The 2015-16 Premier League season has been one full of surprises, disappointments, over-achievers, under-achievers, sackings, transfers and Leicester City. The Foxes are flying in the league and could become champions in the Premier League for the first time in the club’s history just two seasons after claiming Championship glory. With Jamie Vardy’s international career reaching untold heights and Riyad Mahrez’ profile spreading to Europe, Leicester City’s fairy tale story has been one full of glory for most neutrals enjoying the game.
Granted, you can buy 122 Mahrez’s for the cost of one Raheem Sterling! However, for England’s elite, it’s a season which has proved everything wrong and has left managers scratching their heads and owners frowning at their £50 notes.
Since the rise of monopoly football; an era which has seen billionaires take over English clubs, investing in their infrastructure and providing unlimited amounts of transfer money – the Premier League’s biggest clubs have extended the gap even further at the top of the table. The original ‘big four’ of Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea are still considered such despite Liverpool struggling to get into European competition. However, they’ve been joined by Manchester City and Tottenham in the last decade after foreign investors took over.
Tottenham fans welcomed the news their London club was to have a stadium expansion and the summer of 2013 saw the club spend over £110m in the transfer market, including £30m on Erik Lamela, who became their record club transfer – a record that was broken three times in that same transfer window. It was a sign of things to come and Tottenham have since progressed, and are in contention for the title this season. Manchester City’s takeover was one of the biggest in Premier League history and just four years after Abu Dhabi United Group brought the Blues in 2008, Roberto Mancini led his side to their first league title in over 40 years. Since then, they’ve claimed two titles, one FA Cup, one Capital One Cup and have played in the Champions League every year.
There were fears the gap between the Premier League’s European sides would grow uncontrollably due to financial backing that couldn’t be matched by smaller clubs in the league but this season has put those doubts to the back of people’s mind. Leicester City’s rise to the top of the Premier League based on talent, entertainment and a show of team strength has been exhilarating and refreshing in an era where money seemed to have taken over. As well as Leicester City, West Ham United have enjoyed an impressive season under Bilic and their rise to the top five has put a spanner in the works for Liverpool, Manchester United and Everton who are both hoping to make it into European competition for the following season.
Everton welcomed the news recently that their club was to expect a £200m takeover by American investors. It’s a move that could boost Everton comfortably into the top six and could see them takeover as the city’s dominant club should Liverpool fail to progress under the ever-impressive Jurgen Klopp. There’s hope for their rivals Liverpool however, with Leicester City proving that investment isn’t the most vital ingredient for success – though it has proven effective for Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham thus far.
With eight games to go and five points clear at the top of the table, Leicester City remain favourites to claim the title. If they do so, it’ll be one of the most celebrated, most historical and most welcomed victories in Premier League history. In the last 20 years, only six clubs have won one of Europe’s top leagues for the first time in their club’s history and none would be more unexpected than Leicester City’s achievement. Not only does it give out a statement to world football that money isn’t everything, it will be a celebration of yet another unpredictable season in England and gives added argument to the opinion that the Premier League is still the most entertaining and competitive league in Europe.