The biggest European spender in every season since 1992/93

Date published: Thursday 9th May 2019 6:49

We have looked at the biggest spenders in every Premier League season since 1992/93. Now for the entire bloody continent.

 

1992/93
The biggest spenders: Inter Milan
The spend: £33.4m
The closest Premier League team: Blackburn (£8.46m)
The most notable signings: Igor Shalimov (£10.8m), Darko Pancev (£10.8m), Matthias Sammer (£5.4m), Ruben Sosa (£5.4m), Salvatore Schillaci (£900,000)
The finish: 2nd in Serie A, no European football

An eighth-placed finish in 1991/92 saw Inter part with the German triumvirate of Jurgen Klinsmann, Lothar Matthaus and Andreas Brehme in the summer, enabling them to bring in yet more foreign imports. Shalimov (nine goals in 32 games) and Sosa (20 goals in 28 games) helped fire them to within four points of bitter rivals and champions AC Milan.

 

1993/94
The biggest spenders
: Lazio
The spend: £21.78m
The closest Premier League team: Blackburn (£8.5m)
The most notable signings: Alen Boksic (£9.9m), Luca Marchegiani (£6.3m), Pierluigi Casiraghi (£4.05m), Roberto di Matteo (£1.5m)
The finish: 4th in Serie A, UEFA Cup second round

Dino Zoff spent a bloody bucketload to take Lazio from 5th to 4th, only to see Serie A rivals Inter lift the UEFA Cup after their embarrassing second-round exit to Boavista.

 

1994/95
The biggest spenders: Real Madrid
The spend: £12.6m
The closest Premier League team: Everton (£10.9m)
The most notable signings: Michael Laudrup (£8.6m), Fernando Redondo (£3.2m), Jose Amavisca (£810,000)
The finish: 1st in La Liga, UEFA Cup last 16

Five seasons without a La Liga title was brought to an end when Jorge Valdano was allowed to wave money at everyone like sh*t on a stick. Not that it helped them in the UEFA Cup against *checks notes* Odense?! Oh dear, more like.

 

1995/96
The biggest spenders: Inter Milan
The spend: £26.3m
The closest Premier League team: Newcastle (£24.5m)
The most notable signings: Paul Ince (£9.5m), Caio (£6.8m), Javier Zanetti (£5.9m), Roberto Carlos (£3.15m)
The finish: 7th in Serie A, UEFA Cup first round

Ah. That’s not gone well. Roy Hodgson ended the season as the manager of the most frivolous club in the entire world after being drafted in to rescue them from the bottom of Serie A in October 1995. He dragged them to 7th and European qualification (thanks to Juventus winning the Champions League), but Swiss minnows Lugano had already ended their UEFA Cup adventure at the first hurdle by the time he was appointed.

 

1996/97
The biggest spenders: Real Madrid
The spend: £54.5m
The closest Premier League team: Newcastle (£17.5m)
The most notable signings: Predrag Mijatovic (£12.6m), Davor Suker (£9.9m), Ze Roberto (£8.1m), Clarence Seedorf (£7.7m), Roberto Carlos (£5.4m)
The finish: 1st in La Liga, no European football

Their lowest La Liga finish in 19 years of 6th would simply not do for a club that craved the spotlight. So Fabio Capello went and spent over £50m to win the title on the final day despite a 4-0 defeat at Celta Vigo. Justice for the index.

 

1997/98
The biggest spenders: Inter Milan
The spend: £65.4m
The closest Premier League team: Newcastle (£24.7m)
The most notable signings: Ronaldo (£25.2m), Alvaro Recoba (£15.3m), Paulo Sousa (£6.8m), Ze Elias (£5.04m)
The finish: 2nd in Serie A, UEFA Cup winners

Money in Italy really was mad for a while, wasn’t it? Inter pretty much trumped everyone’s overall spend solely with the world-record addition of Ronaldo from Barcelona, and the Brazilian returned the favour with 34 goals in all competitions. Juventus still pipped them to the title by five points, but Lazio were beaten 3-0 in the UEFA Cup final.

