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Chelsea and Man City: Why Buying the Best Team Money Can Buy Will Not Work

5082010560 5088fd9d20 Chelsea and Man City: Why Buying the Best Team Money Can Buy Will Not Work

Photo by dullhunk

‘Tis the summer transfer season and virtually every player is being linked to Manchester City and Chelsea. In order to win, a team obviously needs good players. Chelsea needs to address the age of their squad and their aging stars. Manchester City, however, has spent something north of 500 million pounds and Mancini says he needs more players? This isn’t an analysis as to who they should or shouldn’t throw money at but why they should pay attention where they throw that money. Both teams may not benefit by buying the best players money can buy…. but buying the best players that play together. I’ll explain what I mean.

Chelsea’s transfer needs are fairly clear as they need to lower their average age, find eventual replacements for Drogba, Terry, Anelka and strengthen their midfield further. David Luiz helped plug a hole created by the departure of Ricardo Carvalho in the central defense and has done an excellent job for the Blues in the second half of the year, scoring ahead of Fernando Torres.

Chelsea has had a massive cash infusion since the Abramovich takeover in 2003 but one thing has never changed: their ability to play together, and play well together. At the core in Chelsea are four key players: Cech, Lampard, Terry, Ashley Cole and Drogba. They were there for the first Premier League trophy of the Abramovich era in 2005, the Champions League final in 2008 and the 2010 Premier League winners. Granted, some legendary players such as Carvalho, Wayne Bridge and Claude Makelele have left and been replaced by the previously mentioned Luiz, Branislav Ivanovic and Michael Essien, their team core – and ability to play together – has never changed.

The key for Chelsea is to realize that their success was due to talented players – some of which are the best at their positions – that play and mesh very well. The lesson that Chelsea can teach Manchester City is that because they have the talent to win doesn’t mean that have the team to win.

When Sheikh Mansour took over Manchester City in 2008, he gave Mark Hughes a checkbook and permission to sign away. That’s exactly what he did. Transfermarket.co.uk does a good job categorizing the comings and goings at the City of Manchester stadium. Looking at the comings since the money, clearly the best signing for the money was Vincent Kompany. That guy is a beast and has been one of the best central defenders in the Premiership. Along with Nemanja Vidic, they were the central defense for the PFA’s Starting XI. What did he cost? Just £6.7 million. Honorable mentions are Nigel De Jong at £16m; Pablo Zabaleta at £6.5; all still at the core of the Man City backfield.

My point isn’t that they were cheap relative to James Milner, Yaya Toure and Mario Balotelli, but maybe Mark Hughes was onto something when he was signing some of these players?

Granted, Hughes paid an obscene amount for older, marginal players such as Jo at £18m, Wayne Bridge at £12, Roque Santa Cruz for £17.5m and Craig Bellamy for £14. But maybe, just maybe, he was trying to build a team with quality players that played well together. As Hughes was sacked, Roberto Mancini was named by the new owners to take over the club and the spending has all but accelerated since then. And now Mancini says they need more players. Has that spending really helped them? I say it hasn’t made a bit of difference whatsoever.

With the the real impact of the money being thrown around in the 2009-2010 summer transfer window, more big-money acquisitions of Kolo Toure, Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor and Jolean Lescott boosted the squad further. Mark Hughes’s dream of the Champions League was never realized as he was sacked after 7 straight draws. They missed out on the Champions League by three points to a surging Tottenham, earning 5th place with 67 points. This season, they placed third mainly due to a massive slump by Arsenal with some pathetic showings where they gave up a 2-0 home lead to lose at home to Tottenham and gave up a stunning 4-0 halftime lead at Newcastle, forcing them to go home with a tie. Regardless as to the play of other teams, how many points did Manchester City earn compared to the season prior?

Four. Man City spent over £100 million between the end of the 09-10 and 10-11 seasons and improved by four points. That’s a lot of money for four points. Some players, notably David Silva and Yaya Toure, have made substantial contributions to the club this season. Instead of trying to work with castoffs like Bellamy and Adebayor; Mancini went and spent more, buying Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko (among others, of course). That said, I have no doubt about the ability and talent of their squad. It’s deep and talented all around, but if Mancini spent more time worrying about the ability of their squad to play together versus buying the best players, their point total could improve even further without spending another dime.

Chelsea has shown that a team can win with very good players, including some of the best in their respective positions in the world with the core being signed by Claudio Raineri before their first Premier League trophy. However, if the eleven out on the pitch can’t play as a team, they can spend to till the natural gas taps run dry in Qatar and still may find themselves still looking up at Chelsea.

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47 Responses to Chelsea and Man City: Why Buying the Best Team Money Can Buy Will Not Work

  1. Andyb says:

    Buying the best TEAM money can buy will work. Buying the best INDIVIDUALS money can buy possibly wouldn’t.

