The biggest spender in every PL season – and how they fared

Date published: Friday 19th April 2019 7:28


The biggest spenders: Blackburn
The spend: £8.46m
The signings: Alan Shearer, Duncan Shearer, Kevin Gallacher, Frank Talia, Patrik Andersson, Stuart Ripley, Graeme Le Saux, Nicky Marker, Simon Ireland, Wayne Burnett, Henning Berg, Lee Makel, Tim Sherwood
The biggest signing: Alan Shearer (£3.4m, Southampton)
The finish: 4th

Manchester United won the inaugural Premier League title after a seasonal spend of £2.3m, comprised of fees for Eric Cantona (£1.2m), Dion Dublin (£1m) and the great Pat McGibbon (£100k). Blackburn, Tottenham (£4.7m), Liverpool (£4.4m) and Sheffield Wednesday (£2.4m) all spent more.


The biggest spenders: Blackburn
The spend: £8.5m
The signings: Tim Flowers, David Batty, Ian Pearce, Paul Warhurst, Paul Harford, Andy Morrison
The biggest signing: David Batty (£2.75m, Leeds)
The finish: 2nd

Blackburn benefited from Jack Walker’s millions once more, although third-placed Newcastle (£5.1m) pushed them close. Rovers would have spent even more in summer 1993 had Manchester United not beaten them to the British-record signing of Roy Keane (£3.75m). That was the only signing Alex Ferguson’s champions made in their successful first title defence.


The biggest spenders
: Everton
The spend: £10.9m
The signings: Earl Barrett, Duncan Ferguson, David Burrows, Daniel Amokachi, Vinny Samways
The biggest signing: Duncan Ferguson (£4m, Rangers)
The finish: 15th

And you assumed Blackburn would complete this most obscure of hat-tricks. Kenny Dalglish spent £6.5m on Chris Sutton and Jeff Kenna to finally deliver the Premier League title to Ewood Park, but they were blown out of the water by Everton. The Toffees are proof that money does not guarantee success: they spent more than anyone in the 1994/95 season, only to finish 15th.


The biggest spenders
: Newcastle
The spend: £24.5m
The signings: Shaka Hislop, Les Ferdinand, David Batty, David Ginola, Warren Barton, Darren Huckerby, Faustino Asprilla
The biggest signing: Faustino Asprilla (£6.7m, Parma)
The finish: 2nd

Newcastle there, spending more money on more players 22 years ago than they do now. Faustino Asprilla arrived in February 1996 and infamously (did not) cost the Magpies the title, while Les Ferdinand (£4m) and David Ginola (£2.5m) also joined the party. Everton (£11.9m) splashed the cash again, this time finishing sixth, while Arsenal (£12.25m) and Liverpool (£13m) came fifth and third respectively. Manchester United signed two players all season, both goalkeepers in Nick Culkin and Tony Coton. Wimbledon (£125k) were the only club to spend less (£750k) than the champions.


The biggest spenders
: Newcastle
The spend: £17.5m
The signings: Alan Shearer, Des Hamilton
The biggest signing: Alan Shearer (£15m, Blackburn) 
The finish: 2nd

Only two players joined as Newcastle attempted to make the final step from runners-up to champions, but one of them was the most expensive in the world. A five-year-old Mohamed Salah scoffed and raised an eyebrow at Shearer’s return of 25 Premier League goals as the Magpies again missed out to Manchester United (£7.6m), who spent less than Aston Villa (£12.7m) and relegated Middlesbrough (£11.2m).


The biggest spenders
: Newcastle
The spend: £24.65m
The signings: Paddy Kelly, Shay Given, Temuri Ketsbaia, Jon Dahl Tomasson, Stuart Pearce, Alessandro Pistone, Brian Pinas, John Barnes, Ian Rush, Carlos Gonzalez, Ralf Keidel, Paul Dalglish, David Terrier, Andreas Andersson, Andy Griffin, Gary Speed, James Coppinger, Paul Robinson, Stephen Glass, Nikos Dabizas
The biggest signing: Gary Speed (£5.5m, Everton)
The finish: 13th

That’s a lot of players. It’s also a lot of money. Newcastle used to be so fun when it came to transfers. Arsenal pushed them closest in that respect, spending £16.75m en route to their first Premier League title.


The biggest spenders
: Manchester United
The spend: £29.35m
The signings: Jaap Stam, Russell Best, Jesper Blomqvist, John O’Shea, Dwight Yorke, Bojan Djordjic
The biggest signing: Dwight Yorke (£12.6m, Aston Villa)
The finish: 1st

It took until the seventh season of Premier League football for the campaign’s highest spenders to emerge as champions. Newcastle (£27.55m) obviously spent all of the money again, only to finish 13th again. Neat trick.


The biggest spenders: Liverpool
The spend: £35.9m
The signings: Sami Hyypiä, Titi Camara, Sander Westerveld, Stéphane Henchoz, Dietmar Hamann, Vladimír Šmicer, Emile Heskey, Erik Meijer, Jon Newby
The biggest signing: Emile Heskey (£11m, Leicester)
The finish: 4th

After going briefly transfer mad the previous season, champions Manchester United (£10m) scaled their business back considerably. Coventry (£16.45m) spent more.


