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October 2016
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How much each club has spent on transfers this summer and the last two summers. And what it means.

By Tony Attwood

It’s simple: spending money on players is supposedly a good thing which will take clubs up the league.  But I am told, the figures Untold has been producing are misleading, because they only took in one season.  It is spending over time that is important.  So let’s see how it worked over a longer period.

Of course in this sort of analysis there are always people who write in and say “you can prove anything with statistics” (although by and large I usually don’t publish them these days as they are far too boring).  It would in fact be more true to say “you can prove anything with personal opinion”.

Certainly Michael Gove (now thankfully out of office and wandering the corridors of Westminster like a demented polecat on heat) would be proud of some of today’s supporters with his “people have had enough of experts” approach to reality.

Here are the figures showing last season’s table and the amount spent in the summer of 2014 and 2015.  I’ve then added those two together, and also added in next this summer’s total.  Of course this figure is going to be a few days out of date, and the window is still open, but it is an early indicator.

Based on these figures, we can project what the league table will look like based on expenditure over three summers.  Manchester United will win the league, and Arsenal will come 6th.

But before you say, that is about right, it might be worth reading down a little.

Pos Team 2014 summer spend £m 2015 summer spend £m Total 2014-15 £m 2016 spend £m 3 summer Total Projected 2017 pos
1 Leicester City 12.2 26.70  38.90 40.38 79.28 10
2 Arsenal 89.50 10.00  99.50 44.20 143.70 6
3 Tottenham Ho 36.80 49.30  86.10 31.03 117.13 8
4 Manchester Ap 69.80 153.50 223.30 169.59 392.89 2
5 Manchester Ut 170.3 108.10 278.40 157.25 435.65 1
6 Southampton 64.40 36.70  101.10 24.23 125.33 7
7 State Aid Utd 24.40 33.90 58.30 39.27 97.57 9
8 Liverpool? 133.30 78.40 211.70 67.92 279.62 3
9 Stoke City 2.70 21.10 28.90 17.67 46.57 15
10 Chelsea 85.30 66.15 151.45 63.58 215.03 4
11 Everton 35.3 13.95 49.25 19.98 69.23 11
12 Swansea City 23.60 9.55 33.15 27.40 60.55 14
13 Watford  — 27.40  — 21.72
14 West Brom 14 32.50 143.25 5.53 148.78 5
15 Crystal Palace 13.9 25.50 39.40 23.21 62.61 12
16 Bournemouth  — 21.50 29.84 —-
17 Sunderland 16.50 31.45 47.95 14.08 62.03 13
18 Newcastle U 29.1 49.25 78.35  —
19 Norwich City  — 10  —  —
20 Aston Villa 7.50 54.30 61.80  —
To make that complicated table above a little clearer here is the league table for the end of the coming season, as predicted by transfers to date:
Position Club
1 Manchester United
2 Manchester Airport
3 Liverpool?
4 Chelsea Abramovich
5 West Bromwich Albion
6 Arsenal
7 Southampton
8 The Tiny Totts
9 State Aid United
10 Leicester City
What is interesting with this table is that it is, with the exception of West Brom, fairly similar to the table that quite a few newspapers have published for the end of the season.  Maybe Liverpool a little lower, maybe the Tiny Totts a little higher, but pretty much this.
If we look at the amount spent not including this summer, we would get a league table that looks like this, again with the list published in the actual order of last season. 
2016 Pos Team Total 2014-15 £m 2015 Spending position 2016 Spending position
1 Leicester City  38.90 14 10
2 Arsenal  99.50 7 6
3 Tottenham Ho  86.10 8 8
4 Manchester Ap 223.30 2 2
5 Manchester Ut 278.40 1 1
6 Southampton  101.10 6 7
7 State Aid Utd 58.30 10 9
8 Liverpool? 211.70 3 3
9 Stoke City 28.90 16 15
10 Chelsea 151.45 4 4
11 Everton 49.25 11 11
12 Swansea City 33.15 15 14
13 Watford  —
14 West Brom 143.25 5 5
15 Crystal Palace 39.40 13 12
16 Bournemouth
17 Sunderland 47.95 12 13
18 Newcastle U 78.35 9
19 Norwich City  —
What this table shows is the remarkable similarity between the spending position of one year and the next.  Put another way, the club that spends a lot one year, spends a lot next year, because that is what they do.  It has nothing much to do with the exactly final position in the league which to remind you is the left column in the table above.  If spending had determined where we finish in the league the league table last season should have been
Predicted position Club
1 Manchester United
2 Manchester Airport
3 Liverpool?
4 Chelsea Abramovich
5 West Bromwich Albion
 Now one of the little phrases that those who argue against Untold like to throw in is that the definition of madness is doing something that fails, and then doing it again and again.  They claim two things.  One that Albert Einstein said this (but notably they never quote the source because… there isn’t one, he didn’t say it).  And two, it isn’t Arsenal that repeats its failure, it is the teams that spend huge amounts of money in an attempt to win the league.
Of course by chance they might well win the league some time.   But it won’t have too much to do with expenditure, and that for the reasons that we have shown in previous articles.  In the briefest summary (because saying it over and over is getting boring) only 25% of big money signings really deliver in their first season, and there is a problem with what to do with big money signings when they fail to deliver – in effect they start to disrupt the team.
There is also another factor that we have touched upon: that these tables include a zero value for Coquelin, Bellerin and Iwobi, and also under value certain players brought in on the cheap such as Santi Cazorla and Elneny.
Anyway, according to the expenditure tables we now know what the league will look like more or less in May next year, with Man U top and West Brom coming in fifth.
So to go back to the quotation from Professor Stefan Stieglitz, of the University of Duisburg-Essen which I have been quoting for the past month or so, “If people get new information that is in contrast to what they believe then they tend to neglect this new information for as long as possible.”
Turns out it applies not just to the aaa, but to some club management too.