    • Blueape80 says:

      A ‘team’ is made up of ‘individuals’ and a team playing well together is normally built through good coaching. Mancini has developed a great team spirit along with very strong defensive strategy whereas Hughes just hoped for the best! Forza Mancini..

    • Maks says:

      He’s an Italian, what do you expect – his middle name is defense. Roberto Defence Mancini

      • Vickito says:

        Well we all have our opinions in life as well as in soccer. Plz BRIAN C, if Mancini signs Javier Matías Pastore, and Edin Hazard, (Wesley Sneijder
        ) with a good defender. Would that be a waste? City will go all out on all fronts. Think about this.

  2. PaulFromMiami says:

    Many people seem to forget how well Adebayor had started in his first season at City until that shooting happened.
    I cringe whenever i hear Mancini wants to buy a player. He has no qualms about over-spending for a player he wants. He is paying yaya 10 million a year, Silva 8 million and Dzeko 7.5 million. Agents and foreign teams know Mancini has no regards for how much he spends which is why you see presidents of those teams raise their player’s price(i.e A.Sanchez, pastore)

    • Laurence says:

      I’m not sure it’s purely Mancini over-spending. Teams know City have the money so they are going to hike the price up. To get valuable assets you’re going to need to compensate for that.

      If Mancini wants his man and City are willing to pay the money then that will happen. It’s not a market, it’s something a little more vulgar and explicit once we get into the top 4/6 of the League.

  3. Juan says:

    If you look at Chelsea transfer policy since that major cash influx they havn’t been shopping for the best but rather addressed what they lacked. Ballack was free, Malouda was supposed to be a replacement to robben, Anelka was meant to partner drogba, Deco was meant to run the scolari system, Sturridge was someone they could build up, Zhrikov is meant to be a back up in defense and midfield. These were all buys that were meant to strengthen the core of the team and it has been the team mentality (yes there is rampant player power going on) that has kept chelsea up through the chaotic times at the club.

  4. Richard says:

    What a load of nonsense.

    So City got only 4 points more. Big deal. Chelsea were champions the previous season with 5 points more than United this year. United got 14 points more in 2010 than Chelsea in 2011 and finished 2nd. Arsenal got 7 points less than the previous year.

    You write about a 4 point improvement, but forget to mention the move up the table from 5th to 3rd, the qualification for the Champions’ League, the FA Cup win,

    • Cityman says:

      You’ve planely spoken the counting fact.From 5th position to 3rt + FA cup signifies the use of money to buy success.Ask the economist Gunners what do they get 4 being reluctant to spend…ask!

  5. Richard says:

    What a load of nonsense.

    So City got only 4 points more. Big deal. Chelsea were champions the previous season with 5 points more than United this year. United got 14 points more in 2010 than Chelsea in 2011 and finished 2nd. Arsenal got 7 points less than the previous year.

    In fact, City were the only team in the top 5 to improve their points total.

    You write about a 4 point improvement, but forget to mention the move up the table from 5th to 3rd, the qualification for the Champions’ League, the FA Cup win.

    • brian c says:

      I see your point about the FA Cup and CL group stages. However, do they need “more” players to advance further? That’s my point.

      I think they have a very good squad but I can’t see how they feel they need to make even more significant signings.

  6. 750mil n counting says:

    so city finish 3rd and win the f.a. cup and its not working ? yeah good article.maybe when mancini has had a full pre season with the players they might come good…face palm

  7. larry says:

    Chelsea under Abramovich has won a few trophies, including the league, and have never finished ouside the top 4. All through buying top talent. It works. Manchester City under Mansour has spent big for two years and they won the FA Cup and finished in the top 4. City will continue to buy and there’s no reason to believe they won’t win any more trophies or finish in the top 4 again this year or in the future. Chelsea have shown that spending big works.

    Liverpool are now spending big on unproven talent. Carroll and Henderson cost 55 million pounds. They feel they have to spend to get back into the top 4.

  8. Gavin says:

    “At the core in Chelsea are four key players: Cech, Lampard, Terry, Ashley Cole and Drogba” – Lost all credibility as a sensible article with that pathetic analysis.

    • BD says:

      Yeah, I almost fell off my chair laughing at that one……

    • Matt says:

      As did i. first the “four” key players, and then naming Cole as one of them really topped it off for me. At least the other 4 were around for their first title.

    • brian c says:

      Good catch; I missed that when I was proofreading it. This is my first blog… these things happen.

      • xcrumedy says:

        “This is my first blog… these things happen.”

        great attitude brian c! good thing you’re not a surgeon…

  9. Richard says:

    What a load of nonsense.

