By Tony Attwood
We have shown in the past season that only about a quarter of all expensive new players deliver in the first season with the new club. Around a quarter never deliver anything like the standard expected.
We have also shown that although having the top scoring players in the league in the squad can help a team win the league, it happens far less than one might imagine.
Much of the problem arises because managers tend to put up with under performing expensive players for longer than they should, simply because it is their own judgement on the line. They spent the money, they are desperate for the player to show their judgement was right.
But now let’s look at it from another point of view. How much each first team cost last season, again where the club ended up. The cost figures are in millions of Euros and come from CIES Football Observatory.
The league shown in the final positions for last season, with three extra columns. The cost, the position in the cost league (showing Man City as 1, with the most expensive squad, and Bournemouth at 20 with the least expensive. Then finally the “Cost/Place” column. This is the league position minus the cost position. So a team like Leicester which spent relatively little and so came 17th in the cost league, but actually won the premier league, gets +16. They obvious came in far above their cost point.
Newcastle, Villa and Chelsea could be said to have spent money the least wisely, getting far less benefit in terms of league position than they might have expected.
|Pos||Team||Pld||W||D||L||GF||GA||GD||Pts||Cost Euro||Cost pos||Cost/Place|
Arsenal as we can see came in second in the league but only spent the fifth greatest amount, so got some good value for money. But we should also look at the distance Arsenal was behind the big hitters in terms of spend. The top spending clubs are very spread out – it is not just a matter of a million or two:
- Manchester City – 560m euros
- Manchester United – 533m euros
- Chelsea – 407m euros
- Liverpool – 344m euros
- Arsenal – 305m euros
So we could say that given the huge sums spent, the clubs that spent more than Arsenal (with the possible exception of Liverpool who spent only a little more than Arsenal) should not only be above Arsenal in the league, but way, way, way above Arsenal in the League.
There is of course a rough and ready relationship between spending and position in the League, but as Leicester in particular showed, it is not at all accurate.
This is particularly interesting because there is a greater link between money spent in other countries, but even here there is a clear indication that just spending money is no guarantee of success.
- Real Madrid – 587m euros – 2nd
- Barcelona – 394m euros – 1st
- Valencia – 226m euros – 12th
- Atletico Madrid – 180m euros – 3rd
- PSG – 525m euros – 1st
- Monaco – 152m euros – 3rd
- Marseille – 61m euros -13th
- Lyon – 51m euros – 2nd
- Man City – 560m euros – 4th
- Man U – 533m euros – 5th
- Chelsea – 407m euros – 10th
- Liverpool – 344m euros – 8th
I think these tables show that although spending money can help, it does not always give the results expected. Among the top four spenders in these leagues we have teams that have come in 8th, 10th, 12th and 13th.
“But,” it is argued, “it can’t do any harm.” But I really think it can – as I argued above. Buy the wrong players and it can hinder progress and make the club worse than not buying. Of course none of us can prove this, but the figures above show that simply buying is not good enough. I think it is fair to say that three of the top four spenders in the Premier League all might have expected to win the league in 2016, but they came in 4th, 5th, and 10th.
So now we have three different analyses that show that spending money on players does not directly relate to league position. I am not sure how many more I am going to have to produce before people who are fixated by the buy-buy-buy propaganda of the bloggettas and their journalist friends down the pub start to get the point, but I will keep on looking for other analyses.
Meanwhile here is the list of Arsenal’s players from last season. I am sorry this list is in pounds and the previous ones in euros. I take them from the best sources I can find to stop people saying that I am manipulating the figures to my own benefit.
David Ospina – £3m
Petr Cech – £10m
Kieran Gibbs – Free
Per Mertesacker – £8.5m
Gabriel Paulista – £12m
Laurent Koscielny – £10m
Nacho Monreal – £8.5m
Calum Chambers – £15m
Hector Bellerin – £375,000
Tomas Rosicky – £7.5m
Mikel Arteta – £10m
Jack Wilshere – Free
Mesut Ozil – £42.5m
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – £12m
Aaron Ramsey – £5m
Santi Cazorla – £15m
Mathieu Flamini – Free
Francis Coquelin – £750,000
Mohamed Elneny – £7m
Olivier Giroud – £12m
Theo Walcott – £9m
Alexis Sanchez – £35m
Danny Welbeck – £16m
Joel Campbell – £750,000
There is one PS due here however. Last year Andrew pointed out how squad values relate to league position, and found a strong correlation. I am not arguing that this is wrong – squad values are quite different from squad costs, which is what I am looking at. Bellerin’s cost above is rather different from the value of around £35m he was given when Barcelona were apparently making a bid.
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