Does money buy success? For those who don’t believe it, think again.
Owners of the most expensive teams in world football will know when Chelsea play Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League final this Saturday.
Earning the highest honor in European club football would be the ultimate reward for billionaire supporters who have invested hundreds of millions in the construction of their teams and football activities.
Roman Abramovich, the Russian-Israeli mogul who bought Chelsea in 2003, hopes for a repeat of 2012, the club’s first and only triumph in the competition.
Meanwhile City, under the control of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the billionaire deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, will hope for the first Champions League win after securing his third Premier League title in four years. The two owners have spent around £ 1.6bn net of players sold since taking the helm.
Saturday’s match marks only the third Champions League final between two English clubs.
While the first two English-language finals – in 2008 and 2019 – were more than a decade apart, it took only two years from the last for two other Premier League teams to reach the final. of Europe’s leading competition.
Deloitte’s FT Football League analysis shows that in the top 15 teams in Europe, English clubs have earned on average more revenues than continental rivals in nine of the past 16 seasons. And Premier League dominance is growing. English clubs have surpassed the revenues of their European rivals in six of the past seven seasons, bolstered by the league’s global appeal and billions of pounds in broadcast revenues.
“English clubs, especially those with benevolent owners willing to subscribe to investments on the ground, have a potential advantage over other European clubs,” said Kieran Maguire, professor of football finance and accounting at the ‘University of Liverpool. “The Premier League transfer agreement gives it a huge advantage over the rest of the Uefa nations competing for European trophies.”
While the pandemic swept up to € 8.1 billion of revenues for top-level clubs across Europe in the last two seasons, greatly limiting the transfer market, City and Chelsea have not been chained together.
According to data from the website Transfermarkt.com, Chelsea have spent more than £ 220 million this season to bolster their squad, about the same amount as Barcelona and Juventus combined – ranking third and fourth in the league’s spending class. transfer.
Manchester City have invested £ 150 million in new players, including € 68 million for defender Rúben Dias from Portugal’s Benfica and € 23 million for midfielder Ferran Torres who has scored four goals in six games in the Champions League League.
Chelsea were the only club to spend more than £ 100m net of players sold while City were only shy of that at £ 97m, the analysis found. In contrast, Germany’s Borussia Mönchengladbach, who also played in the Champions League this season, have spent just £ 12 million to sign fresh with no income received for departing players – about 13 times less than the club’s northern club. England.
But costly signatures are not the only reason for performance on the field. Investment in training academies has helped ensure that Chelsea and City have younger players on average in terms of the team value of several rivals. Phil Foden of the city, 20, a graduate of the academy, has played in all 12 games so far, scoring three goals, and is already worth £ 72 million, according to Transfermarkt. While Chelsea’s Mason Mount, just two years older, has scored twice in 10 games and is worth £ 67.5 million.
Collectively, these valuable young players have influenced the club’s performance and kept the teams young. With an average age of 27, City and Chelsea are significantly younger than Real Madrid, PSG and Juventus of Italy. Although, outside of the top 10 European clubs for returns, Barcelona had the lowest median age – at 24 years for their first team.
The Champions League finalists also have the first team value with an average market value of around £ 30m per player. By contrast, PSG, where Kylian Mbappé plays for £ 144,000, has an average player value of half – less than any English club he has played in this year’s competition.
On paper, City is the strongest team. Uefa ranks Manchester club third and Chelsea 12th in Europe. Nationally, City have recovered the Premier League title from Liverpool and have retained the League Cup trophy. Chelsea lost in the FA Cup final, another domestic trophy, and finished fourth in the league.
But Chelsea’s results have picked up since the London club took on Thomas Tuchel, the former PSG manager who lost the 2020 final against Bayern Munich in Germany to replace Frank Lampard in January, when the club was languishing in ninth place. Tuchel’s task is to prevent city supercoach Pep Guardiola from becoming only the fourth manager to win the Champions League three times.
Recent evidence suggests that Chelsea are capable of anger, having twice beaten City in national competitions in the last two months.
“We know that in the end anything can happen. Luck is an important part and the mental approach – who can handle the pressure and the small details.” Tuchel said this week. “Man City is the benchmark, they’re also the champions and we’re the guys who want to hunt and who want to cover the distance.”
More information from Chris Campbell