independent

Monday 21 April 2014

The Premier League’s biggest ever spenders

Fernando Torres
Fernando Torres

The transfer window has been quiet so far, but we can expect a flurry of action before the month is out. And some clubs are not shy when it comes to splashing the cash.

The transfer windows have become almost sideshows to the football itself as the increase in media coverage has meant the business periods have become intense for players, managers and supporters alike.

Here we take a look at the top five spenders since the Premier League was formed in 1992 thanks to transfermarkt.com. While few will be surprised that Chelsea top the list, Arsenal do not feature among the big spenders.

Arsene Wenger is famed for his reluctance to spend big, Mesut Ozil aside, and their £455 million spend is less than half of that of Chelsea.

Here are the top five spenders.

1. Chelsea - £904 million

Since Roman Abramovich purchased the club for £140 million in 2003 he has spared no expense in order to see the Blues dine at the top table. Criticised for the managerial merry-go-round which has been prevalent at the club, it is hard to argue with two Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups and of course the coveted Champions League.

Chelsea have a deficit of more than £650 million in transfers alone, more than even the free-spending Manchester City.

Best Buy – Didier Drogba: £24 million

A few contenders here, with Frank Lampard and Petr Cech in the running, but for his sheer importance to the team during their trophy haul, it is difficult to look past the £24 million purchase of Didier Drogba.

A colossus in attack, he was instrumental in Chelsea’s success, never more evident than his final game for the club in that dramatic win over Bayern Munich when his late equaliser rescued a draw before winning the resulting shoot-out. Always a man of the big occasion. And theatrics.

Worst Buy – Fernando Torres: £50 million

A no-brainer. His January move from Liverpool caused quite a stir but his dramatic loss of form has been one of the major talking points of the past couple of seasons. Looking bereft of confidence and pace he has managed just 18 goals in 95 appearances for Chelsea. By comparison, he bagged 65 goals for the Reds in just five more games on Merseyside.

2. Manchester City - £806 million

Like Chelsea, the club will point to silverware to justify their huge outlay on players and currently sit primed for another assault on the title even if their form away from home is a concern. The Abu Dhabi group have swelled the coffers to such an extent that they possess the strongest squad in England and will put that to the test against Barcelona in the Champions League knock-out stages.

Best Buy: Vincent Kompany: £6million

Manchester City’s best defender, the team leader and club captain. For all the attacking riches at their disposal, the 27 year-old Belgian is perhaps their most important player, highlighted by his absence at the start of the season. His fitness could have the single biggest influence on the destination of the Premier League trophy and the £6 million paid to Hamburg looks like a steal

Worst Buy: Emmanuel Adebayor: £24 million

Manchester City are not the only club that Adebayor has caused serious frustration, but the Citizens never got anywhere near value for their money. Was eventually frozen out before leaving for Spurs.

3. Liverpool - £650 million

The club has tried in vein to recapture their former glory days and have not been shy in getting the cheque book out to win their first Premier League title. The Reds have recouped nearly half of that figure on sales but current boss Brendan Rodgers can only look on with envy with the finances available to previous managers.

Best Buy: Sami Hyypia: £2.6 million

Could well be Luis Suarez in the not too distant future, but considering the fee and his contribution to the club, Sami Hyypia can’t be overlooked. The Finn was a rock at the back, forming a solid partnership with Stephane Henchoz and later Jamie Carragher and assuming the skipper’s armband on occasions.

Worst Buy: Andy Carroll £35 million

The only crumb of consolation is that they did take in £50 million on the same night for Fernando Torres, though that transfer and Liverpool’s desperation to sign a frontman led to a hugely inflated fee. Between injuries and form just never got to grips with the challenge at Anfield.

4. Manchester United - £576 million

Fourth on the list of spenders, the club’s youth policy, particularly during the 90’s meant they were less reliant on dipping into the transfer market as others. With 13 Premier League titles to their name, Alex Ferguson can reflect on more successes than failures on the transfer front.

Best Buy: Roy Keane £3.75 million

No shortage of candidates, but it was the early success that was the most crucial in building the club into a successful machine and from that perspective the Cork man was the leading light in driving his team forward. Not the most flash or technically gifted, his ability to get the most out of his team-mates and strike fear into the opposition underpinned their trophy haul.

Worst Buy: Juan Sebastian Veron £28.1 million

A supremely gifted footballer who failed to put his best foot forward in the English top-flight. Alex Ferguson tinkered with his traditional 4-4-2 accommodation in light of their European adventures and not only did the Argentinean fail to settle into the system, it also impacted negatively on Paul Scholes. In two years at Old Trafford each appearance worked out to cost the club more than £500,000 a game.

5. Tottenham Hotspur - £577 million

The North London club spent a good chunk of this amount in the summer with the finances from the Gareth Bale deal with Real Madrid, but as Andre Villas-Boas found to his cost, the new signings have struggled to come together as he would have hoped.

Best Buy: Gareth Bale £7million

Bought for what turned out to be £7million from Southampton in 2007, Spurs made a £78 million profit on the Welsh wizard when he departed for Real Madrid last summer. Averaging a goal every three and a half games for Spurs, he lit up the league with his barnstorming runs and eye for the spectacular goal.

Worst Buy: Sergei Rebrov £11 million

Again no shortage to choose from, but the Ukrainian gets our nod. Rebrov was expected to be an equivalent to Shevchenko when he arrived at Spurs from Dynamo Kiev, but that wasn’t how things panned out. He struggled in his first season and scored just one goal in 30 in his second, he won’t be remembered fondly by the White Hart Lane faithful.

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