How much does a league title cost?
You must invest to succeed. This is a key principle in business, and undoubtedly one that can be applied to soccer – especially when it comes to winning titles. That said, the biggest spenders don't always achieve success. At Goalnomics we analysed the investment, in terms of signings, made at the start of last season by each club included in the top four European leagues. We then compared that investment with their final league standings. The aim is to resolve a complex question – how much does it cost to win a league title?
How much was invested by each club from Europe's top leagues? (2015/16)
Investment in signings
Each box in this graphic corresponds to a club, and its size is proportionate to the amount invested in player signings. You can move over the boxes to view more details and click to see more information about each league.
Investment in signings for the top four leagues: €3180.14M
Investment in signings:
Biggest investors (Champions)
|1||Manchester City||€203.70M||Premier League||4º|
|2||Manchester United||€146.20M||Premier League||5º|
|4||Atlético de Madrid||€136.11M||La Liga||3º|
|7||Newcastle United||€108.26M||La Liga||18º|
|25||Leicester City||€50.16M||Premier League||1º|
The biggest spender does not always win
In the last season at least, half of the clubs with the most investments in the four major European leagues became champions. Bayern Munich and Juventus made the most investments in Germany and Italy, and managed to win the cups. On the other hand, FC Barcelona and Leicester City won cups at home without being the top investors.
The Premier League spent more than double in Serie A signings in the 2015 summer, becoming the second championship cup with the most investments. Almost 1.45 billion euros in the British cup, against about 665 million euros invested by Italian clubs. Next comes La Liga, with 600 million euros, followed by Bundesliga, with a little over 465 million euros. However, only one English club has won the Champions League cup in the past five years. That club is Chelsea, in the 2011/12 season.
The historic third place
Valencia and Atletico Madrid have for years battled for La Liga’s historic third place classification. These two Spanish teams were the top investors last summer with signings to strengthen their ranks. With the Mestalla stadium, Valencia CF was the top spender, paying 143.59 million euros in signings. Atletico Madrid invested 136.11 million euros, which allowed it to finish La Liga in third place, besides playing the EUFA Champions League final. Valencia’s fortune was very different: it finished La Liga in twelfth place.
Sporting de Gijón was the only club of the four major European leagues that did not invest a single euro in the 2015 summer to reinforce their ranks. However, the club did suffer to remain in the first division, managing to escape from being relegated.
This is how much Manchester City invested in the last season in signings throughout Europe. However, its strategy did not guarantee returns as it finished the Premier League in fourth place.
At the bottom
It is surprising that Aston Villa, ranked last in the past Premier League season, initially invested a whooping 66.45 million euros in signings. Their counterparts in the other leagues were far away from the British when it comes to spending millions in signings. El Levante invested 6.55 million, Hellas Verona 6.3 million, and Hannover 96 spent 18.4 million. However, they still ended up having the same faith.
Although Juventus was the champion that spent the least among all the major European leagues in the 2014/15 season, during the following season they paid 135 million in player signings in order to maintain their top position in Italy’s Serie A. La Vecchina Signora was therefore the domestic league title winner that spent the most out of all the major leagues in Europe during the 2015/16 season.
Undoubtedly, Leicester City was Europe’s great surprise last season by winning the cup. It was also the most profiting champion: it invested 50.16 million euros that helped them become champions.