Yes, money can buy you success
Big spenders over CHRIS DUNLAVY looks at Europe’s the years and what they got for their money
HAT time do Spurs kick off? Every 15 minutes. Why did the chicken cross the road? Because he didn’t want to be seen on a Spurs shirt.
And so on. After a 6-0 battering at the hands of Man City, Tottenham have become to jokers what a three-legged gazelle is to a cheetah.
And the reason they’re such easy meat is the incredible £107m spending spree they went on this summer.
With £80m from Gareth Bale burning a whole in his pocket, shrewd businessman ™ Daniel Levy couldn’t wait to sign every halfdecent player under the sun and duly paid top dollar for the lot.
Their reward – humiliation at the Etihad and nine Premier League goals scored up to that game – one fewer than Sergio Aguero had managed on his own.
As Joey Barton said: “Lamela £30m? Soldado £26m? Paulinho £17m? £107m total spend? Somebody has had Spurs kegs down with these signings.”
Of course, Spurs aren’t the first club to try and buy success. Here are some whose cash yielded glory… and others who suffered far worse than Tottenham. GOOGLE the phrase ‘chequebook manager’ and you will undoubtedly see a picture of Sven Goran Eriksson. Give him a wedge and he’ll build you a good team. Take it away and he’s basically a nice bloke with an interest in ladies.
Luckily for him, Lazio president Sergio Cragnotti was only too willing to oblige, obliterating Italian transfer records on a weekly basis.
Seba Veron cost £18m, Christian Vieri £19m, Hernan Crespo a world-record beating £35m. Then there was Diego Simeone, Alessandro Nesta, Sinisa Mihajlovic, Dejan Stankovic, Pavel Nedved, Marcelo Salas and Simone Inzaghi. Eriksson spent £50m in the summer of 1998 alone.
The results, though, were impressive: a first Serie A title in 26 years, an Italian Cup, the European Cup Winners Cup, a UEFA Cup final and victory over Manchester United in the European Super Cup.
Alas, Cragnotti was done for fraud in 2004, pulled the plug on Lazio and the stars swiftly hit the road. LAYING down the getrich-quick blueprint that Man City and PSG would follow, the arrival of Roman Abramovich turned Chelsea from entertaining dilettantes to heavyweight contenders.
Admittedly, their transfer strategy owed a lot to supermarket sweep, with plenty of duds (Andrej Shevchenko, Alexei Smertin, Asier Del Horno, Mateja Kezman) to point and laugh at.
But in the main, their ability to outspend anyone in the world was always going to yield success and after Jose Mourinho got his hands on the treasure chest, two league titles duly followed. CAN money buy success? That’s a bit like saying ‘Can a tree crush a car?’ If it’s a bonsai, probably not. If it’s a giant redwood, your Fiesta is history. And when it comes to throwing money around, Man City are definitely the biggest tree in the forest. Since 2008, two different owners – Thaksin Shinawatra and Shiekh Mansour – have emptied their wallets at the Etihad.
The result has been the biggest stockpiling of talent in football history with City spending the GDP of Liberia – yes, honestly – on players.
Two summers running, Mark Hughes tried his best to ensure it would come to naught, singing the likes of Robinho (£32.5m), Wayne Bridge (£12m), Craig Bellamy (£14m) in 2009, before adding Emmanuel Adebayor (£25m) and Roque Santa Cruz (£18m) to his steaming pile.
But Roberto Mancini eventually sent some scouts to Europe, stopped burning Mansour’s money and brought the FA Cup and Premier League title to the Etihad.
Which, let’s be fair, is the least you’d expect for £930m. FIFTY penny chews? Or one Lindor? Such is the problem faced by managers with a budget to blow.
In 2001, Juventus most definitely plumped for the luxury option, splashing an incredible £110m on just four players.
The first was Marcelo Salas (yes, again) who couldn’t stay fit to save his life and loafed off