This article updated 9 May to correct the Manchester City transfer figures.
By Tony Attwood
I have been pondering the question of which clubs have really made great progress this season, and then in relation to that, how much it has cost them in player transfer fees.
In short, it’s another way of looking at the transfer market, trying to see which clubs have made use of their money – and indeed which clubs have been throwing it away with utter abandon.
To do this I have taken the goals scored, goals conceded and points gained this season and compared it with the situation in the League at this stage last season. Then I looked at the amount of money spent and received and tried to merge it all together.
At this moment a year ago the league table read rather similarly in terms of the range of points – although not in terms of which clubs were at the top.
For example, at this moment a year ago the top two clubs were on 83 and 82 points, while the third club was on 66. This year the top two are on 82 and 81 points, and then there is a gap to Newcastle on 65. So the pattern at the top is remarkably similar between this year and last year. Only the clubs have changed.
Last year at this moment it was Manchester City and Liverpool were fighting it out; this year it is Manchester City and Arsenal. Which immediately should ring some alarm bells. Liverpool looked like real challengers to Manchester City a year ago, but this year they are anything but. Arsenal have to heed this issue and make sure they don’t suffer the same collapse next season.
This table shows goals scored (F), goals conceded (A) and Points (Pts) for last season and this season, at this stage in the campaign. I’ve included the top six in the order they were at this point last season, plus Newcastle, as they have joined the ranks of the top clubs through the arrival of the Saudi government.
Manchester City: The model of consistency. A few more goals scored a few more conceded, points pretty much the same.
Liverpool: A dramatic decline in goals scored, a dramatic rise in goals conceded, goal difference down by 25, points down by 20.
Chelsea: Half the number of goals scored this season, goal difference down by 34, points down by 24. Collapse is the right word.
Arsenal: Goal scoring up to 29, defence much as was, goal difference up by 31, points up by 18. A significant surge.
Tottenham: The defence has lost it, conceding 18 more than last time. Down three points after all that promise of this being their moment (according to the media).
Manchester United: An 11 goal improvement in defence has meant an increase of eight points.
Newcastle United: as expected and demanded, more goals have been scored, fewer conceded, and so the goal difference improved by 48, with points up by 22.
So the winners across the two seasons are:
- Newcastle United: goal difference up by 48, points up by 22.
- Arsenal: goal difference up by 31, points up by 18.
- Manchester United: goal difference up by 6, points up by 8.
Interestingly the Arsenal rise was not expected by any of the media who predicted a failure to get into the Champions League – the fourth place going to Tottenham. What a bunch of dodos.
And the losers are
- Liverpool: goal difference down by 39, points down by 20.
- Chelsea: goal difference down by 34, points down by 24.
- Tottenham: goal difference down by 13, points down by 4.
- Manchester City: goal difference down by 5, points down by 1.
So how much does any of this relate to money spent? Do transfers bring improvement? The transfer figures below come from Sports Mole. The final column show the cost per point gained, in transfer fees.
Thus Arsenal spent £87.4 and gained 18 points – meaning it cost the club £5.39m per point. Newcastle ran Arsenal close (£5.56m per point) but only one other club gained a benefit from all its spending – Manchester United – which is quite remarkable. £339.6m spent on taking four clubs down.
- Newcastle United: goal difference up by 48, points up by 22. Cost £5.56m per point.
- Arsenal: goal difference up by 31, points up by 18. Cost £5.39 per point.
- Manchester United: goal difference up by 6, points up by 8. Cost £2,94m per point.
And the losers are
- Liverpool: goal difference down by 39, points down by 20, for a cost of £4.6m
- Chelsea: goal difference down by 34, points down by 24, for a cost of £198.6m
- Tottenham: goal difference down by 13, points down by 4, for a cost of £118m.
- Manchester City: goal difference down by 5, points down by 1 but they made a profit on transfers of £18.4m
And the huge problem Arsenal have to face next season is: they’ll have to keep improving.
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