José is right on “buying title” comment

José Mourinho’s recent comment on rivals buying title made the footballing world burst into laughter. But he certainly has a point. Do you know that Chelsea is the only English Champion to make profit on transfers in the last decade? Do you know that Chelsea’s average net transfer spend as Champions is the lowest in the last decade – even lower than Manchester United? Do you know that Arsenal’s 2014-15 net spend is higher than 9 out of 10 recent Chelsea seasons? Do you know that Chelsea’s net transfer spend in the last 3 seasons is just 2/5th of Manchester United’s (both with one title in the same period)? Delving into José’s remark, data shows that the title hungry rivals are in fact trying to buy the title.

Chelsea is the only English Champion to make profit on transfers

In the last 10 seasons, Chelsea didn’t figure among the top 4 champions with high net transfer spends. In fact, it’s the only English champion in the last decade to have made a profit in the transfer market (2014-15 season), thanks to Chelsea’s brilliant business minds. They have mastered the know-how to sell high cost players at a markup.

EPL Champions sorted by net transfer spend
EPL Champions sorted by net transfer spend
Chelsea had the costliest signings to produce immediate impact

However, the above analysis only tells about the business acumen of the clubs. Immediate impact of signings can be measured only with transfer expenditure. 2014-15 Chelsea tops the list in that aspect. Their signings Diego Costa and Cesc Fàbregas made an immediate impact to challenge and win the title. Chelsea’s 2014-15 transfer spend is approx. 22 million Euros higher than Manchester City’s 2013-14 transfer spend (second highest).

EPL Champions sorted by transfer expenditure
EPL Champions sorted by transfer expenditure
Manchester clubs spend higher than Chelsea to win the Premier League title

On checking the average of the champions in their respective championship winning seasons, Chelsea’s net transfer spend is lower even than Manchester United – Well, Sir Alex Ferguson spent on the right players to win titles.

EPL Champions sorted by average net transfer spend
EPL Champions sorted by average net transfer spend
Arsenal’s recent spike in transfer spending is an anomaly

Surprised at these figures? I did too. This is mainly because of Chelsea‘s last season business. This policy would continue in 2015-16 as well. Chelsea will keep the net transfer spend in control unless the situation demands an expensive transfer. This is how Arsenal was until last 2 seasons. Arsène Wenger’s orchestrated austerity measures without sacrificing on the performance to a large extent pushed Arsenal’s finances into Green – Greece could learn a lot from Wenger. Jokes apart, Arsenal are also changing.

Chelsea vs Arsenal - net transfer spend
Chelsea vs Arsenal – net transfer spend

Do you spot the change? Arsenal’s 2014-15 net transfer spend was second only to 2010-11 Chelsea season in the last decade. Clearly, Arsenal has started shifting to spend more while Chelsea has reduced the net transfer spend in the last 5 seasons to a great extent. Arsène Wenger is quiet so far in the transfer market – the only big signing being Petr Čech from Chelsea. It would be incredible to see him remain so till the transfer deadline.

Liverpool spend high but they are not effective

Liverpool’s net transfer spend over the last 4 seasons is quite the same as Chelsea’s, but their performance hasn’t been as stellar as Chelsea’s. Liverpool have just come closer to challenging title once and won the league cup in 2010-11. Whereas, Chelsea have won UEFA Champions League 2011-12, FA Cup 2011-12, Europa League 2012-13, Premier League 2014-15 and League Cup 2014-15. Chelsea was definitely much more effective spender.

Chelsea vs Liverpool - net transfer spend
Chelsea vs Liverpool – net transfer spend
Manchester United’s spending has skyrocketed in the recent seasons

Sir Alex Ferguson breached the 60 Million Euro net transfer spend mark for the first time in Manchester United in his last season with Red Devils. In the 2 subsequent seasons, the net transfer spend has skyrocketed with major changes in the team. In 2015-16, Louis van Gaal has again spent high on Memphis Depay, Matteo Darmian, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin. With Manchester United having the highest net transfer spend (2014-15) in English football, they are certainly trying to win the title back.

Chelsea vs Manchester United - net transfer spend
Chelsea vs Manchester United – net transfer spend

There is no need to do this analysis with Manchester City – too much money spent with less trophy yield. Citizens are known to invest high and get rewarded with Premier League titles. But then they have had disastrous Champions League results. As we could see here Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool have all started spending big in their pursuit to win more titles. After all, Jose has got a point.

4 thoughts on “José is right on “buying title” comment

  • July 29, 2015 at 20:38

    I hate to see why Mourinho’s words even being considered here? Has he been away from such high spending transfer windows? Also Chelsea’s last seasons net spend being the positives is down to that freak David Luiz transfer (which I do not blame Chelsea for, but is a fact). Also Chelsea are in such a position to be selling their players now and keeping the net spend low, due to the fact that they have spent billions in a build up to that. Add to that the fact that Arsenal and United have been spending the clubs resources and not some Russian oligarch’s purse. They are in fact very much responsible for the player value inflation that we see in the league these days.

    That aside, United and Liverpool are spending a hell lot money in this and the last season. One of the two teams definitely needs to win the title to justify this spending. So one of the two clubs is gonna face a lot of criticism at the end of the season and likely followed by one manager’s departure!

    • July 29, 2015 at 20:50

      Chelsea’s transfer business have been very efficient in the recent years. That’s why they are making to positive net spend. However, Mourinho did admit that when Roman injected money, Chelsea bought titles. Now, he suggests other clubs doing the same – seems fine to me.

      Add Arsenal to the list of big spenders – Manchester United and Liverpool. Their signings in the last 2 season is also quite expensive. Not winning the title isn’t good for Wenger either.

  • July 30, 2015 at 15:06

    As I pointed out at the start, Chelsea’s efficient business in recent years is a result of them having a super humongous squad which they were able to buy with Roman’s money and are now reaping the benefits of it. Its not the same with other teams like Arsenal. And Arsenal are in a position now after years of Wenger’s efforts, which has now left the club with that sort of money to buy quality players. It’s would be stupefying if Wenger is criticized even if he does spend or back when he didn’t spend! Besides the club has won the domestic cup back to in the last two years. That still doesn’t match the success of a league title, but I would not say the spending has been completely futile.

    • July 31, 2015 at 09:30

      Arsenal’s spending isn’t wasted. Consider the second half of last season. They did dominate the league for the last 5-6 months. However, with spending rise, pressure on Arsenal to win Premier League and/or Champions League will be more.


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