Major League Soccer’s growth in both spending power and player development was reflected in the 2022 global transfer report released by FIFA on Thursday morning, as MLS clubs comprised seven of the year’s top 10 transfer spenders in the Concacaf region, led by expansion newcomers Charlotte FC.
Chicago Fire FC, Orlando City SC and Atlanta United ranked second, third and fourth in North America's transfer-fee spending, with Liga MX giants Tigres UANL rounding out the top five.
Columbus Crew, New England Revolution and FC Dallas also ranked in Concacaf's top 10 along with Mexican heavyweights Monterrey and Club América.
1. Charlotte FC
2. Chicago Fire FC
3. Orlando City SC
4. Atlanta United
5. Tigres UANL
6. Columbus Crew
7. CF Monterrey
8. Club América
9. New England Revolution
10. FC Dallas
CLTFC spent significantly on their inaugural roster, highlighted by their acquisition of Designated Player Karol Swiderski as well as other seven-figure deals for the likes of Jordy Alcívar, Kamil Józwiak and Kerwin Vargas. Their fellow Southerners Atlanta United topped the regional reckoning in the 2021 edition of FIFA’s rundown, while Vancouver Whitecaps FC did the same in 2020.
The United States ranks eighth in the men's professional soccer world in overall spending on transfer fees at US$181.5 million, slotting behind only England, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, in that order. Conversely, the US sits 12th in overall transfer receipts with $135.2 million and ranks 13th in the number of outbound transfers, paced by big-ticket deals like Ricardo Pepi's move from Dallas to FC Augsburg and Daryl Dike's transfer from Orlando to West Bromwich Albion.
In all, US professional clubs are calculated to have spent a total of $181.5 million on 404 incoming transfers and received $135.2 million on 358 outgoing transfers last year, while Canadian clubs spent US$5.5 million on 98 incoming transfers and received $5.4 million on 111 outgoing transfers.
FIFA’s report also includes transfer business in the women’s and amateur games, and comprises a total of 20,209 transfers involving 4,770 clubs from all six confederations and 182 of FIFA’s 211 member associations. These transfers involved 17,291 players of 183 nationalities.
Notably, FIFA cautions the vast majority of all transfers (86%) did not involve the payment of a transfer fee. Yet the number of transactions including a fee reached a new all-time high of 2,843.
The market also remains quite top-heavy: The top 10 transfers generated some 13% of the overall amount spent in 2022 and of the 2,843 transfers that included fees, the top 100 were responsible for almost half of all money spent on fees. English clubs continue to flex the most potent spending power with a total outlay running north of $2 billion, another new record.
French clubs received the biggest share of all associations with $740 million in fees. Portuguese clubs completed more incoming transfers than clubs from any other association, with a total of 901 incoming arrivals, and Brazil sold the highest number of players, with a total of 998.
The full report can be viewed here (PDF).