 

1998/99
The biggest spenders: Lazio
The spend: £92.7m
The closest Premier League team: Manchester United (£29.35m)
The most notable signings: Christian Vieri (£25.6m), Marcelo Salas (£15.6m), Sinisa Mihajlovic (£15.3m), Ivan de la Pena (£13.5m)
The finish: 2nd in Serie A, UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup winners (cup winners cup winners cup winners etc)

Well this is just silly now. Look at that firepower, added to a squad that already boasted Alessandro Nesta, Pavel Nedved and Alen Boksic. But Milan won Serie A by a solitary point, with victory in the last UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup before the tournament was abolished providing scant consolation.

 

1999/2000
The biggest spenders: Inter Milan
The spend: £127.9m
The closest Premier League team: Liverpool (£35.9m)
The most notable signings: Christian Vieri (£32m), Clarence Seedorf (£21.6m), Angelo Peruzzi (£17.1m), Christian Panucci (£8.1m)
The finish: 4th in Serie A, no European football

Here they are again, the lads. Have you ever seen anything more ‘1990s’ in your entire life? Those signings; the fact they still finished 14 points behind champions Lazio; that Marcello Lippi was their manager.

Perfect *Italian chef kiss*.

 

2000/01
The biggest spenders: Roma
The spend: £93.06m
The closest Premier League team: Leeds (£48.7m)
The most notable signings: Gabriel Batistuta (£23.5m), Walter Samuel (£18.72m), Jonathan Zebina (£16.6m), Emerson (£16.2m)
The finish: 1st in Serie A, UEFA Cup fourth round

He remains the most expensive 31-year-old in history, with Batigol finally claiming his Scudetto after nine years of service to Fiorentina. Roma, beaten by eventual champions Liverpool in the fourth round of the UEFA Cup, pipped Juventus, Roma, Parma and Inter to the title despite their own significant spends.

 

2001/02
The biggest spenders: Juventus
The spend: £161.2m
The closest Premier League team: Manchester United (£58.6m)
The most notable signings: Gianluigi Buffon (£32.6m), Pavel Nedved (£25m), Marcelo Salas (£22.5m), Lilian Thuram (£22m)
The finish: 1st in Serie A, Champions League second group stage

It was almost a decade after the Champions League was established that a club actually in the competition spent the most of any side across Europe. Juventus, funded by the world-record sale of Zinedine Zidane, spent enough to regain the title from Roma, but finished bottom of a Champions League group containing Bayer Leverkusen, Deportivo La Coruna and Arsenal. Silly thing to do, really.

 

2002/03
The biggest spenders: Inter
The spend: £98.6m
The closest Premier League team: Manchester United (£30.6m)
The most notable signings: Hernan Crespo (£32.4m), Fabio Cannavaro (£20.7m), Francesco Coco (£20.2m), Matias Almeyda (£19.9m)
The finish: 2nd in Serie A, Champions League semi-finals

Massimo Moratti was going through the most expensive mid-life crisis in history, wasn’t he? Such ridiculous expenditure returned just two UEFA Cups from 1991 to 2005, with the 2002/03 season perhaps their most heartbreaking in terms of near-misses.

 

2003/04
The biggest spenders: Chelsea
The spend: £121.5m
The most notable signings: Damien Duff (£17m), Hernan Crespo (£16.8m), Claude Makelele (£16m), Adrian Mutu (£15.8m), Juan Sebastian Veron (£15m)
The finish: 2nd in the Premier League, Champions League semi-finals

Morning, Roman. Russian oligarch Abramovich was so entertained by Manchester United’s Champions League quarter-final second-leg win over Real Madrid in April 2003 that he decided to purchase a Premier League club of his very own, and so the financial goalposts were irrevocably moved. But Chelsea only managed to go one further in his first season of ownership, falling to Monaco and their £2.8m seasonal spend in the semi-finals. Arsenal’s summer outlay of £1.75m on Jens Lehmann and Gael Clichy ended up thwarting them in the Premier League, too.

