Football's riches means underdogs stand little chance of league success

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In the past few years, across Europe's major five leagues, some success stories have been heartwarming.

Underdogs with nothing but grit and a determined manager have won the league title, with their squads then stripped away by bigger clubs as they return back to complete the status quo.

Recently, though, the number of 'lesser teams' winning titles or even coming close is falling. This is compounded by the fact that Manchester City, the summer's biggest spenders, sit atop the Premier League, and look in impervious form off the back of spending £110 million on Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne.


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Realistically, despite what fans might say, money wins the Premier League title. In the Ferguson era, the league title would largely be won either by United or Chelsea, whom boasted the most money throughout the noughties.

However, when City were taken over by their own set of billionaires, there has been a shift in power - the Citizens have won two of the past four league titles, whilst Ferguson's United and Chelsea won the other two.

Money is not always the answer, of course - we have seen that with Liverpool's £292 million outlay, with the vast majority of that money spent on anything but world-class stars.

We can also use Arsenal as an example, who never seem to want to invest in more than one player per transfer window.

Whilst this has lead to indisputable continuity in the team selection, they have also failed to win the league, and usually resign to their status as a top four team.

And the rule doesn't apply to just the Premier League - Borussia Dortmund won back-to-back league titles before the money-machine of Bayern Munich depleted their squad, reinforced their own and have won three titles in a row.

The gap has never been more emphasised than with the 5-1 drumming at the weekend. Schalke and Wolfsburg have also won relatively recent league titles, but a lack of funding means they were resigned to being selling clubs and have had to settle for Champions League spots at best.

Atletico Madrid are another prime example. Having won the 2012/13 league title, their squad was raided by Chelsea, who took three of their best players, and the Madrid club were pushed back to their status as the 'best of the rest' in Spain.

But no example is as fine as Montpellier. Having won the Ligue 1 title in Ancelotti's first season in charge of PSG, and having the budget of a Championship club, their squad was stripped and they now flirt with relegation on a regular basis.

A regular rebuttal for football fans is 'at least we didn't buy the title', but it's fast becoming the case that without money, you stand very little chance of success.

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