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The Pre-season 20 years ago

12 August 1996: After four consecutive pre-season defeats against Birmingham, Celtic, Rangers and Fiorentina, Bruce Rioch was sacked as Arsenal manager.  The only victory came in the opening game against St Albans City on 19 July – 6-0.

12 August 1996: Stewart Houston took over the management of Arsenal and immediately oversaw a 1-3 away defeat in a pre-season friendly against Northampton. He later left to be manager of QPR with Rioch as his assistant.

50 comments to How much each club has spent on transfers this summer and the last two summers. And what it means.

  • Des

    I think you are coming at this from the wrong angle.
    The argument isn’t about spending, it’s about augmenting and strengthening the squad adequately.

    Let’s take last summer. Wenger said he wanted a striker and a DM as well as a top GK. We ended up with just the latter and finished 10 points behind the winners. I case of what if for me.

    This summer Wenger stated he wanted all his business done before the Euros: a midfielder, CB and a striker.

    So far we only have the former (Holding is one for the future and would be loaned out if we were not so chronically short).

    Hence the frustrations from some Gooners.

    Hopefully this summer will be more productive than last year.

    I don’t care how much the players cost, a fiver or fiddy million!

  • colario

    Yes but the media driving the hype believe all that needs to be decided this coming season is which manager will come first the Spaniard or the Portuguese.

    That is the reality for the media.

    It goes along side the other media hype ‘splash the cash to make the dash’.

    With these two beliefs claimed as fact it makes it easy for the media voices to attack any one who disagrees with them.

    So who will follow in the trail of the two manure clubs?

    The only certainty the media knows to this is that Arsenal will fail again and all because the club refuses to do as it is told by the media.

    What Sir Red Nose sells for 1 1/2 million, the media Special One buys back for 89 million and that is fine great piece of work by manure.

    Imagine the media hoo ha had Arsene and Arsenal done this.

  • Des

    And if we don’t get a CB or striker then I’d be happy to see Chambers and Akpom given a long run in the team to see how good they are.

  • Northern Nuge

    Interesting reading, it must get more and more difficult with the many transfers for ‘undisclosed fees’. Two things; firstly the figures I see for West Brom for seasons ending 2014 & 2015, do not add up to £143m so I cannot understand their position #5? Secondly in terms of feedback I access site via an iPad and whenever tables such as this appear the last couple of columns are lost under the right side section of the website. Can this be reviewed as it does make reading a little less easy and enjoyable especially when some data is lost under an advert. Otherwise guys keep up the great work.