 

2004/05
The biggest spenders: Chelsea
The spend: £94.45m
The most notable signings: Didier Drogba (£24m), Ricardo Carvalho (£19.85m), Paulo Ferreira (£13.2m), Arjen Robben (£12m), Tiago (£10m)
The finish: 1st in the Premier League, Champions League semi-finals

One step further on the domestic stage could not be matched by a giant leap in Europe. Chelsea more than doubled Liverpool’s spend for the campaign (£42m) but came to discover that Djimi Traore is actually priceless as a Fernando Morientes team thwarted them for the second season running at the penultimate Champions League hurdle.

 

2005/06
The biggest spenders: Real Madrid
The spend: £80.5m
The closest Premier League team: Chelsea (£54.4m)
The most notable signings: Sergio Ramos (£24.3m), Robinho (£21.6m), Julio Baptista (£18m), Antonio Cassano (£4.9m)
The finish: 2nd in La Liga, Champions League last 16

Imagine spending the most of any club across Europe in a season before missing out on both of your most coveted trophies to your most bitter rivals. Ronaldo was Real’s top scorer with 15 goals and barely half a knee.

 

2006/07
The biggest spenders: Real Madrid
The spend: £92.7m
The closest Premier League team: Chelsea (£56.5m)
The most notable signings: Mahamadou Diarra (£23.4m), Fernando Gago (£18.5m), Emerson (£14.4m), Ruud van Nistelrooy (£13.5m), Gonzalo Higuain (£10.8m), Fabio Cannavaro (£6.3m), Marcelo (£5.9m)
The finish: 1st in La Liga, Champions League last 16

At least they won the title this time, wrestling it from Barcelona’s grasp by virtue of their superior head-to-head record. But Bayern Munich replaced Arsenal as their European conquerors at the first knockout stage.

 

2007/08
The biggest spenders: Real Madrid
The spend: £106.2m
The closest Premier League team: Liverpool (£69.3m)
The most notable signings: Arjen Robben (£24m), Pepe (£21m), Wesley Sneijder (£19m), Royston Drenthe (£10.1m)
The finish: 1st in La Liga, Champions League last 16

And there’s the hat-trick. This time Real held off the challenge of Villarreal, who we have double, triple and now quadruple-checked but definitely finished second ahead of Barca in third. Roma brought an early end to their La Decima dream this time.

 

2008/09
The biggest spenders: Manchester City
The spend: £119.35m
The most notable signings: Robinho (£32.5m), Jo (£18m), Nigel de Jong (£16m), Craig Bellamy (£14m), Pablo Zabaleta (£6.5m), Vincent Kompany (£6m)
The finish: 10th in the Premier League, UEFA Cup quarter-final

Mark Hughes was once backed with the biggest budget of any club across Europe in one season. Mark Hughes.

 

2009/10
The biggest spenders: Real Madrid
The spend: £221.6m
The closest Premier League team: Manchester City £125.5m
The most notable signings: Cristiano Ronaldo (£80m), Kaka (£56m), Karim Benzema (£35.8m), Xabi Alonso (£30m).
The finish: 2nd in La Liga, Champions League last 16

Breaking the world transfer record twice in one summer is quite the statement, particularly when backed up with two other purchases of over £30m. But the gap to Barcelona was far too wide to bridge in one fell swoop.

 

2010/11
The biggest spenders: Manchester City
The spend: £152m
The most notable signings: Edin Dzeko (£27m), Yaya Toure (£24m), David Silva (£24m), Mario Balotelli (£24m)
The finish: 3rd in the Premier League, Europa League last 16

One of the most important summers in Manchester City’s entire history saw two of the pillars of their modern success arrive. But as vital as Aleksandar Kolarov and Jerome Boateng would prove to be, Yaya Toure and David Silva weren’t all that bad either. City actually finished level on points with second-placed Chelsea, ending a 35-year trophy drought with the FA Cup after falling to Dynamo Kiev in Europe.

 

2011/12
The biggest spenders: Juventus
The spend: £82.4m
The closest Premier League team: Chelsea (£79.2m)
The most notable signings: Alessandro Matri (£13.6m), Mirko Vucinic (£13.2m), Arturo Vidal (£9.2m), Fabio Quagliarella (£9.2m), Stephan Lichtsteiner (£8.8m)
The finish: 1st in Serie A, no European football

As a direct response to finishing seventh and missing out on European qualification altogether the previous season, Juventus appointed Antonio Conte as their manager, spent a load of money and have won every edition of Serie A since. But the highest Premier League spenders became the most unlikely European champions.