The biggest spenders: Leeds
The spend: £48.7m
The signings: Olivier Dacourt, Mark Viduka, Dominic Matteo, Jacob Burns, Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Keane
The biggest signing: Rio Ferdinand (£18m, West Ham)
The finish: 4th

Arsenal spent £35m to finish second, while Chelsea stumped up a bill of £34.1m to come sixth. A world-record fee for a defender of £18m could not lift Leeds any higher than fourth, 12 points behind Manchester United. The Red Devils spent £8.7m on Fabien Barthez in May 2000, and nothing more.


The biggest spenders: Manchester United
The spend: £58.6m
The signings: Roy Carroll, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Juan Sebastián Verón, Laurent Blanc, Diego Forlán, Luke Steele
The biggest signing: Juan Sebastián Verón (£29.1m, Lazio)
The finish: 3rd

Manchester United spent more money than anyone, but Arsenal (£29.15m) won the Premier League title. Who came second behind United in terms of money spent? Fulham (£32.3m), obviously.


The biggest spenders: Manchester United
The spend: £30.6m
The signings: Rio Ferdinand, Ricardo
The biggest signing: Rio Ferdinand (£29.1m)
The finish: 1st

Manchester United spent £30.6m to finish first. Manchester City spent £30.25m to finish ninth.


The biggest spenders: Chelsea
The spend: £121.5m
The signings: Jürgen Macho, Marco Ambrosio, Glen Johnson, Geremi, Wayne Bridge, Damien Duff, Joe Cole, Juan Sebastián Verón, Adrian Mutu, Alexey Smertin, Hernán Crespo, Neil Sullivan, Claude Makélélé, Scott Parker
The biggest signing: Damien Duff (£17m, Blackburn)
The finish: 2nd

Oh look, Chelsea have some money. Arsenal invincibled their way to the title off the back of a £1.75m summer spend – although they spent a further £10.5m on José Antonio Reyes in January and £3m on Robin van Persie in April.


The biggest spenders: Chelsea
The spend: £94.45m
The signings: Paulo Ferreira, Petr Čech, Arjen Robben, Mateja Kežman, Didier Drogba, Tiago, Ricardo Carvalho, Nuno Morais, Jiří Jarošík
The biggest signing: Didier Drogba (£24m, Marseille)
The finish: 1st

If at first you don’t quite succeed, spend another metric sh*t ton and employ a better manager.


The biggest spenders: Chelsea
The spend: £54.4m
The signings: Asier del Horno, Lassana Diarra, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Michael Essien, Maniche
The biggest signing: Michael Essien (£24.4m, Lyon)
The finish: 1st

Liverpool celebrated becoming European champions in the most frugal way possible: by spending £27.35m, and making Peter Crouch (£7m) their most expensive buy of the summer. Newcastle enjoyed some ’90s nostalgia by parting with £38.3m.


The biggest spenders: Chelsea
The spend: £56.5m
The signings: Michael Ballack, Salomon Kalou, Andriy Shevchenko, John Obi Mikel, Khalid Boulahrouz, Ashley Cole
The biggest signing: Andriy Shevchenko (£30.8m)
The finish: 2nd

Chelsea definitely spent more money than 18 Premier League clubs in 2006/07. But no-one has a bloody clue how much Pards spent on Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano at West Ham.


The biggest spenders: Liverpool
The spend: £69.3m
The signings: Andriy Voronin, Yossi Benayoun, Fernando Torres, Ryan Babel, Lucas, Charles Itandje, Krisztián Németh, Nikolay Mihaylov, Emiliano Insúa, Ryan Crowther, Sebastián Leto, Damien Plessis, Martin Škrtel, Javier Mascherano
The biggest signing: Fernando Torres (£20m, Atletico Madrid)
The finish: 4th

On only two occasions have Liverpool been the highest spenders in a single Premier League season. Tottenham (£57.5m) also loosened the purse strings a little, while Manchester United won the title and Champions League on the back of a £51.8m squad investment.


The biggest spenders: Manchester City
The spend: £119.35m
The signings: Jô, Tal Ben Haim, Vincent Kompany, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Pablo Zabaleta, Gláuber, Robinho, Wayne Bridge, Craig Bellamy, Nigel de Jong, Shay Given
The biggest signing: Robinho (£32.5m, Real Madrid)
The finish: 10th

With Liverpool (£38.3m), Manchester United (£37.75m), Arsenal (£32.5m) and Chelsea (£24.6m) all electing to leave the transfer window ajar, Manchester City decided to sneak in. The aforementioned quartet obviously comprised the top four, while City finished tenth.


The biggest spenders: Manchester City
The spend: £125.5m
The signings: Gareth Barry, Roque Santa Cruz, Stuart Taylor, Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Touré, Sylvinho, Joleon Lescott, Patrick Vieira, Adam Johnson
The biggest signing: Carlos Tevez (£25.5m, MSI)
The finish: 5th

Manchester City broke the £100m barrier for the second season running. The next closest club in terms of seasonal transfer spend was Aston Villa (£35m), followed by Sunderland (£34.5m). And just look at them now. Chelsea spent £26m on their way to the title, £18m of which went on Yuri Zhirkov.