    Finally I know you do not like random off subject comments, but in the spirit of things with every major pundit offering their penny’s worth on predictions for the coming season, how about the regular contributors to untold, do likewise maybe top 4 and bottom 3, and just for fun, how long before the media post a negative mourning jibe or likewise?

  • Rob

    The thing is, however, even as Wenger doesn’t spend big, he still hasn’t managed to win the league in 12 years.
    Leicester’s success doesn’t confirm the success of Wenger’s policy. It underwrites his failure –
    the fact that Ranieri pulled off what he has always desired, and has had many, many years to try to accomplish.

  • Richard

    Hi great piece Tony I have the transfer net spend of clubs since 1992. And can even show arsenals spend on players back that way. Good piece . It does show that though we tend to be low in terms of spending we are able to produce results that excel. And des yes no defensive midfielder last year maybe was in hindsight a mistake. However, last season I believed Cech was enough and continually said wait until end of season to judge Wenger not before season starts my view is same this season. Yes CB is a need though we do have Monreal and debuchy who can play there if needed as can coquelin and so too bielek or holding.

  • Manchester Airport, Tiny Tots, State Aid Utd…..
    I’ve recently found this site and really enjoy reading your articles. I don’t think your the vast majority of your audience are under 11’s but surely the ‘name-calling’ is a bit childish?

  • Northern Nuge

    About Mourinho* as unlikely as it is!

  • James

    I think your point is well made (as always). The problem for lots of supporters (including mupyself) is that if there are new and exciting signings (however expensive) it adds to the rising hope and anticipation of the new season. Post cognitive disonance can be explained away – 1st season etc – wait till NEXT seaon! Arsenal, for the last twelve years have been asking for patience and preaching a virtue of prudence; it requires something of your sang froid to look at things from such a detached angle.
    One other point: I am not sure how West Brom’s spending of 14 and 32.5 comes to 143….

  • Georgaki-pyrovolitis


    So Wenger says he wanted all business to be done before the Euros. It hasn’t. So what now? Emm! Let me think about that. Ok, perhaps in an ideal world they would have been done before the Euros but then there are a whole host of reasons why they werent. I’m sure you don’t need me to recount a few.

  • adetayo

    Des,I can’t see a difference between your ‘strengthening’ and the Mr Tony’s ‘spending’. It all comes down to the money spent either to strengthen or for spending sake. Seriously I want my club to spend £300 mill but that should be when it becomes £200 mill = 3 league titles on a row,a champions league in between, 2 fa cups and 1 league cup. am not an oliver twist now.

  • Rich

    Still doesn’t seem to cover what rocketed Chelsea, City and PSG upwards, nor why anyone should care about how much financial power they have.

    The french league really seems a perfect example for examining money in football : when no one had a huge financial advantage, the league was very open- Marseilles, Lille, Bordeaux, Montpellier; once PSG had a few years of massively outspending everyone under their belt, game over.

    A fairly safe bet is that PSG will win the next five league titles, supposing they keep spending and no other multi-billionaire rocks up to play.

    In the Dutch league, if one of the big clubs is taken over by someone who spends, say, 50 million every year, that club would almost certainly come to dominate the league quickly.

    Much depends on your starting point- i.e if you’re near the top of the league already, it will be a quicker job- but with few exceptions it seems that if you massively outspend all your rivals you get into a dominant position over them, and if you maintain that spending you stay there.

    All of football is an experiment with money at the moment, in that there has surely never been more money in the sport, but the premier league is a sort of double-experment : what happens with not one or even two but three absolute megaspenders? ; and what happens when the rest of the league is very wealthy in comparison to the rest of football, bar a select few mega (wealthy) clubs?

    It’s hard to pinpoint an exact starting point for this latest experiment, though City’s financial emergence (making three financial powerhouses, relative to the rest, in the same league) is a reasonable place to start.

    Once they were fully established, the money rules were followed for a while, with titles shared between the cash giants, but later something very interesting happened, as in the last three years three separate clubs, clearly below the wealthiest group, have made very strong bids for the title, including, unbelievably, Leicester, who actually went and won it.