    So City got only 4 points more. Big deal. Chelsea were champions the previous season with 5 points more than United this year. United got 14 points more in 2010 than Chelsea in 2011 and finished 2nd. Arsenal got 7 points less than the previous year.

    In fact, City were the only team in the top 5 to improve their points total.

    You write about a 4 point improvement, but forget to mention the move up the table from 5th to 3rd, the qualification for the Champions’ League, the FA Cup win.

  10. Phil Keating says:

    Why should we pay attention to someone who can’t count.

  11. Mike says:

    Go back to school

  12. Jack says:

    Idiot.

  13. Bruce Gottesman says:

    Umm, didn’t Chelsea just break the bank to buy a player who couldn’t crack their starting XI? Also, have to agree with Richard. City and Chelsea finished with identical records. If CL football and the FA Cup are your definition of “not working”, as a Newcastle fan, I think I’d take that…

    • Dj sav says:

      I can only assume Bruce, your talking about Fernando Torres, u forget mate he was bought for the new campaign when it kicks off. That was the plan to go forward, all Chelsea’s fans agree we should not have signed him for £50mil. But we all know he will come great next season, along with new additions to squad we will be challenging on all fronts. He just needs a full preseason under his belt and watch him go next season. DZEKO has not started his city career off that great either nor has Baletolli, but as we all know form is temporary and class is class.

  14. tonyspeed says:

    The fact that city are auto-qualified for the champions league makes your argument look very stupid and biased. And I am a manchester united fan.

  15. EVAN says:

    This might just be the stupidest article i’ve ever read on this site. City won the FA cup and finished joint 2nd on the 3rd year after the takeover. How is that “not working”????? You are an idiot.

    Also, “Why Buying the Best Team Money Can Buy Will Not Work”
    What does work, then? If City never had the money they would be threatened by relegation every season. Would that be “working” better then?
    you are a complete idiot.

    • brian c says:

      It is working… but there’s a point where they can continue to throw even more money at the best players they can get their hands on and it just won’t work.

      Look at Real Madrid. Granted, Barcelona is one of the best club teams this world has ever seen, but Real has spent millions and millions and still can’t seem to top them.

      Manchester United has opened their bank accounts but done so sparingly. They bought Chris Smalling for 10mil GBP, Hernandez for 6mil GBP recently, for example. They’re building a future for the team without spending 100mil to do so.

      • Why? says:

        The thing is Brian the only reason Man Utd haven’t ‘opened their bank accounts’ is because they are not as stable as they used to be, this is because of the debt the owners have lumped on them. If not for this City would find it very difficult to catch up to the years of spending which in turn does bring success. If they spent £28m on Veron similar on Ferdinand and Rooney they are obviously not adversed
        to splashing the cash are they? The difference now their financial situation has change that’s all. Granted they would not have spent as much as City as they spent as they spent money over a much longer period but still more than any one else. City needed to catch up so condensed the spending over a much shorter period.

        Something that does puzzle me though is this ‘Manchester City, however, has spent something north of 500 million pounds and Mancini says he needs more players?’ I can only presume that this is your thoughts on players signed in the context of what you have written. You the go on to add a chart of City’s spending which goes on to show they have spent £312,250,000 and sold players for £64,050,000 a Nett of £248,200,000. I cannot understand where the £500,000,000 figure comes from, could you let me know as I’m a bit confused on this one, thanks.

        Brian I also think it to be a bit strange that you can suggest that Mark Hughes to be as good a manager as Mancini who has hit every target set for him and more where as Hughes did not in his first year and then was very poor in his second (I know I was there). This was a view taken by the media some time ago but they all seemed to have forgotten all about it now and think Mancini to be a very competent manager, How very fickle they are!

  16. Russ the blue says:

    A Team like United has had 20 years of TV, Champs and Prem League money to build slowly whilst still spending a huge amount of money. Platini’s keep the big clubs big and little clubs little rules mean City have a small window to spend a lot of money and make a difference, to build City into a club that can challenge for the Prem and Champs League.

    Because of this City’s owners have had to pay silly prices for players. The price doubles whenever City come calling. City may have the money but that does not mean the best players are always available or want to come to City so they have paid over the odds for lesser players than they would have liked.

    The owners even did the decent thing and stood by Mark Hughes when he was not their man wasting over a year.

    Some people say you cannot buy the best team with money, well I don’t know how you will get it without money and plenty of it to waste along the way

    • MUFC77 says:

      “City owners stood by Mark Hughes” now that made me laugh.

      You can buy the most expensive players with money but that isn’t necessarily going to give you the best team. Hopefully City don’t ever realize this because when they do then everyone else could be in serious trouble, its all about the right balance.

  17. thomas says:

    Laughable..

    First off u say 4 key players for Chelsea then list 5.

    Cole was brought in tobreplace bridge..they both play left back.

