Will Chelsea & Manchester City learn from insane mistakes?

Manchester City’s concession of the Premier League title and Chelsea’s concession of their Champions League title should provide food for thought to their big-spending owners.

Manchester City spent £54 million on transfers since their title win last term whilst Chelsea spent £92 million on transfers in the same period.

City may yet win the FA Cup and Chelsea the Europa League but, regardless, both sets of supporters will consider this term a disappointment given the incredible successes of last term.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger stated this week he is a little ‘afraid’ of what Chelsea might do this summer whilst new English champions Manchester United are reportedly expected to spend up to £120 million just to keep apace with City’s re-investment this summer.

However, a closer look and perhaps some self-evaluation might provide both City and Chelsea with better insight going forward. Spending vast sums of money didn’t actually work for them.

Manchester United’s £24.5 million signing of Robin van Persie effectively won them the title – Sir Alex Ferguson’s preference to keep continuity with veterans like Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, and Rio Ferdinand paid dividends as Chelsea prepare to let Frank Lampard walk away for nothing at the end of the season.

Borussia Dortmund, meanwhile, spent the equivalent of £23 million in the same period and actually, taking in to account their transfer market profits of £29.3 million, made gains of £6.3 million and look increasingly likely to play Bayern Munich in the Champions League final at Wembley this year.

Chelsea and City, if they really analyse their transfer and wage policies may well come to the reasonable conclusion that something isn’t right and, more importantly, spending vast sums of money isn’t really working.

Swansea knocked Chelsea out of the Capital One Cup, which they went on to win with a squad earning a combined £17.4 million a year to Chelsea’s player wages, which far exceed £1 billion annually.

City’s Yaya Toure recently signed a new four-year contract worth £45 million over it’s duration despite playing in 5 out of 6 of City’s Champions League games term, none of which they won and, subsequently, exited the competition bottom of their group, not even managing to qualify for a Europa League place.

Call it ‘silly money’, call it ‘squad re-investment’, call it what you like – it’s not working. All the money in the world couldn’t compete with Sir Alex Ferguson’s signing of the best striker in the league, nor could any managerial change compete with his 27 years of experience and consistency at Manchester United.

No amount of wages could motivate Chelsea’s players to beat Swansea or Corinthians or Juventus or Shakhtar Donetsk or Atletico Madrid and no player brought in for God knows how much could replace the commitment and determination of a player like Frank Lampard.

Chelsea may well sign Radamel Falcao, they might lure Marouane Fellaini away from Goodison, they might even bring back Jose Mourinho, but they will still need to assess their financial policy and look at alternative means of winning trophies in the future.

City will likely offload a number of players this summer and replace them with more big names on big wages for big fees but they will still need to address their inability to motivate them once they're there.

Money makes the world go round and the world of football is no exception but money can’t buy success – throwing money at any problem is never the best solution. Chelsea and City should have realized that this term but, alas, those who do not learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them.

We can expect yet another summer of splashing cash but I have a sneaking suspicion the outcome may well be the same. That is, after all, the definition of insanity – repeating the same behaviour, expecting different results.

image: © Crystian Cruz

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