By Tony Attwood
Below is a table of money spent in the last three transfer windows. In the table a figure such as £90m means Arsenal spent £90m in that window overall, taking into account both the money spent, and the money received for players who have been sold.
Therefore, rather obviously, a minus number means that the club received more than it spent in that window. So in the Summer 2019 window Chelsea sold players to a higher value than those they bought, and thus received £83.5m in the window – which is shown as -£83.5m
Now, it has been thought by many of us (including myself, I fully admit) that the Kroenkes would restrict spending on players having bought Arsenal. And maybe over time they will. But not so far. Arsenal have spent more over the last three windows than any of our top six rivals.
The final column shows the current league position of each club. The first group are the traditional “big six”. The second group are the current top three in the league.
|Summer 2019||January 2020||Summer 2020||Total||Lge Pos|
The figures have taken me by surprise, and since I am known for cocking up the figures I have been back and run them again. But if you find a mistake please do report it, although if you could report it politely that would be welcome.
Before starting this little exercise I had no idea at all that Arsenal were the top spending club among the big six, although having watched Aston Villa only just escape relegation last season and then go spending again I guessed they would come out near the top – and they are now way above everyone else in spending over the last three windows.
Leicester City however seem to go against this idea. In 2013/14 they were promoted to the Premier League and in their first season in the top division this time around they came 14th. The following season they won it, to everyone’s surprise. Since then they have been 12th, 9th, 9th, and 5th, suggesting that title was something of a one off. But they are at the moment not spending money.
However with Leicester we have also seen some of the most extraordinary figures in terms of tackles, fouls and yellow cards for the first part of last season, after which they changed tactics and suffered a dramatic collapse. (And we’ve already had the argument that this change was caused by one man’s injury – but that is not true. The dates don’t fit at all). So this would suggest that it is not just players that get you up the league but tactics.
Now of course that sounds silly – of course tactics help a club get up the league. But – and this I think is something that is often ignored – tactics are obvious to opposing teams. I know they are not to journalists and TV reporters who cover the games because they never once mentioned the way Leicester were putting in far more tackles than any other club last season, any more than they are mentioning the odd figures we are seeing this season for Tottenham (although of course it is too early to draw too many conclusions from that). But opposition clubs do see what is going on, and so work to counter them.
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Yet Leicester did win the league and then fell apart the next season. Was that tactics? It would be interesting to find out.
So speaking of Leicester which other teams from outside the dominant group have appeared in the top three positions in the league? Blackburn are the only club other than Leicester from outside what we now see as the “big six”, that has won the Premier League. They did it with a vast input of funds, which then dried up. They are currently in the championship.
Aston Villa, Blackburn and Newcastle (twice) have all made it to the runners-up spot during the PL era but none since 1997. Leaving those clubs aside, Norwich and Nottingham Forest have also made it to third spot but none since 1995.
In fact in the 28 years of the Premier League only four teams have won the league more than once, three teams have won it once (Blackburn, Leicester and Liverpool) and one of the “big six” (Tottenham) has never won it at all.
Leicester continues to suggest that tactics rather than spending can take the club up the league for a while, and as we have seen in earlier articles there is a suggestion that Tottenham are pursuing a tactical approach of their own in order to improve results. But it is looking like I will have to revise my previous view on transfers. Spend enough, and the money can take a club up the league. Although as Blackburn showed, to stay at the top, you have to keep spending.
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