    What now- does it continue in that way? Have the old money near-certainties been smashed to bits in this league? Where does the experiment of every club in the league having access to lots of cash, relative to other major leagues, go next?

    One good indication that the old rules of money have been upset by the cash boost for the whole league is that money-upsetting clubs have done well in holding onto their players.

    The normal, old rules are that if a club puts up a surprisingly good challenge to a much wealthier club/s in the league, those wealthier clubs will soon strike and target the best players. Only Kante has followed that rule so far this year.

    My guess is that this will continue for at least a while. The danger is that relentlessly outspending your rivals will again prevail at some point. In order to relentlessly outspend in this league,though, you would need to put up 150-200 million every year for 2-5 years. It looks very likely City and Utd will do this, with Chelsea tucked in behind.

    Assessing it all, it doesn’t seem the old money rules are dead, rather that there’s a unique situation of three mega-spenders in one place, and they are not being allowed to engage purely in the traditional fight amongst each other for dominance, thanks to the rest of the clubs being in good health financially.

    We’ll see what happens. In the fight between money and any other football values, Leicester managed an incredible knock out victory for other values last year. Time for another fight.

  • Des


    It’s odd you choose a very minor point to try and pick a fight over.

    Really not sure what your point is? Ermmm… Transfers are tricky?

  • Des

    Great post Rich.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I see that there still will be a St.Totteringham’s Day on the cards if Tony’s findings do come to pass !

  • nicky

    Your 8.42 makes an interesting point.
    I sometimes wonder whether we give our youngsters enough chance of making good.
    I know pre-season games are not a true yardstick but I enjoy the enthusiasm, skill and performance of so many of our “second stringers”. And then for so many it’s the last we see of them for the remainder of the season.

  • Georgaki-pyrovolitis


    I read implied criticism of Wenger and/or Arsenal’s strategy. Which is great, I love rigorous informed debate. It’s how progress is made, it’s part of my occupation. The problem is that in the vast majority of cases there is no evidence presented. So far you have described, not explained what has happened. Perhaps too I have time on my hands when on annual leave.

  • James

    I understand what you are getting and in the most part I agree… However let’s look at it from a slightly different perspective by asking a question …

    Before Chelsea and man city had money to burn – were they in any way successful?

    Both have bought their league successes as did Blackburn but it is a risk as we saw with Leeds. If Arsenal had a better striker last year we would have been champions and we all know this.

    I am a big fan of Wenger but we do need to buy.

  • Rob

    Clearly, there are many other aspects to factor in (e.g. salaries, commercial revenue…) but here’s one *crude piece of analysis that might be of some interest —
    (* One could, for instance, argue that the CL title and the league title should be given more weight than an FA cup win, etc.)


    1. Manchester City, £58,358,571
    PL titles: 2
    FA cups: 1
    Champions League: 0

    Total # of titles: 3

    (approx £20m per title)

    2. Chelsea, £45,329,214
    PL titles: 3
    FA cups: 4
    Champions League: 1

    Total # of titles: 8

    (approx £5,6m per title)

    3. Manchester United, £34,746,429
    PL titles: 5
    FA cups: 1
    Champions League: 1

    Total # of titles: 7

    (approx £4,96m per title)

    4. Liverpool, £20,626,429
    PL titles: 0
    FA cups: 1
    Champions league: 1

    Total # of titles: 2

    (approx £10m per title)

    5. Arsenal, £9,586,071
    PL titles: 1
    FA cups: 3
    Champions League: 0

    Total # of titles: 4

    (approx £2,4m per title)


    Man C have been very inefficient when it comes to spending. The same can be said about Liverpool, although to a lesser degree.

    Man U and Chelsea stand out as two very successful teams in relation to net spending.

    Arsenal have the lowest average spending per league title. We’ve thus been the most efficient team in winning titles in relation to net spending, although it could be argued we haven’t won as significant/heavy titles as Man U and Chelsea.

    It’s very interesting to note that Man C, who’ve spent on average 5 times as much as Arsenal per season during this period, have only claimed one league title more than Arsenal. Gross mismanagement at the Ethiad, you’d have to say.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    And the only club who did the double over us last season ended their season in tenth place . And had spent 20 million more than us .
    But we shared the points with the rest of all the big spenders – its for this reasons that I have never really ‘get’ math !