 

2012/13
The biggest spenders: PSG
The spend: £136m
The closest Premier League team: Chelsea (£86.1m)
The most notable signings: Lucas Moura (£38m), Thiago Silva (£36m), Ezequiel Lavezzi (£23.9m), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (£15.4m)
The finish: 1st in Ligue Un, Champions League quarter-final

Welcome to the party, a team from outside of Italy, England and Spain. PSG quite hilariously missed out on the French league title in QSI’s first year of owning the club, with Montpellier triumphing. So they went out and signed everyone, strolled to domestic success and were promptly beaten in the Champions League knockout stages. Sounds familiar.

 

2013/14
The biggest spenders: Real Madrid
The spend: £157.9m
The closest Premier League team: Tottenham (£109m)
The most notable signings: Gareth Bale (£85.2m), Asier Illarramendi (£34m), Isco (£23m), Dani Carvajal (£6m)
The finish: 3rd in La Liga, Champions League winners

The Champions League, a competition established in 1992, was not won by the highest-spending club in any season until 2014. Gareth Bale scored 22 goals and assisted 19 in 44 games in his first season as the world’s most expensive player, including decisive strikes in the Champions League and Copa del Rey finals.

 

2014/15
The biggest spenders: Manchester United
The spend: £147.2m
The most notable signings: Angel di Maria (£59.7m), Ander Herrera (£29m), Luke Shaw (£27m), Marcos Rojo (£16m)
The finish: 4th in the Premier League, no European football

Five of the nine players Louis van Gaal signed in his first season at Old Trafford have since left. Ander Herrera and Marcos Rojo are likely to join that particular scrapheap this summer, with Timothy Fosu-Mensah’s future far from certain. Luke Shaw is the solitary qualified success.

 

2015/16
The biggest spenders: Manchester City
The spend: £149.6m
The most notable signings: Kevin de Bruyne (£55m), Raheem Sterling (£49m), Nicolas Otamendi (£28.4m), Patrick Roberts (£12m)
The finish: 4th in the Premier League, Champions League semi-finals

Manchester City were three points behind Leicester after 23 Premier League games when they announced that Pep Guardiola would be replacing Manuel Pellegrini at the end of the season on February 1. They proceeded to win just six of their final 15 games, drawing and losing five each, and accidentally stumbling past Dynamo Kiev and PSG into a really boring Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid.

 

2016/17
The biggest spenders: Manchester City
The spend: £171.5m
The most notable signings: John Stones (£47.5m), Leroy Sane (£37m), Gabriel Jesus (£27m), Ilkay Gundogan (£20.3m), Claudio Bravo (£17m)
The finish: 3rd in the Premier League, Champions League last 16

Guardiola then rocked up, took them a single place higher in the Premier League, two rounds worse off in Europe and refused to coach tackling. He was not for this English world, and promptly left with his tail between his legs.

 

2017/18
The biggest spenders: Manchester City
The spend: £278.7m
The most notable signings: Aymeric Laporte (£57m), Benjamin Mendy (£52m), Kyle Walker (£51m), Bernardo Silva (£43m), Ederson (£34.9m)
The finish: 1st in the Premier League, Champions League quarter-finals

Or not. Although losing to Liverpool and their £154.9m seasonal spend in the Champions League quarter-finals still stings to this day.

 

2018/19
The biggest spenders: PSG
The spend: £246.7m
The closest Premier League team: Chelsea (£186.1m)
The most notable signings: Kylian Mbappe (£166m), Leandro Paredes (£34.7m), Thilo Kehrer (£33m), Juan Bernat (£13m)
The finish: 1st in Ligue Un, Champions League last 16

You too can lose by two goals in your own stadium to a Manchester United side ready to build around Scott McTominay, all for the cool, bargain price of just under £250m.

Matt Stead

 

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