The biggest spenders: Manchester City
The spend: £152m
The signings: Jérôme Boateng, Yaya Touré, David Silva, Aleksandar Kolarov, Mario Balotelli, James Milner, Edin Džeko
The biggest signing: Edin Džeko (£27m, Wolfsburg)
The finish: 3rd

Chelsea spent £100.8m in an attempt to defend their Premier League title. Manchester United spent £23.8m to wrestle it from their grasp. To repeat: money doesn’t guarantee success.


The biggest spenders: Chelsea
The spend: £79.2m
The signings: Thibaut Courtois, Oriol Romeu, Romelu Lukaku, Juan Mata, Ulises Davila, Raul Meireles, Sam Hutchinson, Kenneth Omeruo, Gary Cahill, Lucas Piazon, Patrick Bamford, Kevin de Bruyne
The biggest signing: Juan Mata (£23.5m, Valencia)
The finish: 6th

It may have delivered an underwhelming Premier League season, but the consolation was a Champions League title and FA Cup. Manchester City won the title with a £76m spend.


The biggest spenders: Chelsea
The spend: £86.1m
The signings: Lamisha Musonda, Charly Musonda, Tika Musonda, Andreas Christensen, Marko Marin, Eden Hazard, Thorgan Hazard, Oscar, César Azpilicueta, Victor Moses, Wallace, Demba Ba
The biggest signing: Eden Hazard (£32m, Lille)
The finish: 3rd

A similar spend, another European trophy, and a slightly improved Premier League finish. All thanks to Rafael Benitez.


The biggest spenders: Tottenham
The spend: £109m
The signings: Paulinho, Nacer Chadli, Roberto Soldado, Étienne Capoue, Vlad Chiricheș, Christian Eriksen, Érik Lamela
The biggest signing: Érik Lamela (£30m, Roma)
The finish: 6th

“Look at Tottenham … [when] you spend over £100m you’d expect to be challenging for the league.” Brendan’s words, not ours. Tottenham outspent Chelsea by a mere £500k, but neither could keep the pace of Manchester City (£90.9m) or Liverpool (£44.8m).


The biggest spenders: Manchester United
The spend: £147.2m
The signings: Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw, Vanja Milinković-Savić, Marcos Rojo, Ángel di María, Daley Blind, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Víctor Valdés, Sadiq El Fitouri
The biggest signing: Ángel di María (£59.7m, Real Madrid)
The finish: 4th

“Look at Tottenham…[when] you spend over £100m you’d expect to be challenging for the league.” Brendan’s words, not ours. Liverpool (£117m) might have expected more than sixth place. Manchester United (£147.2m) were the only club to spend more, and soared into fourth. Chelsea’s £108.6m spend delivered a title.


The biggest spenders: Manchester City
The spend: £149.6m
The signings: Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Nicolás Otamendi, Patrick Roberts, Fabian Delph, Enes Ünal, Anthony Caceres, Florian Lejeune, Rubén Sobrino, Luke Brattan
The biggest signing: Kevin de Bruyne (£55m, Wolfsburg)
The finish: 4th

Ha ha.


The biggest spenders: Manchester City
The spend: £171.5m
The signings: Ilkay Gündoğan, Nolito, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Leroy Sané, Marlos Moreno, John Stones, Claudio Bravo, Gabriel Jesus
The biggest signing: John Stones (£47.5m, Everton)
The finish: 3rd

“This season it’s very important to understand that it’s not always about who spends more money who wins,” said Antonio Conte last April. Chelsea taught the Manchester clubs a lesson, winning the title after spending a pittance (£117.2m) in comparison to City and United (£145.3m).


The biggest spenders: Manchester City
The spend: £278.7m
The signings:  Bernardo Silva, Ederson, Kyle Walker, Douglas Luiz, Danilo, Benjamin Mendy, Olarenwaju Kayode, Aymeric Laporte, Jack Harrison
The biggest signing: Aymeric Laporte (£57m, Athletic Bilbao)
The finish: 1st

The three biggest spenders in the Premier League last season were Manchester City, Chelsea (£237.9m) and Everton (£197.6m). That is truly the most mixed of bags. It was only the fifth season out of 26 in which the club that spent the most money won the title. Go figure.


The biggest spenders: Liverpool, kind of
The spend: £165.45m
The signings: Naby Keita, Fabinho, Xherdan Shaqiri, Alisson
The biggest signing: Alisson (£56m, Roma)
The finish: Who knows?

There is an asterisk, with Chelsea’s £186.1m spend including the £57.5m January signing of Christian Pulisic, who does not actually join the club until the summer. Leicester (£102.6m) also make the podium, but Liverpool have bridged a 25-point gap to Manchester City (£70.25m) with some quite ridiculous money (and statistics). Can they become only the sixth team to spend more money than anyone else en-route to the Premier League title?

Matt Stead


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