The 2013 transfer window should be something pretty special, and that’s not just because of all the potentially exciting deals that should go through.
Despite agents, managers and players across the continent all bracing themselves for the flurry of winter activity that it is the mid-season window, 2013 marks the 10th anniversary of the transfer window.
In 2003 the rules were changed to ensure that all transfer dealings were carried out either in the summer or in January alone, leaving the rest of the season free of speculation and allowing everyone to focus on the football. Or at least that was the theory….
So, since it’s introduction in 2002/03 right up to the summer window just gone over £4.4 billion has been spent - but who has splashed the cash and who has pulled off the best deal?
Luckily for you, GMF has put together a list of the top 6 biggest spenders over the last decade, and taken a look at if they have spent their money wisely. All figures courtesy of transfermarkt.co.uk.
1 – Chelsea – Total spend: £861,498,000
Biggest spend: £151,536,000 (2003/04)
Most expensive deal: Fernando Torres, £50 million (2011)
Worst deal: Andriy Shevchenko, £30 million (2006/07)
Average season spend: £78,318,000
Roman Abramovich’s millions have driven Chelsea to the very top of the English game, and it is hard to deny their impact when you take a look at their trophy cabinet.
Of course with Abramovich’s millions come his idiosyncrasies, which mainly consists of firing managers at will and buying players on a whim.
However the fact is that when Roberto di Matteo was fired, Chelsea fans directed their anger at the incoming Rafa Benitez rather than the Russian – that shows how much he has done, especially in the transfer market.
2 – Manchester City - £662,521,200
Biggest spend: £160,556,000 (2010/11)
Most expensive deal: Sergio Aguero, £39.5 million (2011/12)
Worst deal: Robinho, £32.5 million (2008/09)
Average yearly spend: £60,229,200
Another club bankrolled by a wealthy investor from overseas, Manchester City have also succeeded on the back of having millions pumped into their team.
Under manager Roberto Mancini, the Citizens claimed their first league title in 44 years last term, but can’t quite crack Europe amidst rumours the spending sprees are now over. A few notable flops but by and large they have spent well in recent years, albeit in an inflated market.
3 – Liverpool, £533,683,040
Biggest spend: £85,822,000 (2010/11)
Most expensive deal: Andy Carroll, £35 million (2010/11)
Worst deal: Andy Carroll, £35 million (2010/11)
Average yearly spend: £48,516,640
Liverpool spent fairly consistently across the first part of the last decade as Rafa Benitez moulded a squad capable of winning the Champions League – that’s not to say he didn’t sign a few turkeys in his time - however after the Spaniard’s departure the club’s spending became unstable, leading to a few embarrassing gaffes.
The most obvious coming in 2011 as Andy Carroll, Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing joined the club as part of the moneyball philosophy with Damien Comolli and Kenny Dalglish overseeing everything. That fact that all three have failed despite costing a combined £73 million tells its own story.
4 – Tottenham - £496,663,200
Biggest spend: £125,400,000
Most expensive deal: Luka Modric, £16.75 million (2008/09)
Worst deal: David Bentley, £16.5 million (2008/09)
Average yearly spend: £45,151,200
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is known as a shrewd operator in the transfer market (that’s putting it kindly) and while he isn’t afraid to splash the cash, he always makes sure he gets a good price for players he is selling on.
Spurs fans were left frustrated as a record deal for Joao Moutinho fell through over the summer, but there is no doubt the north London club’s increased activity in recent years has helped fire them into the mix for Champions League qualification.
5 – Manchester United - £484,884,400
Biggest spend: £91,080,000 (2007/08)
Most expensive deal: Dimitar Berbatov, £30.75 million (2008/09)
Worst deal: Owen Hargreaves, £17 million (2007/08)
Average yearly spend: £44,080,400
In recent years, Manchester United fans have been forced to adapt to not necessarily being the biggest fish in the pool any more. United have only spent more than £60 million across one season in the last ten years – something Chelsea have easily done in the last three.
Doubts over the Glazer family’s spending power have been allayed a little by heavy investment in youth in recent years, while the capture of Robin van Persie showed they can still compete for champagne players despite spending beer money.
6 – Arsenal - £300,520,000
Biggest spend: £56,958,000 (2010/11)
Most expensive deal: Santi Cazorla, (up to) £20 million (2012/13)
Worst deal: Jose Antonio Reyes, (up to) £20 million (2003/04)
Average yearly spend: £27,320,000
Coming into his 16th year in charge, Arsene Wenger is under unprecedented pressure to spend in the transfer market, although history shows he is uncomfortable doing just that.
Given their achievements in recent years, the amount they have spent on new signings is remarkably low, evidence if ever their needs be that to spend big isn’t necessary to spend well. That is a message Wenger is preaching, although Arsenal fans aren’t hearing it at the moment.