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September 4, 2009

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Money does buy success on the field

TWELVE of the 20 clubs that spent the most money on players in Europe's five biggest leagues went on to win the title over the last four years, and 90 percent of the top-spending clubs in those leagues have gone on to finish in the top three, according to research published on Wednesday.
The Castrol Performance Analysis predicts that Real Madrid may be right in thinking it can loosen Barcelona's grip on the Spanish league title after spending 229 million pounds (US$372.5 million) during the transfer window, far more than any other football team.
Manchester City also has grounds for optimism in its bid to win the league title for the first time in 42 years. The Sky Blues have invested 124 million pounds in new players, making the club the Premier League's biggest spender this summer.
"This level of expenditure should be enough to break open the closed shop at the head of the table where Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal have filled the top four places for the last four years," the analysis said.
Manager Mark Hughes's spending spree has brought in Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure to the City of Manchester Stadium.
City's expected progress mirrors a trend that runs through the league table, underlining the link between spending money on new players and eventual league position.
Newly promoted clubs that managed to survive their first season in the Premier League spent an average of 24 million pounds on players. That's 9 million pounds more than the average.
According to the research, Burnley, which spent only 6.9 million pounds after ending a 33-year exile from the top flight, is the club most likely to make an immediate return to the League Championship despite early successes in beating champion Manchester United and Everton.
In Germany, Hoffenheim spent 10.6 million pounds last season - three times the average needed to stay up in the Bundesliga - and finished an impressive seventh. In Italy, Napoli spent 41.4 million pounds when it went up in 2007, when it finished eighth.
The only league that did not fit the pattern was Spain, where teams that outspent their direct promoted rivals were actually more likely to go back down. Celta Vigo spent just 890,000 pounds after winning promotion in 2005 and still managed to finish sixth.


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