Manchester City could surge to the top of this list at the rate they’re going this summer. Not many title winners have got it right in the following window.
Here are all the Premier League champions since 2000, ranked on how successful their transfer business the following summer turned out…
21) 2013: Manchester United
Players signed: Guilermo Varela (Penarol, £2m), Marouane Fellaini (£27m)
The summer Fergie and David Gill left, to be replaced by David Moyes and Ed Woodward, who told everyone he was jet-setting on ‘urgent transfer business’ before overpaying on deadline day for Fellaini. A shambles all round.
20) 2015: Chelsea
Players signed: Nathan Atlético (Paranaense, £4,5m), Joseph Colley (Brommapojkarna, undisclosed), Asmir Begovic (Stoke City, £8m), Danilo Pantic (Partizan, £1,25m), Baba Rahman (Augsburg, £14m), Pedro (Barcelona, £21,4m), Kenedy (Fluminense, £6,3m), Papy Djilobodji (Nantes, £2,7m), Michael Hector (Reading, £4m), Falcao (Monaco, loan)
Position as defending champions: 10th
No wonder Jose began to unravel. Fourteen million quid for Baba Rahman. So much mediocrity.
19) 2009: Manchester United
Players signed: Antonio Valencia (Wigan, £15m), Michael Owen (Newcastle, free), Gabriel Obertan (Bordeaux, undisclosed), Mame Biram Diouf (Molde, undisclosed)
This was the summer Fergie sold Cristiano Ronaldo and signed Owen from a brochure. Good times.
18) 2016: Leicester
Players signed: Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover, undisclosed), Luis Hernández (Sporting Gijon, free), Raul Uche, (Rayo Vallecano, undisclosed), Nampalys Mendy (Nice, £13m), Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, £16m), Bartosz Kapustka (Cracovia, £2,5m), Islam Slimani (Sporting Lisbon £28m)
You can’t blame Leicester for spending the summer of 2016 off their t*ts, which is certainly apparent in their recruitment.
17) 2017: Chelsea
Players signed: Willy Caballero (Manchester City, free), Antonio Rudiger (Roma, £29m), Tiemoue Bakayoko (Monaco, £40m), Alvaro Morata (Real Madrid, £58m), Davide Zappacosta (Torino, £23m), Danny Drinkwater (Leicester, £35m)
Antonio Conte spent £185million, wasting all of it aside from the Rudiger fee. They still can’t get shot of Bakayoko, but at least they finally stop paying Danny Drinkwater’s salary next week.
16) 2012: Manchester City
Players signed: Jack Rodwell (Everton, £12m), Richard Wright (unattached, free), Scott Sinclair (Swansea, £6.2m), Maicon (Inter Milan, £5m), Matija Nastasic (Fiorentina, £12m plus Stefan Savic), Javi Garcia (Benfica, £17m)
Tells you everything when, arguably, the most useful signing was a third-choice keeper.
15) 2014: Manchester City
Players signed: Bacary Sagna (Arsenal, free), Fernando (Porto, £12m), Willy Caballero (Malaga, £4,4m), Bruno Zuculini (Racing Club, £1.5m), Eliaquim Mangala (Porto, £41.9m), Frank Lampard (Chelsea, free)
Not City’s finest work. Mangala… Jesus wept.
14) 2010: Chelsea
Players signed: Yossi Benayoun Liverpool £5.5m), Tomas Kalas (Sigma Olomouc, £5.2m), Ramires (Benfica, £18m), Matej Delac (Inter Zapresic (£800,000)
13) 2002: Arsenal
Players signed: Pascal Cygan (Lille, £2.1m), Gilberto Silva (Atletico Mineiro, £4,5m), Rami Shaaban (Djurgarden, undisclosed)
Cygan was signed to replace the retiring Tony Adams. A tough gig, and it showed. Gilberto was an inspired signing. Shaaban was not.