    Bosingwa and ivanovich were brought to replaceban ageing ferreira.

    Even if arsenal don’t slump, city finishes 4th..if u can’t see the huge difference from 4th and 5th ur blind..100m is nothing to a club like city. Especially BC it means CL footy

  18. MUFC77 says:

    Wayne Bridge legendary, really?

    • bnbn says:

      I thought it was a joke when i first read it but after reading it again it really looks like he is saying Bridge is a legend haha what an idiot.

  19. bnbn says:

    Absolute rubbish how can you say City have not improved? I think Champions League and an FA Cup is a big improvement on qualifying for the Europa League last season.
    And apart from your counting error lol you also made a mistake on City’s signings Kompany and Zabaleta were signed before Man City got the Sheikh’s money.
    To think that Chelsea and City don’t have a transfer policy and just throw money at players is stupid it makes you sound very jealous and bitter.

  20. Guy says:

    A basic truth…..“…teams may not benefit by buying the best players money can buy…. but buying the best players that play together.”

    City certainly did seem to do more of the former than the latter, but in the end they look to have got it right. If you’re a City fan I think you’re pretty well satisfied at this point.

    Loosely, if you replace “buying” with “choosing” you have my favorite discussion on the selection of national teams….but that’s another matter.

  21. El Tri 2014 says:

    Here’s what Brian Connell means…City bought Abedayor, Tevez, Balotelli and Dzeko – Abbey wants out of City and remain in RM, Tevez though brilliant does not know what he wants cept that he doesn’t want to play for City, and Dzeko and Balotelli were HUGE buys that have had little and few results, the equivalent to Torres.

    Chelsea on the other hand bought Torres, an awful buy with little results but Chelsea still purred on chasing United till the very end.

    • bnbn says:

      Dzeko 13 starts 6 goals how is this this the equivalent of Torres you plank. Ballotelli has a goal ratio of almost one goal in every two games at the age of 20 and its his first season in the premier league which has been hampered by two serious injuries again how is this the equivalent of Torres???????????????? IDIOT!

      • El Tri 2014 says:

        Dzeko 13 starts 6 goals how is this this the equivalent of Torres you plank.
        ————–
        In the EPL Dzeko started 8 times, sub 7 times and scored 2 goals. As for the dart-throwing Italian, started 22, sub 7, and scored 9 goals in all competitions. Dzeko transfer fee was what $27M? Balotelli transfer fee $23M??? Yes, money well spent, since anyone who scores more than 2 goals has over-achieved what Nando has done for Chesea this year.

  22. Fifthcolumnblue says:

    I find all of this pontificating drivel about Manchester City incredibly boring, and most importantly, incredibly patronising.

    Everyone seems to think they know what’s best for us – sack Mancini, stop spending before the UEFA “anti everyone but the sky-4″ rules come into place. I keep hearing that our players have all flopped, we are a boring defensive team that can’t attack, that our owners will get bored and walk away, etc. etc. blah blah blah, ad infinitum.

    Rival fans didn’t used to give a sh*t about us, so I suppose I should be flattered, but it just grinds my gears. As other posters have pointed out, we finished joint second in the league this year and won our first trophy in 34 years, how is that not better than 11 years ago when we had to go to penalties to beat Gillingham?

    All of our jealous rivals are like kids pressing their noses against a sweet shop window – but the kids don’t usually lick the windows.

  23. Melon Man says:

    Another numpty assuming he knows better than Roberto Mancini how to build a successful football team – your arrogance does not cover your lack of qualifications to tell your grandmother how to suck eggs.

    • brian c says:

      Thanks man. It’s a blog. There’s a reason I have a day job and not manging in England. Glad you disagree. Why not explain why they do need to add players given all they’ve spent.

      • Melon Man says:

        They need better players in key positions, in order to challenge successfully for the title and the Champions League – I didn’t think that needed pointing out.
        And if BobbyManc says he needs new players, (like all top clubs do, even Barca), then I for one wouldn’t have the brass neck to assume I know better than him.

  24. Cambridgeblue says:

    An FA cup and automatic qualification for the Champions’ League group stages at the expense of Arsenal and being 1 point off second place in the League for a club that had not won a major trophy in 35 years and who, until ADUG came along, had been perennial lower to mid table strugglers pretty much blows your argument out of the water.

    Chelsea’s success since Abramovich also does too.

    Bottom line is you can’t win anything without spending money… just look at Arsene Wenger. Fergie has splashed the cash when he needed to on players like Ferdinand and Rooney… as well as offering the highest wages in England for many, many years.

  25. joe says:

    has got to be a rag who wrote this utter crap, not one single mention of city beating the rags to go on to win the fa cup, call it a tin cup if you want, but it aint like yoonited werent playing for the win. what an anti city pile of excrement

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