figures like Raiola able to exploit the transfer market like this?
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