Transfer spending makes or breaks any club. The demise of all the following “once great” clubs can be attributed to transfer spending, Leeds United, Bolton Wanderers, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday, QPR, Coventry City, Glasgow Rangers and a host more. Bolton with a £140m debt, rock bottom of the Championship and Leeds (who have sold both their Stadium and their training ground) probably fared the worst.
In light of this it is astonishing the following Premier League 11 cost a mere £3,940,000.00. It is the cheapest “performing” Premiership 11.
Joe Hart £500k Shrewsbury Town
Hector Bellerin £350k Barca
Ashley Williams £420k Stockport County
Jose Fonte £980k Crystal Palace
Seamus Coleman £50k Sligo Rovers
Francis Coquelin £140k Freiburg
James Milner Free
Riyad Mahrez £500k Le Havre
Andre Ayew Free Marseille
Vardy £1m Fleetwood Town
Bafetimi Gomis Free Lyon
The team listed above have scored Vardy (10), Mahrez (5), Ayew (5), Gomis (4) 24 goals in 10 Premiership games with 13 goal assists. Only Man City have scored a similar 24 goals to this £4m team and that Man City team has cost in excess of £750m to assemble.
I have deliberately not included home grown or academy players as it is impossible to quantify how much money it takes to take an 8yr old Steven Gerrard to a full blown first team player.
“Bang for bucks” or MoneyBall as some have termed it is the only recognisable way for “smaller” clubs to fight against the bigger better resourced clubs. The BBC pundit Mark Chapman recently tweeted the Swansea side that beat Man Utd 2-1 cost £22m to assemble compared to the Man Utd team on that pitch valued at £350m.
Apart from the players listed, players that delivered way and above their price tag in the past would include for me Roy Keane £3.75m, Sami Hyppia £2.5m, Tim Cahill £1.5m Thierry Henry £10m Patrick Viera £13m, Ronaldo £12m and Ian Wright £2.5m. It becomes a very subjective list because due to price inflation it’s very hard to make accurate comparisons over time. Also offensive players are often remembered far more than defensive players.
Southampton creating a conveyor belt of talent with Walcott, Oxlade, Bale, Lovren, Lallana, Shaw, Schneiderlin, Lambert, Chambers and Clyne (total sold for £156million) this has totally funded the Saints and made them an established Premier League force once again recovering after dropping down to League One 5 years ago.
Teams that are trying to rediscover their previous greatness such as Leeds, Nottingham Forest, Bolton, would do well to replicate the Southampton model. Equally teams such as WBA, Everton and Aston Villa who are up for sale with no takers need to self fund transfer funds by discovering and selling talent.
The £4m Premiership team clearly shows the “unearthed” talent is there and for clubs that quite clearly do not have the financial backing to fight the Premiership big boys, Swansea and Leicester with Williams, Ayew, Gomis, Mahrez and Vardy have shown the way to go.