The age of austerity is yet to reach the agents who service the Premier League. This year its 20 current clubs handed over £77m to the Mr Ten Per Cents, a £5m rise on the 2011 expenditure.
These are payments made by clubs to agents on behalf of players, usually in connection with transfers and contract renegotiations. They are paid by the club primarily because players cannot offset agents' fees against tax. They do not include other fees paid to agents by players, such as commission for commercial deals.
Manchester City, top last year with £9.7m paid to agents, were again the biggest spenders with a £10.5m outlay despite (relatively) moderate additions such as Scott Sinclair and Jack Rodwell. Southampton, whose chairman, Nicola Cortese is noted for driving a hard bargain, spent the least, £646,106, despite investing more than £20m in the August transfer window.
Liverpool followed last season's £7m spending with a further £8m. Not much sign there of the Fenway Sports Group curbing costs. QPR, who have spent heavily in the transfer market to no great effect on the pitch, paid agents £6.8m.
Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur also spent more than £5m, but 10 clubs, half the league, were able to keep payments to agents below £3m.
Percentage calls: Payments by clubs
Manchester City £10,537,982
West Ham United £4,436,992
Man United £3,681,580
Newcastle United £3,485,503
Aston Villa £2,730,539
Wigan Athletic £1,974,305
Stoke City £1,717,266
Norwich City £1,248,725
Swansea City £1,100,845