  • Rob

    Break down the above figures in terms of net spend per PL title and you get:

    Man C, £29m per PL title (!)

    Chelsea, £15m per PL title

    Arsenal, £9,6m per PL title

    Man U, £6,9m per PL title

    = You have to admire what Alex Ferguson did as a manager. 5 PL titles in 10 years and with a much
    lower net spend than Man C and Chelsea.

    And, again, Man C’s incompetence is quite glaring.

  • Des


    It was observation of how our summer has panned out to date. I feel things have conspired against us in so far as the injuries coupled with the lack of additions. This means we start our first game without a senior defender or striker. Hence why I’d love to see Chambers and Akpom starting.

  • Menace

    Jambug – I love you dude. This time Tony has put out his argument. Its up to you now, prepare a full blown post with the evidence you have & make your case (email it to Tony).

    I agree with parts of both your arguments. Money helps, but it is quality that makes the difference.

    Please don’t shy away from your beliefs.

  • Leon

    It’s not so much the amount spent, but how it’s spent.
    For the £100 million fee for Pogba we could have bought a, Xhaka and two top quality players like Mustafi and Mahrez. One bad tackle and £100 million is spunked up for the season and he still gets his near £300 thousand per week.

  • Andy Mack

    Tony, I’m sure you’re aware that your maths failed you on the West Brom figures.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    It is for the experience senior centre-back cover & option that is going to make Arsenal to sign Shkodran Mustafi this summer. Otherwise and ideally, the young center backs: Holding, Chambers & Bielik should be able to hold fort till the 3 Arsenal senior CBs are back and ready for action.

    Notwithstanding, I think the Boss doesn’t want to take the risk which could lead to Arsenal dropping points in all competitions before Mertasacker and Gabriel return for action in 8 to 16 weeks time. Hence the signing of a senior new CHB has become an urgent necessity.

    However, would the Boss agrees to pay above his own price valuation for Mustafi as against whatever price Valencia are demanding for him? To begin with, does Mustafi has a price release clause at Valencia? If not, one can not fault the Boss for setting his own price tag for Mustafi to sign him. And since Mustafi wants to come to us as he has agreed terms and conditions of service with Arsenal, Valencia should then be reasonable in their own price valuation for Mustafi transfer to Arsenal. So as to accelerate this transfer deal by this weekend I suppose.

  • firey

    leon what a stupid post .If that were the case nobody would buy any players. Probably suit us though.
    Northern nuge has made a good point ,why don’t we all on here make a prediction for the coming season and who will occupy top 4.That way we can all criticise the pundits when we get more right than them. Starting with tony and walter-over to you.

  • Robert

    The top three net spenders since PL inception are Man C, Chelsea and Man U. Liverpool and Arsenal are some way behind.

    Between them, those three clubs have won 19 out of 24 titles – 79%.

    So yes, transfer spend is a significant factor, but you need to take the long view. Cherry-picking 2 recent years won’t tell you much.

  • Ram Laal – hi, and welcome along. I think that whatever type of humour one employs there are some who won’t find it at all funny, and may well find it childish. When it comes down to it, most football chants – especially those aimed at the opposition – are quite childish. But football takes us all into a different world.

    The odd humour and silly names have been part of Untold almost since the start, in Jan 2008, and it just seems like part of the furniture now. I certainly try to pull out anything offensive – but it seems to me fairly harmless. And a few of them made me smile the first time I saw them.

  • Rob, I think the point about Ferguson was that by being at the club for so long, and with that huge income year on year from the worldwide marketing that was set up in the 1960s, and no need to pay for a new stadium, and for most of his time there no drain on finances from the Glazers…. plus his own undoubted ability as a manager – he made it work.

  • Marcus

    I think the key difference for the big money clubs, is that now every team in the premiership and even teams from the championship moving up to the premier league now have the ability to buy the sort of players arsenal were purchasing during the lean years. Clubs like leicester bournemouth swansea and watford can now turn a players head at most clubs in the bundesliga, serie A and la liga. Access to these kind of players has meant that small clubs now have nearly the same ability to potentially find top talents as the big spenders. The only thing they can’t do is buy an already established world class signing, but they can speculate on people like mahrez or payet and end up with a player who performs better than someone signed for double the price.

