by Tony Attwood
Initially, as the transfer window approached this summer, the story was that Arsenal would have a summer spending limit of £50m. Then a little later that was raised to £70m. So the first question I asked was where did that extra £20,000,000 turn up from.
Of course I’m not privy to the inner discussions at the club but it is interesting that last summer Arsenal made a £21m profit. Maybe it is just a coincidence, but maybe not. But it could be that Mr Wenger’s profit became available for Mr Emery.
Anyway noting Arsenal’s figures – £21m profit on transfers last summer, £7.9m loss in January and then £68.7m loss this summer I began to wonder how this compared with other clubs.
Let me add that if my previous tables are anything to go by, there will be a mistake or two in here. But I’m staying with this type of analysis simply because no one else seems to do it much, and the abuse I get tends to reflect (in my view) more on the people who can’t write helpfully and positively, but instead feel the need to call me an idiot.
To try and make things standardised I have taken all the transfer values from one source: the Guardian. I may have missed one or two (or more) transfers but I’ll do an update when its all over.
But what really got me interested in this was the latest statements by Mourinho at Man U about the way the club is not handling transfers properly. I just wanted to know what they had spent and how that related to their results.
The columns are fairly easy – the clubs that have been in the Premier League last year and will be this year, where they finished in the league in 2016/17, how much they spent in the next two windows, and then where they finished in the league in 2017/8.
And the question then is, did that money spent take them up a position, or did they fall down the league despite all the money spent. And from that the big question:
How much does it cost to buy your way up one place in the League?
Of course you need a manager and transfer team who know what they are doing, and you need to buy players who mingle together and complement each other .
There is more explanation, below, but here’s one simple example.
Burnley spent £11.5m across the windows and went up nine places in the league. That means it cost them £1.28m per place rise up the table. To be able to include the promoted clubs I have given them pa position of 21st last season (ie outside the league). I’ll go through more explanations after the table.
|Club||2016/7 Lge pos||2017 summer||2018 January||2017/8 Lge pos||Cost per pos rise (fall)||2018 Summer so far – net|
|Arsenal||5||£21m profit||£7.9m loss||6||(£-13m)||£68.7m loss|
|Bournemouth||9||£30m loss||£0||12||(£10m)||£4.5m loss|
|Brighton||Promoted||£43m loss||£14m loss||15||£9.5m||£45.3m loss|
|Chelsea||1||£80m loss||£50m loss||5||(£32.5m)||£46.9m loss|
|Crystal Palace||14||£58.2m loss||£9.8m loss||11||£22.66m||0|
|Everton||7||£46m loss||£32m loss||8||(£78m)||£23.6m loss|
|Huddersfield||Promoted||£33.4m loss||£10m loss||17||£10.85m||£23.5m loss|
|Leicester City||12||£13.8m loss||£3.5m loss||9||£5.76m||£2.5m profit|
|Liverpool||4||£15m loss||£31m profit||4||-£16m n/c||£158.8m loss|
|Manchester City||3||£128.2m loss||£61.2m loss||1||£44.7m||£33.5m loss|
|Manchester Utd||6||£136.2m loss||£0||2||£34.05m||£43.5m loss|
|Newcastle United||Promoted||£29.2m loss||£0||10||£2.65m||£13.1m profit|
|Southampton||8||£23m loss||£55.9m profit||18||(£-3.65m)||£36m loss|
|Tottenham Hots||2||£2.7m loss||£25m loss||3||(£27.7m)||£2m profit|
|Watford||17||£36.3m loss||£3,1m loss||14||£13.13m||£25m profit|
|West Ham United||11||£16.5m loss||£18,8m profit||13||(£-1.15m)||£82m loss|
To try and explain the figures, the ideal position for any club would be to make a profit and go up the league. The only clubs that made a profit on their transfer dealings were
- Arsenal: Down one place, with £13m profit
- Liverpool. No change in position with £16m profit
- Southampton: Down ten places with £32.9m profit
- Tottenham Hotspur: Down one place with £22.3m profit
- West Ham United: Down two places with £2.3m profit.
On that basis making a profit on transfers either leads to the club standing still, or in most cases takes the club down anything from one to ten places.
So of the spenders, who got the most value out of each £1m spent in terms of rising up the league? Here is the amount spent per position gained:
- Burnley: £1.28m per place rise up the table
- Newcastle United: £2.65m per place rise up the table
- Leicester City: £5.76m per place rise up the table
- Brighton: £9.5m per place rise up the table
- Huddersfield: £10.85m per place rise up the table
- Watford: £13.13m per place rise up the table
- Crystal Palace: £22.6m per place rise up the table
- Manchester United £34.05m per place rise up the table
- Manchester City: £44.7m per place rise up the table
Finally who really, really screwed up, spending money and then going down the table?
- Bournemouth £10m per position lost down the league
- Tottenham Hotspur £27.7m per position lost down the league
- Chelsea: £32.5m per position lost down the league
- Everton: £78m per position lost down the league
So what do we make of all this?
- Making a profit on transfers might help the club’s books but doesn’t help its league position
- To rise up a place in the table can cost anything between £1.28m and £44.7m (an average of £23m per place). Generally (although not always) it costs more to go up a place at the top than it does in the lower reaches.
- It is possible spend money and slip down the league. Of course one can always claim that the benefits of the money spent will be seen in the future.
To round it all up, the last column shows the net spend so far this window – although this may not be fully up to date. The top spenders (net) are
- Liverpool £158.8m
- West Ham: £82m
- Arsenal £68.7m
- Chelsea: £46.9m
- Manchester United: £43.5m
- Southampton: £36m
- Manchester City: £33.5m
On the basis of the above, for Arsenal to rise from 6th to 4th they need to spend £46m. To get third spot they need to spend £69m – round about what they have spent (these spend figures are always net)
So the projection from these figures is Arsenal will finish third. That should put the mockers on everything. (Incidentally I haven’t included the Cups at all in this. I think I’d need 3D charts for that.
I’ll try and update at the end of the window. But here’s one thing: such figures take no note of the value of each player. Find a Matteo Guendouzi and buy him for £8m; that could be the best investment of the summer. Better for example, than Liverpool buying Alex Ox Chamberlain.
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