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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Hey big spenders - so refined or profligates extraordinaire - Sportsmail

Sportsmail's club-by-club guide to what your team's squad costs

By Laura Williamson
Last updated at 8:58 AM on 05th February 2009

The Barclays Premier League clubs' squads cost a staggering £1.65billion to assemble. That's so much money it's difficult to comprehend - and it doesn't even take the players' wages into account.

The gulf between big spenders Chelsea (£200.7million) and the club who have shelled out the least, Hull City (17.4m), is a whopping £183.3m.

The Tigers doubled their record transfer fee by paying Fulham £5m for Jimmy Bullard last month, yet Chelsea casually splurged the equivalent of City's entire squad on Damien Duff in 2003.

Jimmy Bullard, Hull City's new signing
Damien Duff

Different world: Bullard and Duff in his prime

The Blues' owner, Roman Abramovich, also reportedly spent £17m on a Lucian Freud painting, Benefits Supervisor Sleeping (plus £30m on Andriy Shevchenko, who had us all sleeping with his lacklustre performances). Worlds apart? Yes, but only eight Premier League places.

There is a significant gap between the spending of Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham, Manchester City and Liverpool, whose squads all cost significantly more than £100m, and the rest of the Premier League clubs.

Judging by the league placings of Spurs and Manchester City, spending obviously doesn't always lead to results.

But which clubs have backed up their purchases with solid performances? Here's Sportsmail's guide to the Premier League cash cows.

1. Chelsea - £200.7m

League position: Third

Roman Abramovich's billions brought Chelsea two league titles, an FA Cup, two league cups and oh-so-close in the Champions League within four years.

Cash cow: Abramovich's billions are yet to yield the Champions League

Cash cow: Abramovich's billions are yet to yield the Champions League

But Frank Lampard's £11m move from West Ham, the home-grown talent of John Terry and Michael Ballack's free transfer from Bayern Munich seem shrewd buys compared to the proliferation of £15m-plus players driving their Bentleys into Chelsea's training ground.

2. Manchester United - £189.65m

League position: First

Sir Alex Ferguson's success has been built on players like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes who learnt their trade at Old Trafford, yet his current squad still cost £189.65m.

The £18.6m United spent on Michael Carrick and the £29.1m for Rio Ferdinand showed Ferguson is prepared to back his instincts, whilst the £12.25m paid to bring Ronaldo to Old Trafford was an absolute steal.

Nice little earner: Ronaldo and Ferguson

Nice little earner: Ronaldo and Ferguson

Harry Redknapp the manager of Tottenham Hotspur

Malcontent: Redknapp

3. Tottenham - £187.2m

League position: 14th

All the gear and no idea springs to mind, but this figure is skewed by the return of Jermain Defoe and Robbie Keane to White Hart Lane.

Even so, £187.2m represents a significant outlay for a Carling Cup trophy and a relegation battle.

Plus Redknapp is always complaining about the relatively small size of his first team squad.

4. Man City - £166.6m

League position: 10th

Yeah, yeah. Manchester City are in the early stages of a 10-year development plan. But £166.6m?

The jury's still out, but Man City's willingness to pay double figures for standard Premier League players seems a touch naive.

Bargain: Torres

Bargain: Torres

5. Liverpool - £140.6m

League position: Second

Fernando Torres' £22m record transfer fee is the most Liverpool have paid for a player and the Spain striker has been worth every penny.

But there are perhaps too many £10m-plus players in Rafa Benitez's squad who haven't set the world on fire, such as £12m Albert Riera.

Home-grown talents Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher remain at the heart of Liverpool's title challenge.

6. Newcastle - £81.6m

League position: 15th

Dennis Wise needs to take a long, hard look at himself if he's still in charge of transfers at St James' Park. More than £80m has got Newcastle absolutely nowhere.

Emile Heskey of Aston Villa

Solid: Heskey

7. Aston Villa - £81.55m

League position: Fourth

The £3.5m Villa paid for Emile Heskey sums up the club's general approach to transfer dealings - solid and unshowy.

Martin O'Neill's young guns represent great value for money as they challenge for a Champions League spot.

8. Arsenal - £74.4m

League position: Fifth

A squad comprising immense young talent would perhaps benefit from a few major signings to boost the club's progress, but this is not the Arsenal way. Debt-free and living by their own means, the Arsenal model is to be admired for its sustainability.

9. Sunderland - £68.5m

League position: 13th

Roy Keane spent a lot of cash as he brought top flight football back to Wearside and Sunderland are not quite showing the value for money to repay Niall Quinn's faith.

10. West Ham - £62.25m

League position: Eighth

The Hammers had a very large squad and Zola has been shrewd in off-loading fringe players on loan deals during the transfer window. West Ham's £62.25m squad seems about right for a club of its size.

Prudent: Moyes

Prudent: Moyes

11. Everton - £60.25m

League position: Sixth

David Moyes has done a magnificent job of making Everton a competitive Premier League outfit on limited resources.

The club's £60m outlay for consistently good Premier League finishes is highly commendable.

12. Portsmouth - £51.6m

League position: 16th

A £50m squad looked a bargain under Redknapp but seems excessive under Tony Adams, especially when you consider it cost almost double that of Stoke City, with whom Pompey are equal on points in the Premier League.

13. Middlesbrough - £47.4m

League position: 19th

At almost £50m Boro's squad should be strong enough to stay up, but it's not looking good.

14. Fulham - £45.2m

League position: Ninth

Another British manager proving prudent in his wheeler-dealings, Roy Hodgson joins David Moyes in doing well with relatively limited resources.

Solid profit: Palacios

Solid profit: Palacios

15. Wigan - £38.3m

League position: Seventh

Steve Bruce snapped up Wilson Palacios for £1m and Wigan made a £13m profit on the player when he moved to Spurs earlier this month, representing outstanding business for the Lancashire club.

The Latics were canny in recouping £3.5m for Emile Heskey and are doing extremely well in the Premier League considering the cost of their squad.

16. Bolton - £34.75m

League position: 12th

£12m on Johann Elmander? Hmmmm. Thus said, Bolton are good value if you compare their outlay with that of Newcastle, Sunderland or Middlesbrough.

Prize asset: Santa Cruz

Prize asset: Santa Cruz

17. Blackburn - £34.4m

League position: 18th

Roque Santa Cruz is Blackburn's biggest asset and the club did not cash in on him in the transfer window. Good on them.

The big spending days of Premier League success are gone but, if Sam Allardyce can pull the club out of its current slump, Blackburn should continue to do well on a relatively small budget.

18. West Brom - £32.1m

League position: 20th

With the most expensive squad of the three promoted teams, West Brom will perhaps suffer the heaviest blow if they go straight back down.

19. Stoke - £27m

League position: 17th

A £27m squad has held a £140.6m equivalent (Liverpool) to a 0-0 draw twice in the same season. It may not always be pretty, but Stoke are playing within their means.

20. Hull - £17.4m

League position: 11th

A squad that cost less than £10m before January performed far, far beyond anyone's expectations in the first half of the season. Even if the bubble has burst, Hull City deserve to be proud of themselves. Don't forget, the club nearly went bankrupt 10 years ago.