12) 2000: Manchester United
Players signed: Fabian Barthez (Monaco, £7.8m)
The France keeper was great for United – until he wasn’t. Then he was very bad. But his first season went swimmingly and it appeared United had found their replacement for Peter Schmeichel at the second attempt.
11) 2005: Chelsea
Players signed: Asier del Horno (Athletic Bilbao, £8m), Lassana Diarra (Le Havre, £1m), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Man City, £21m), Michael Essien (Lyon, £24.4m)
The signing of Essien ahead of Man Utd rescues an otherwise pretty shonky summer. Still, they won the title again.
10) 2003: Manchester United
Players signed: David Bellion (Sunderland, £2m), Eric Djemba-Djemba (Nantes, £3.5m), Tim Howard (NY/NJ MetroStars, £2.3m), Kleberson (Atletico Paranaense, £5.93m), Cristiano Ronaldo (Sporting Lisbon, £12.24m)
Four out of five were never good enough to play for United. Fortunately, the fifth turned out to be one of the greatest of all time.
9) 2008: Manchester United
Players signed: Fabio (Fluminense, undisclosed), Rafael (Fluminense, undisclosed), Dimitar Berbatov (Tottenham, £30.75m)
Rafael should have been United’s right-back for years but Louis van Gaal didn’t fancy him. Berbatov was a majestic player at times, United playing with him, Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney in the front four. F*** me.
8) 2018: Manchester City
Players signed: Riyad Mahrez (Leicester, £60m)
City also signed a lot of talent for their academy this summer, who’ll never get near the first team but they’ll still be sold on for a profit.
7) 2011: Manchester United
Players signed: Phil Jones (Blackburn Rovers, £16m), Ashley Young (Aston Villa, £18m), David de Gea (Atletico Madrid, £17m)
Jones started well and progressively got worse. Young and De Gea had torrid starts before both established themselves as key players.
6) 2001: Manchester United
Players signed: Roy Carroll (Wigan, undisclosed), Ruud van Nistelrooy (PSV, £19m), Juan Sebastián Veron (Lazio, £29.1m), Laurent Blanc (Inter Milan, £2.5m)
Van Nistelrooy was absolutely brilliant, Veron should have been brilliant too. Alas, he was not.
5) 2007: Manchester United
Players signed: Owen Hargreaves (Bayern Munich, £17m), Anderson (Porto), Nani (Sporting Lisbon, £30m combined with Anderson), Tomasz Kuszczak (West Brom, £2.1m)
Hargreaves might have replaced Roy Keane were he not made of balsawood. Nani was a good buy. Anderson was, well, Anderson.
4) 2020: Liverpool
Players signed: Kostas Tsimikas (Olympiacos, £11.75m), Thiago (Bayern Munich, £20m), Diogo Jota (Wolves, £41m)
Their recruitment certainly wasn’t the reason for a pretty woeful title defence.
3) 2019: Manchester City
Players signed: Angelino (PSV, £5.35m), Rodri (Atletico Madrid, £62.8m), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew, £7m), Joao Cancelo (Juventus, £60m)
Like many of Pep’s recruits, Rodri and Cancelo didn’t shine immediately but then became indispensable.
2) 2004: Arsenal
Players signed: Robin van Persie (Feyenoord, £3m), Manuel Almunia (Celta Vigo, undisclosed), Mathieu Flamini (Marseille, undisclosed), Emmanuel Eboue (Beveren, £1.5m)
Two brilliant signings, one useful one and another who told the queen he wanted to quit football and look after her corgis.
1) 2006: Chelsea
Players signed: Michael Ballack (Bayern Munich, free), Salomon Kalou (Feyenoord, £9m), Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan, £30m), John Obi Mikel (Lyn, £4m), Khalid Boulahrouz (Hamburg, £8.5m), Ashley Cole (Arsenal, £5m plus William Gallas)
The biggest signing was the biggest flop, but Ballack, Cole, Mikel and Kalou were inspired pieces of business. Boulahrouz, anyone?