Newly promoted Leicester City reportedly have £180million to spend, but will it buy success?
Leicester City have won promotion back into the Premier League after a 10-year absence.
This prompted their billionaire owner’s representative, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, to boldly state a willingness to spend big in order to sustain Leicester’s top-flight existence for as long as possible.
The club’s aim, he stated, is to establish Leicester City as a top-five competitor within three years, possible, he asserts, with the investment of around £180 million.
Srivaddhanaprabha’s strategy is certainly bold and optimistic, but risks appearing naïve and somewhat hubristic.
His belief that substantial cash injection can propel a fledgling side up the league is partly true – Manchester City and Chelsea can attest to that – but not infallible, as QPR discovered to their detriment during the 2012/13 season.
QPR entered the 11/12 Premier League season in a similar position to Leicester. Having just achieved promotion, their wealthy new owners invested around £60million in transfer fees alone over the following two years, only to be relegated during 12/13.
To add further context, this figure dwarfed their cumulative transfer spend of the previous twenty years!
QPR’s problem, it seemed, was one of unwise investment. They signed a total of thirty new players giving their squad a complete overhaul. However, they were not signing world stars capable of winning games singlehandedly, but a group of mediocre individuals motivated by large salaries.
The new group were strangers to one another, vastly different to the team that had recently gained promotion.
As we all know, football is a game championed by teams and if you can’t afford a Ronaldo or Messi to win games independently, the key to victory is team chemistry which, unfortunately for QPR, is not a readily available commodity.
Leicester risk falling at the same hurdle. If they crave success, they must keep the backbone of their promotion winning side intact and add a handful of star turns to enhance it. There though, again, lies a potential quandary.
Animosity can form within a promoted squad when new signings are offered Premier League salaries that dwarf their own relatively meagre earnings.
No doubt the Leicester City owners are aware of these examples of past failures. It is true investment can help, but a mixture of other factors impact league position, too. As the QPR example suggests, the result of unwise investment can be equal to no investment at all.
It is a fine balancing act that can result in a hefty fall, and the wealthy Thai owners would be wise to move more slowly than they’ve announced otherwise, unless they have Messi up their sleeve, risk a swift return to the Championship.