The Premier league: the net spend and wage argument – who is really overachieving and who is having a poor season?

There is a new trend that has emerged in recent times which I hate. It is a trend that gets bought up at the end of every transfer window with every top signing:

The need to discuss net spend and wages.

The amount of Net Spend that a club accrues, now seems to determine how ambitious a club is. And the amount of money players are being paid, often triggers debate by pundits and fans whether players and clubs are performing as they should. There are some, who think that Alexis Sanchez is failing at Utd because he hasn’t scored 10,000 goals to justify his huge wage.

For some pundits, money seems to be the only barometer to measuring success or failure. Football is about more than that, but it is sometimes forgotten about.

So, with nothing better to do on my commute to Edinburgh, I have decided to see where each club would rank if the league was determined purely on net spend and wages. I have then compared these results back to the current league table to determine if clubs’ performances are matching their spending.

Using Net figure spends from the last 5 seasons and wages from the end of last Summers’ window, I have been able to compile a table for each. For each position that a club finishes in the wage and net table leagues – I have assigned a total and added them together. This total then decides where the club is ranked on my new net spend and wage table.

For example City have the largest net spend so they earn a 1 in that table, they are then the 3rd biggest wage spenders. So in that table they earn a 3. Their total is 4. That’s easy to follow isn’t it???

I want this table to reveal who deserves more credit, who is struggling and whether clubs like West Ham and Arsenal have grounds to attack their respective boards.

Net spend table

1. Man City

2. Man Utd

3. Chelsea

4. Arsenal

5. Crystal Palace

6. Everton

7. Leicester

8. WBA

9. Watford

10. West Ham

11. Brighton

12. Bournemouth

13. Stoke

14. Liverpool

15. Newcastle

16. Huddersfield

17. Burnley

18. Tottenham

19. Swansea

20. Southampton

Wage table

1. Man Utd

2. Chelsea

3. Man City

4. Arsenal

5. Liverpool

6. Tottenham

7. Everton

8. West Ham

9. Southampton

10. Stoke

11. Swansea

12. Leicester

13. West Brom

14. Crystal Palace

15. Newcastle

16. Watford

17. Bournemouth

18. Burnley

19. Brighton

20. Huddersfield

OUR NEW NET SPEND AND WAGE TABLE with current table variation –

(clubs with symbols *,^,• next to their names scored the same totals, so positioning is determined by the amount they spend on wages. I feel these day to day costs are a better gauge than net spend).

1. Man Utd (+1)

2. Man City (-1)

3. Chelsea (+2)

4. Arsenal (+2)

5. Everton (+4)

6. West Ham (+10)

7. Liverpool* (-3)

8. Leicester* (0)

9. Crystal Palace* (+9)

10. West Brom^ (+10)

11. Stoke^ (+8)

12. Tottenham (-9)

13. Watford (-3)

14. Southampton• (+3)

15. Bournemouth• (-3)

16. Swansea• (-2)

17. Newcastle• (-4)

18. Brighton (-7)

19. Burnley (-12)

20. Huddersfield (-5)

The Results

Positions 1-6

Although Utd top our table, the trophies that Mourinho has returned will be keeping most Utd fans happy. Although they would like to be closer to City they appear to be comfortably the best of the rest.

Fans of Everton and West Ham, 5th and 6th in our table, will be concerned.

Despite the protests on Saturday, the table would suggest that West Ham’s board have clearly been backing their team which has seen them at 5th place in our table above the likes of Spurs and Liverpool but the stadium issue and lack of consistency is massively derailing them.

Everton in 6th, have spent a lot recently but despite this spending, the team still appears really unbalanced which will surely see the club dive into the market once again. I would be surprised if Allardyce was around at the start of next season.

A few years ago Chelsea would have probably topped this table. The 3rd position they find themselves in our table supports Conte’s arguments that he hasn’t been financially backed. However, they are only 2 places off where they should be in the current league table so perhaps their season isn’t as bad as many are perceiving it to be.

Arsenal fans can just laugh that another table has put them in 4th.

Positions 7-10

There is an argument to be had that despite Klopp’s criticisms he is over performing with his current squad. A finish in the top 4 has to be seen as a job well done. With the promise of more spending this summer, could next season be Liverpool’s year?

Leicester are the only team that match up with their current league position so well done to them.

The next two teams, Palace and WBA are currently in the bottom 3 , but our table suggests they should already be thinking about sitting on the beach with them at 9th and 10th. The recent upheaval at both clubs and poor recruitment suggests that if a side is unsettled it will take more than spending to get out of trouble. Look at Swansea as a prime example who spent next to nothing in the last window but have been inspired by the managers stunning use of the English language.

Positions 10-12

Completing the bottom half of our table are a lot of teams you would expect to be there. But there are some interesting footnotes.

Based on the positions of the net spend and wage table, Burnley are performing the best out of everybody. Currently 12 positions better than the 19th our table gives them – Burnley embody everything that I think has gone wrong with Palace and WBA.

A board that backs the manager to the hilt, a manager who buys players dedicated to the badge and the creation of a dressing room where team spirit and the team comes before egos. Compare the likes of Ashley Barnes and Ben Mee to Palace’s Benteke and WBA’s taxi gang…….

Another manager at the bottom of our table who has not been getting the recognition he deserves is Brighton’s Chris Hughton. (I know he just got manager of the month) Brighton are seven places better off in the table than our finance table would have them. With the likes of Dyche and Eddie Howe constantly being linked to perceived bigger clubs should Hughton also be bought into these conversations?

The table also reinforces what a good job Benitez is doing as they should be 17th. Survival with a few games to spare would reflect a good season.

David Wagner’s Huddersfield would be bottom of our league but currently find themselves in 15th  just a few wins from safety.  He is another manager who has done incredibly well this season.

It seems that Southampton’s insistence to sell their star players to Liverpool is catching up with them – but recent top half finishes in the last few seasons suggest they have been over performing quite dramatically. Although they currently find themselves 17th, our table only has them at 14th. Perhaps the sacking of Claude Puel was a little hasty??

Stoke have suffered due to an insistence on signing football manager 2008 wonderkids and moving away from a model that has served them so well in the past as they are 8 places worse off.

Spurs often labelled as ‘bottlers’ have been performing far above where the finances would have them finish. However it does question what they might have achieved if they had potentially invested a little more as the other key intangibles seem to be in place.

Apart from poor maths, I hope this table can provide a little dose of reality. Liverpool and Tottenham lose one game and they are labelled as bottlers when in actual fact results would indicate they are performing well without relying on huge funds to do so.

Clubs like Brighton, Burnley and Newcastle aren’t getting enough plaudits they deserve for strong seasons. West Brom and Palace have chucked money at it but haven’t got some of the other essentials in place and look like they might both be relegated.

Too often as fans we are too knee jerk in our reactions and if a side has a poor result or are struggling we blame lack of money as the main reason. What do West Ham fans want? Do they realistically believe that they should be competing for the top 4 or top 6? Isn’t premier league survival the main aim? West Ham have been spending and the board backing the team. Shouldn’t the players be getting a little more stick? Arsenal 4th in our table can look to blame the board, but is trying to overthrow the owner the answer? Would a more battle hardened attitude that other teams display result in Arsenal not losing 10 away matches this year?

Essentially, shouldn’t all clubs be a little bit more like Burnley?

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