    In my opinion, another key implication of the new found wealth in the premier league is that for every team consistency and squad depth are more important than ever. Last season there were a lot of upsets in england whether it was in the league or in cup games, there are no easy games anymore, every team fights to the end because every team wants a chunk of next years tv money. In order to beat most teams consistently throughout the year as leicester did squad depth is usually important in order to be able to rotate out your big players who are either tired or injured. In leicesters case you could say that they were only able to achieve the consistency they did through barely getting any injuries, and through the fact that they did not have champions league games to play.

    The big spenders usually encounter a one of two problems when it comes to achieving consistency in the league. When they are buying players in the summer, they do not know how many injuries they will get or in what positions, do they buy players for backup in certain positions or do they stick with what they have. Both approaches can have pros and cons. While it may seem sensible to buy backup for players in every position the problem is that top players will not sit on the bench and it is also important to maintain a similar starting eleven for many games so that every player is well drilled. Injuries are also such that you may have no injuries for an extended period and then suddenly have both main centre backs out…Gabriel and Per for instance. This means that one quality back up is often not enough, at some point you will have to chuck in either youth players or old players who are no longer guaranteed a starting place, and if these players play very rarely they are likely to slip up.

    In my opinion arsenal currently have a unique advantage over many clubs in the league. We have huge squad depth due to not only our progressive youth policy but because of the way wenger treats his older players with respect and has faith in them. Many fans were calling for reinforcements in the centre of midfield last year and maybe with hindsight if we had got them we may have been more able to challenge when santi and coquelin got injured. But Wenger decided to stick with flamini arteta and rosicky. In this case rosicky was injured for much of the year and neither flamini or arteta was able to help that much but this is just part of wengers policy to his players, he does not want players worrying about getting kicked out of the club a la schweinsteiger he wants them to retire here. I would argue this worked badly with these 3 players because of the type of players they are, you need young legs in central midfield in the premier league these days and neither arteta or flamini were incredible when they did play. Players like mertesacker and giroud however could be extremely useful in the next two seasons as big experienced players who can come on when we are winning a game and give us some height and physicality. If Wenger had bought a striker to replace giroud a few years ago I’m not sure he would have wanted to stick around playing that role.

  • yj

    From 2005 till 2015, the EPL has been won by either Man U, Man City or Chelsea. These are the money bags. The accidental winners Leicester is the exception, not the rule. Try to compute a table of the top spenders for each season from 2005 to 2015 and you’ll see that money has been winning the league all this while.Remember these were the years when rich owners bought clubs in the EPL. If I see a pattern over 10 years,conflicting statistics over a year certainly are not enough to change factual conclusion arrived at by looking at statistics over 10 years.

  • Robert

    Quote from Wenger at today’s press conference: “On a longer distance the money has a huge influence on the table. Sometimes on a shorter period, not so much.”

    Care to disagree with Wenger, Tony?

  • Firey

    Tony disagree with anything wenger says…Never.If our manager believed the moon was made out of cheese Tony would agree with him.

  • Gord


    I seen the article many hours ago (6+), before their were any comments. But, being middle of the night I just went outside, seen 3 Perseid’s flash by and back to sleep.

    I think people need to be careful about what Wenger said, or rather about how the press reports what he says. Words that mean the same, don’t all mean exactly the same. And every transcript I’ve seen of Wenger’s seems to have deliberately chosen words.

    The press may say that Wenger said he wanted X,Y,Z; that doesn’t necessarily mean it is true.

    I think that it makes sense to look at the buying and selling over time. And for analysing what has happened in the past, which is the only place we have data for, we have to do so based on the end of the last season. Not part way through the next transfer period which is now. Unless you have some mechanism by which a player that hasn’t yet been signed, can contribute to the value of a team.

    There is a time value to players, and this time value does show inflation, and this inflation rate is not related to inflation in the general economy. I don’t even think it is constant, it feeds on things like new TV contracts and Brexit.

