10) Manchester City 2009 – £119m
Big deals: Gareth Barry £11.82m, Roque Santa Cruz £18.02m Carlos Tevez £24.65m, Emmanuel Adebayor £24.65m, Kolo Toure £15.9m, Joleon Lescott £23.38m.
The Sheikhs arrived on the final day of the previous summer’s transfer window, bringing with them club-record signing Robinho. But they waited a year before going balls in by allowing Mark Hughes to spluff almost £120m.
Tevez was the biggest headline-grabber, coming across the city after his two-year loan at United was ended. It didn’t work out though for Hughes, who was sacked four months into the season after seven consecutive draws, while City narrowly missed out on a Champions League place.
9) Liverpool 2014 – 128m
Big deals: Rickie Lambert £4m, Adam Lallana £26.35m, Emre Can £10.2m, Lazar Markovic £21.25m, Dejan Lovren £21.51m, Divock Origi £10.74m, Alberto Moreno £15.3m, Mario Balotelli £17m.
Having mounted a thrilling and unexpected title challenge the season before, expectations were high for 2014-15, even despite the sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona. Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool’s transfer committee made nine new signings, but still the team equalled their worst league start for 50 years.
Lallana has since proved £25million to be money well spent, while Can and Lovren eventually overcame shaky starts. Balotelli was the biggest flop though Markovic pushed the Italian close for that dubious honour.
8) Manchester United 2015 – £132m
Big deals: Memphis Depay £28.9m, Matteo Darmian £15.3m, Bastian Schweinsteiger £7.65m, Morgan Schneiderlin £29.75m, Anthony Martial £51m
Louis van Gaal had taken a year to analyse the squad at his disposal, and reinforced it with a defender, a Sch-midfield, a winger and a striker.
Two years later, only two of those five players remain at the club, and it is by no means certain that either of them that do remain will still be there come the start of next season. Cheers Louis.
7) Barcelona 2014 – £141million
Big deals: Marc-André ter Stegen £10.2m, Ivan Rakitic £15.3m, Claudio Bravo £10.2m, Luis Suarez £69.46m, Jeremy Mathieu £17m, Thomas Vermaelen £16.15.
The summer of 2014 was one of rebuilding for Barcelona. After finishing as runners-up to Atletico Madrid – also their conquerers in the Champions Legaue at the quarter-final stage – Gerardo Martino was replaced by Luis Enrique, who immediately had to contend with the exits of Carles Puyol and Victor Valdes. Cesc Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez had left by the start of the season.
The fees received for Fabregas and Sanchez part-funded a splurge that brought two keepers, a couple of centre-halves, a deep-lying midfielder and a certain striker from Liverpool. It was money well spent, with Barcelona winning the treble in Enrique’s first season.
6) Manchester United 2016 – £145m
Big deals: Eric Bailly £30m, Henrikh Mkhitaryan £26.3m, Zlatan Ibrahimovic (no fee), Paul Pogba £89.25m
Jose Mourinho arrived in Manchester at the same time as Pep Guardiola and the United boss was presented with a similar transfer fund. The Premier League campaign was failure, though the season was saved by a couple of cup triumphs.
Mourinho’s recruitment was a success, with Bailly, Mkhitaryan and Ibrahimovic all settling in and contributing a huge amount to United’s ultimate success. Many still question Pogba due to the size of his fee but there seems little doubt that the midfielder will prove himself worth the outlay in the not-too-distant future.
5) Real Madrid 2013 – £149m
Big deals: Dani Carvajal £5.53m, Casemiro £5.1m, Isco £25.5m, Asier Illarramendi £27.2m, Gareth Bale £85.85m.
Over half of Real’s expenditure went on Bale and few would argue over the success of the Welshman in Madrid.
Real clawed back almost all of the money spent on Bale by selling Mesut Ozil to Arsenal and Gonzalo Higuain to Napoli. The investment didn’t reap immediate dividends domestically, but Carlo Ancelotti’s side won the Champions League in dramatic style, beating city rivals Atletico in the final.
4) Manchester City 2016 – £154m
Big deals: Ilkay Gundoğan £22.95m, Nolito £15.3m, Leroy Sane £42.5m, John Stones £47.26m, Claudio Bravo £15.3m.
Pep Guardiola was tempted to City by, among other things, a hefty transfer kitty, though the amount spent in taking the team from fourth under Manuel Pellegrini to third in his first season is likely to be dwarfed by the bundle of cash presented to him this summer.
Sane was the biggest success, with the jury still out on Stones. Both were bought with the future in mind, but more immediate success was demanded of Nolito and Bravo. They flopped, spectacularly in Bravo’s case.
3) Manchester United 2014 – £166m
Big deals: Ander Herrera £30.6m, Luke Shaw £31.88m, Marcos Rojo £17m, Angel Di María £63.75m, Daley Blind £14.88m, Falcao loan fee £6.46m
With Van Gaal arriving to replace the hapless David Moyes, United’s transfer window could not possibly work out as badly as the previous summer when Marouane Fellaini was the only arrival of note.
The two highest profile deals – Di Maria and Falcao – were disastrous. The others took at least a year to settle too, with Shaw yet to demonstrate whether he ever will.
2) Manchester City 2015 £179m
Big deals: Raheem Sterling £44m, Fabian Delph £8.13m, Patrick Roberts £12.75m, Nicolás Otamendi £37.91m, Kevin De Bruyne £62.9m.
Despite splashing the cash during the summer, City’s campaign was notable for nothing other than how the side seemed to take their foot off the gas once it was announced on February 1 that Pellegrini’s days were numbered.
The biggest purchase, De Bruyne, is proving to be a bargain, while Sterling still has plenty to prove. Otamendi still looks vastly overpriced.
1) Real Madrid 2009 – £218m
Big deals: Kaka £55.25m, Cristiano Ronaldo £79.9m, Xabi Alonso £30.09m, Karim Benzema £29.75m
When Pellegrini reflects on his managerial career, he can’t say he hasn’t been backed in the transfer market. Ahead of 2009-10, in response to Barcelona’s Treble the previous season, Real presented Pellegrini with eight new recruits, but even with the quality of Kaka, Alonso and Benzema in addition to the world-record signing of Ronaldo, the Madrid side fared little better, finishing second again in La Liga despite achieving their highest ever points total.
Ronaldo did ok, though…