Sheffield United’s “low budget” and why it isn’t an issue

When a team gains promotion to the Premier League it seems like an awful lot is made of their transfer business in the summer. And quite rightly, because that is often where the season is won or lost.

Every team/board will have their own identity and own plan as to how to tackle a transfer window. Some teams will spend large amounts on several players, some teams will spend big on only a couple of players. Then there’s the teams that will make full use of each market to utilise their budget efficiently with free agency and loans etc.

Whatever category a team comes under, there’s always fans that question their clubs strategy.

Sheffield United supporters have voiced their frustrations at the low budget they have at their disposal this summer. But if they can spend it wisely and purchase promising players such as Anis Slimane and Benie Traore, it should hold them in good stead.

ROTHERHAM, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 07: Sheffield United co-owner and chairman Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is seen during the Sky Bet League One match between Rotherham United and Sheffield United at the New York Stadium on September 7, 2013 in Rotherham, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)

Norwich, Watford & Brentford

In the 2020/21 Championship season, Norwich and Watford achieved automatic promotion to the Premier League while Brentford went up via the playoffs. The following season (2021/22), both Norwich and Watford finished in the bottom three of the Premier League. Meanwhile, Brentford survived – comfortably.

Norwich 21/22 summer: Expenditure: €63.55m  [All fees taken from Transfermarkt]

Norwich chose to spend moderate amounts on several promising players. Christos Tzolis, Milot Rashica and Josh Sargent were three of the most expensive signings. Ultimately, the Canaries would only sell their star player Emiliano Buendia for €38.4m to help fund the incomings.

Finishing position: 20th = 22pts (pts above/from safety: -16pts)

Watford 21/22 summer: Expenditure: €18.8m 

Watford had a varied approach to their summer dealings. They would sign Imran Louza for €10m, then Emmanuel Dennis for €4m and Moussa Sissokho for €3.5m. The rest were either loans or free transfers. They sold €12.85m worth of players.

Finishing position: 19th = 23pts (pts above/from safety: -15pts)

Brentford 21/22 summer: Expenditure: €36.7m 

Brentford would buy three players in the summer, and all three were in their early 20’s: Kristoffee Ajer, Yoane Wissa and Frank Onyeka. They didn’t sell anybody to acquire this trio of high-ceiling players.

Finishing position: 13th = 46pts (pts above/from safety: +11pts)


Fulham, Bournemouth & Nottingham Forest

In the 2021/22 Championship season, Fulham and Bournemouth finished in the top two while Nottingham Forest won the playoffs. The successive season saw all three promoted teams avoid relegation from the Premier League.

Fulham 22/23 summer: Expenditure: €61.4m

Fulham went all in last summer, especially on Joao Palhinha (€20m) who has become one of the best central midfielders in the league. They would also sign Issa Diop for €17.8m. Additionally, the signings of Willian, Bernd Leno and Andreas Pereira were astute signings for under €10m.

Fulham would sell two players: Frank Anguissa and Fabio Carvalho for €22m.

Finishing position: 10th = 52pts (pts above/from safety: +18pts)


Bournemouth 22/23 summer: Expenditure: €27m 

Bournemouth signed only two players for a transfer fee: Marcos Senesi and Marcus Tavernier. They wouldn’t sell anybody in that window.

Finishing position: 15th = 39pts (pts above/from safety: +5pts)


Nottingham Forest 22/23 summer: Expenditure: €161.5m 

Nottingham Forest would spend silly amounts of money in the summer. Key players like Morgan Gibbs-White, Taiwo Awoniyi and Neco Williams would cost €20m plus. They would only sell goalkeeper Brice Samba in the summer for €5m.

Finishing position: 16th = 38pts (pts above/from safety: +4pts)



There is zero correlation between what a team spends in the summer and where they finish come the end of the season. The two biggest spenders on this list are Norwich City and Nottingham Forest, one suffered an embarrassing relegation, while the other scraped survival in the final stages of the season.

It is evident that the teams that make the most efficient signings, like Brentford and Fulham, stay up. Even if it requires spending a little bit more cash, it is worth it in the end.

United’s best chance of survival is to continue to monitor the European market, especially Scandinavia. There is a ton of talented players that can go for low fees.


Tags Bournemouth Brentford Budget finances Fulham Norwich City Nottingham Forest Sheffield United Transfers Watford