    So, if we call what you have above a zeroth pass, a first pass might be, to add up the net spends for the Jan 2016 and August 2015 and deflate them by 0. Add to that for each team, the net spends for Jan 2015 and Aug 2014 and deflate that by say 50% (D). And then add to the total for each team, the net spend of Jan 2014 and Aug 2013 that has been deflated by that same amount twice. And so on. Vaguely like an exponential moving average.

    And let that summed and deflated value predict the finishing position at the end of the 2015/2016 season. Now repeat that process for say the previous two season, to generate 3 measures of value predicting 3 season outcomes.

    As a first pass, what I would do is calculate the correlation between finishing position and those deflated spend terms (constant inflation rate) for varying deflation rates, to find the deflation rate that maximizes the correlation.

    If a person wanted to try and adjust for a changing inflation rate, I would modify things. For each spending period, I would sort the net spend amounts, and maybe pick off the 75 percentile net spend, and use that as a measure of inflation. Hence, each net-spend would get divided by this 75 percentile amount. And then go through the optimisation with respect to deflation rate to find how strong the correlation is between finishing position and net spend over time.

    But, I have too many other things to do, and I will not make the time to do so now. If someone else wants to gather the data and publish it, I could do so later. Or, someone else can do the same (or different) analysis.

  • Andy Mack

    yj, the biggest spender in a summer window is rarely the winner of the following season.
    However it generally has a major effect on the seasons after that.

    Robert, I agree with AW. Money makes a difference long term as you can’t build a squad in one season, and a squad is what wins things unless you’re extremely lucky like Leicester were last season with both injuries and PGMO. It’s ‘almost’ impossible to build a squad in 2 or 3 seasons but does put a team up there in the right area to fight for it. Give Watford or West Brom £150m per season for the next 3 seasons and they may win something but if it was just £200m one summer money then they wouldn’t.

    My disappointment in AW only buying Cech last summer is more about how any player(s) we’d bought then would be hitting some form this coming season (injuries/PGMO permitting) although it turned out that if ElNeny had been bought last summer then he may have had a big effect following Coquelins injury…May have.

  • Gord

    Oh, one point on predicting finishing position based on spend. I wouldn’t carry the prediction any further down than something like 7 or 8. How far to carry it down is probably something one needs to investigate, but I think that essentially all the positions from 7 or so down to 20 (last) are equivalent. The only source of difference in finishing position is random chance, nothing to do with team quality (they are all the same in that respect).

  • Polo

    I agree with Menace, I don’t believe it’s the monetary value of the transfer that will win the league but the quality of the players. Big spenders like Man City, Man United, and Chelsea can afford to buy players for trial and error, if player perform he stays, if not bye bye. Maybe that’s where the point should be examined.

  • yj

    Andy Mark, I am not saying the team that spends most automatically wins the league.What I am saying is that the top spenders, more often than not, win the league. As I said initially, Man U, Man City and Chelsea, in no particular order,have been the top spenders for over a decade now, and the premier league title has been shared between them bar this odd season that produced Leicester City as the Champions.What I am saying is that Tony has seemingly refused to factor in this critical fact in his conclusion. Going overseas, The moneybags has also been winning in their respective leagues(La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, ligue 1, etc).As a matter of fact, Chelsea, Man City and PSG only became teams to be reckoned with when they became rich. The Champions League, over the years, has also been largely won by clubs that spent a lot on their squads.Just spending heavily does not guarantee you will win trophies, but spending heavily and wisely on the right players definitely improves a team’s chances of winning the league.Not spending at all, when you have obvious deficiencies, does not help increase your chances of winning trophies.

  • Marcus

    yj….It depends what you mean by a deficiency, if you mean we do not have any players to play striker the whole season you are right. However, if you already have say 22 players 1 for first team and one for back up buying a player worse than your current first team player or even at a similar level is a step back. If both “first team” players for one position stay, one will end up annoyed at his lack of game time and most probably the back up will too. In addition the new player will take time to gel, accustom to new league potentially etc.

