Top five small spenders

Ri­vals, are clubs who, in com­par­i­son to their LIAM FLIN takes a look at five punch­ing well above their weight...

Late Tackle Football Magazine - - YOUNG STARS -

MONEY will buy you tro­phies. This a sen­ti­ment all too ex­hausted and all too real in mod­ern football, and one those hung up on nos­tal­gia feel in­cred­i­bly bit­ter about. For­merly a sport that prided it­self on the hum­ble begin­nings of plain black boots and re-worn shirts, fi­nan­cial mus­cle now out­weighs tac­ti­cal ge­nius and the big­ger clubs com­pete as ag­gres­sively off the pitch as on it.

Yet in this dis­mal back­drop to the football of to­day, there comes light in the form of the odd few clubs that have, through no choice of their own, re­mained loyal to the tra­di­tion of util­is­ing youth academies and bag­ging big tal­ents for bar­gain prices.

And so, to numb the pain of those mam­moth out­pour­ings of cash this sum­mer, I have com­piled a list of five clubs who have found suc­cess through spend­ing very lit­tle in com­par­i­son to their ri­vals…

Based in a com­mune home to less than 10,000 in­hab­i­tants, EA Guingamp are an atyp­i­cal mem­ber of France’s top flight and have climbed the foot­balling lad­der on a shoestring bud­get. Hav­ing only turned pro­fes­sional in 1984, the club saw their first pro­mo­tion to Ligue 1 in 1995, be­fore repli­cat­ing the feat two years ago.

Fol­low­ing rel­e­ga­tion from the na­tion’s sec­ond tier in 2010, the club have bounced back to se­cure two pro­mo­tions in three years and are now look­ing to ce­ment their place in the top di­vi­sion.With spend­ing in the last three sum­mer win­dows fail­ing to amount to £5m, Guingamp’s pol­icy is fo­cused around ob­tain­ing play­ers on frees, as well as loan deals.

Per­haps the hall­mark achieve­ment of the club’s re­cent sea­sons and a tes­ta­ment to the ef­fec­tive­ness of such a trans­fer strat­egy was the 2013-14 Coupe de France tri­umph which, in turn, se­cured Europa League qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the fol­low­ing sea­son.

Last cam­paign the club fin­ished 10th – six places higher than the pre­vi­ous sea­son and a sign im­prove­ments are be­ing made. The only down­fall of po­ten­tially de­fy­ing ex­pec­ta­tion, though, is los­ing your big­ger names. Most re­cently, striker Clau­dio Beau­vue has slipped through the club’s fin­gers and the sale to Lyon for a re­ported 5.5m could pose the big­gest test of the trans­fer pol­icy’s re­solve to date.

Ul­ti­mately though, Guingamp are the ideal blue­print for any side bat­tling with medi­ocrity lower down the di­vi­sions; sim­ply con­struct a rea­son­ably large squad by procur­ing the best free­bies and rely on qual­ity coach­ing, not fi­nances, to de­velop a com­pet­i­tive team.

One of the na­tion’s hard­est clubs to dis­like, Southamp­ton have cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of Eng­land’s holy-land with their dy­namic and ex­cit­ing style of play. Their busi­ness in the trans­fer mar­ket has been re­flected by their per­for­mances on the pitch and war­rants sim­i­lar praise.

Although ar­guably the wealth­i­est on this list, the Saints have fat­tened their wal­let through clever sales as op­posed to the ar­rival of a prom­i­nent in­vestor. And, de­spite the hype sur-

On a high: Carpi celebrate pro­mo­tion to Serie A

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