The age old chestnut of net spend, and whether a team won the title due to money or due to the genius of the manager, or some combination of both (hint it’s a combination of both).
All charts are derived from figures provided by the brilliant transfermarkt.com.
There are a number of key points arising from the above;
- Whatever complaints Arsenals fans may have about their team or their manager, their final league position is in line or has bettered what would be expected based on their financial spending. Debate over what that level of financial spending should actually be, is best kept for another day, but in a vacuum of just analysing these figures, Arsene Wenger is doing a pretty decent job.
- Chelsea have pretty drastically underperformed based on transfer fees and wages. To have only won a single title in 5 years despite consistently being in the top 2 in both net spend and wages is a shocking indictment of how the club has been run. Again this analysis is done in a vacuum where the impact of mid-season firings is not considered, but based on the raw numbers Mr. Abramovich is not exactly getting bang for his buck.
- The numbers paint a picture of Liverpool as a consistent underachiever. They probably haven’t spent the money necessary to regularly mount a title challenge, but the fact that Arsenal have been allowed to coast to a number of 4th place finishes ahead of them signals the poor return on investment.
- Manchester City are what you’d think they are; they’ve spent a ludicrous amount of money, (exacerbated by the need to rapidly improve their squad), but they’ve won some league titles and reached a position where they are an annual title contender.
- Manchester United are the great anomaly in this exercise. Results being achieved by Alex Ferguson did not match the outlay on talent, due mainly to the remnants of the “Class of 92″ back-boning the team, and the longevity of footballers such as Rio Ferdinand who were themselves extremely expensive (and it turned out wise) investments years previously. This situation has clearly proven unsustainable and the massive market correction in the summer recently gone by is a sign that years of under-investment had left the team in bad shape for whoever followed Ferguson.
- Spurs have outperformed expectations, particularly in comparison to their direct peer (Liverpool). Even where they spent heavily on players they were able to retain a stable wage bill. Daniel Levy is a shrewd operator – nothing earth shattering in that!