    You could say, just as big spending on transfers may not have a positive effect in the year after spending but will most likely in the seasons after that, not spending when many people think you have a deficiency in an area can help you in the seasons after the next, if you have a young player in the position who can get an extended run in the team for a while

    Every year fans and pundits come forward and tell wenger…you need a striker….holding midfielder…..winger…..etc. In the last few years we have brought through iwobi coquelin campbell bellerin. If wenger had spent money just to get someone in to fill a back up role as many were telling him to do last season with coquelin or on the wings for instance, we would most likely either now have a debuchy like problem where we have a player we don’t really need or these great players would not have had the chance to come through. We must remember that the reason we have such good youth players now is because we have been able to attract them more than the big clubs because they see arsenal as a club which will give them a chance.

    I therefore would only want us to buy a player if he is clearly better than what we already have in his position whether it be first team or a back up player, and contrary to public opinion, I think these players are very hard to find.

  • Andy Mack

    TONY, 14 and 32 do not equal 143. Please correct the West Brom numbers in your table.

  • Temitope

    Just so you missed the article on
    Poch can prove stability thrump signing.
    And Wenger is abuse cause he doesn’t spend and won’t pay more than what a player is worth.

  • hrishi


    You said :”…. only 25% of big money signings really deliver in their first season, and there is a problem with what to do with big money signings when they fail to deliver – in effect they start to disrupt the team.”

    Given that the figure was arrived at by assuming Ozil (to Arsenal) and Ronaldo (to United) were not among the 25%, is your conclusion fair? Do you really think that Ozil and Ronaldo were disruptive influences on their teams in their first seasons?
    Perhaps they were. But did the teams gain from their services subsequently?

    And 3 years of spend data might support your argument, but is that what people really mean by a longer period? If we look at the data that Jambug has posted quite often here, the big three spenders (United, City and Chelsea) have had the most trophies over the last decade or so.

    True, Arsenal has done exceptionally well in relation to the amount that they’ve spent and Leicester has surprised us all by winning the league last season. While the latter is a statistical anomaly, the former shows us the value of factors that are perhaps unrelated to money- Wenger’s astute management, Arsenal’s youth policy etc. However, neither of these is enough to completely negate the importance of spending.

  • Menace

    Officials!!! Just watching Olympics Ladies USA v Sweden. Good Swedish goal disallowed for off side but it wasn’t. The last pass was from a USA player. Sweden will know how Arsenal feel every game we play in the EPL.

  • Menace

    Amazing but Sweden Ladies go through after penalty shoot out.

    There is so much about big spenders but it is always officials that make the difference. Leicester were gifted by PGMOL as were United for many years. The players were incidental in most ‘controlled’ games.

    Until Officials are allocated by random selection from a pool of 80, there will never be a true measure of victory. Why 80? because there are easily that many qualified ethnically mixed referees (not select Anglo Saxon / Old Boy berg types).

  • Rob

    Agree with you there, Tony.
    The kind of historically truncated account i offered has its downside in not factoring in what transpired over a longer period of time.

    Yet, Man U’s successful “worldwide marketing” yielding huge revenue must not be seen as an illegitimate factor in any way. It rather points to the relative inadequacy of other clubs’ work in this respect.

  • Andy Mack

    I think Tony wasn’t very clear when he made the comment about disrupting the team.
    It’s more a case of ‘Some’ expensive signings that don’t hit form in their first season ‘Can’ cause disruption in the team. Rather than all of them.

    Having said that, Although Ozil wasn’t exceptional in his first season as he has been (usually) since then, he didn’t have a bad 1st season either. I’d put him in the 25% that are successful in their first season. Some of the whingers may not think so but most of them didn’t really understand what makes him so special, even when he isn’t setting up the goal its self.

  • Menace

    The beauty of Ozil is the time he has to split the opponents & create openings. His movement seems lethargic but he covers the ground so easily. Sometimes I wish he’d shoot at goal rather than pass, but that’s Wenger ball for you/me.

  • Chris

    You write some interesting articles Tony even if I often don’t share your opinion, but I really do think you let yourself down by calling rival clubs names like Manchester Airport and State Aid Utd etc. It just comes across as childish and immature and almost reduces the credibility of your article.

  • As I said recently Chris, one person’s immaturity is another person’s humour. We’ve got 6 million views last year doing it all the time, so I guess some people like it and those who don’t put up with it.