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