Since our current owners took over our beloved club, it has become a familiar chant from the terraces of ‘where’s the money gone Brady and Scully’. But a recent survey has reported that West Ham are currently one of the top spending clubs in the transfer window.
So just maybe us terrace chanters are a little blinded by the poor investment rather than the actual investment itself. We spend the money but not necessarily on the right players. It now seems that for total transfer spending West Ham are tenth in the world.
If we remove teams outside of the Premier League, those being Paris St Germain and Real Madrid, we have the eighth most expensive squad in the Premier League. West Ham’s transfer dealings total €505 million, but this puts us a long way back from those other seven Premier League sides.
It is reported that Manchester United have invested double that of us at a cool €1,150 million. They are followed by Chelsea at €1,130 million; Manchester City at €1,042million; Arsenal at €836 million; Tottenham at €829 million; Liverpool at €770 million and Newcastle €661 million.
With all this spending activity and if those scouts are right in identifying talent does this mean that West Ham’s true position should be right in the Premier League? Of course it doesn’t work that way. West Ham are renowned for wasting money, mainly on strikers. But then maybe not?
Further analysis shows that West Ham have actually spent less than any of those other named Premier League sides on forwards so maybe that’s the reason why we struggle for goals from the forward line? This survey stated that we have spent €145 million on strikers with most teams spending double on that position, only Arsenal have spent a similar amount be it €25 million more.
If I break our spend down a little more by position it shows we have reportedly spent €19 million on goalkeepers, €150 million on defenders and €189 million on midfielders. It shows that by position the forward line is the poor man of the outfield positions. Maybe that’s the reason why we struggle up front.
It’s worth noting that all these figures include adding regardless of effective payments so it can be subjective but all teams mentioned have those similar constraints so it is pretty much a level playing field. What this survey highlights is the fact that the Premier League are the top spenders in Europe yet there are teams such as Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid and even Seville who have greater success in Europe.
Is it a case that transfer dealings are not the be all and end all for success? Is it a case that the European sides have a greater scouting network or that those leagues are closer aligned? Is it a case that the Premier League had to have the best players to show that it is the best league in the world?
If that is the case is that the reason why Premier League clubs feature so high in this survey? Do us Hammers need to spend big just to be competitive in the Premier League?
It seems like it. As we sit in tenth place world wide on spending and Aston Villa sit just below us in eleventh place so just to compete with the Villains we may need to continue to spend big. It’s a never ending circle of spending. The Premier League will always throw up the unexpected. There will always be teams like Brighton who buck the trend.
It’s still early in the season but of the current top nine teams by league placing in the Premier League, eight of those are the big spenders (Villa included). Spending big should help in league placings and it seems that it does.
The Premier League is the most competitive league in the world. The other big leagues are dominated by two, maybe three teams. Take the Spanish League outside the big three of Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona and no other team has won the league since 2004.
It’s a similar case with the other European leagues. The Premier League is very different. Yes we have the odd dominance but on any given day any team can beat the best. To remain competitive, Premier League sides have to spend. And let’s not forget where a huge amount of money comes from.
It’s not from the visitors to the stadiums, it’s from television. Spend big in the transfer market and not only do you become competitive as a team but also the team gets better coverage and that’s where the money lies. So in conclusion, West Ham needs to spend big just to survive in the Premier League, anything else is a bonus.
But to compete further we need to invest even more so. By spending huge and particularly on forwards, other teams are widening the gap. It just may be time to start looking at investing more and by doing so the rewards will come.
Our owners have clearly not been penny pinching but they clearly need to spend more to survive. Spending more in the forward department would be nice as the survey shows this clearly reaps a reward. Survival though is not the fittest in the Premier League.
These days it’s the owner with the biggest wallet. The question is does our current ownership have a big enough wallet? Or will we follow the European lead and invest in the best scouting network? We will have to wait and see.