Figures released reveal huge agents' fees paid by Premier League clubs
Clubs in English league football paid agents nearly £221million (€258m) in fees over the last two transfer windows, according to figures released on Friday by the Football Association.
The numbers are from February 2, 2016, to January 31, 2017, and are more than a third up on figures for the two transfer windows in 2015, the last year for which there is a full breakdown.
Unsurprisingly, Premier League clubs lead the way in what the FA refers to as "payments to registered intermediaries", with more than £174million handed over.
Manchester City top the payments table with £26.3million, Chelsea are second on £25.1million and Manchester United third on £19million - Hull, on the other hand, paid agents only £1.9million.
Newcastle were the most generous in the Championship, giving agents £10.4million out of a league total of £42.4million.
Charlton topped League One's table, spending more than £600,000 out of a total for the division of £3.1million, and Portsmouth lead the League Two table, accounting for nearly a quarter of the league total of just over £800,000.
League Two's Hartlepool were the only club in the top four divisions to spend nothing on agents' services, while the National League's promotion-chasing Forest Green Rovers spent nearly £175,000, more than every League Two club apart from Portsmouth and all bar five League One clubs.
As well as listing how much each club spent on agents, the FA is now required by FIFA to list each transaction that required an agent - information that agents and clubs have previously been very reluctant to share. This data is presented over 16 Excel sheets in minuscule script but it is clear that certain firms and super-agents are doing very well.
The Dutch-based Italian agent Mino Raiola, for example, represented player and club in the transfers of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba to Manchester United, while major firms such as Stellar Football Ltd and Wasserman Media Group account for dozens of Premier League moves each.