The two most successful English clubs of recent times go head-to-head this weekend as the Premier League comes back with a bang.
Chelsea travel to Manchester City in hopes of halting the runaway league leaders’ momentum and reigniting the title race.
City have been unstoppable of late, winning their last 11 consecutive games in the top flight to build a ten-point lead at the top of the table.
They face a Chelsea side who are confident after dispatching Tottenham over two legs to reach the Carabao Cup final.
It’s going to be an intriguing game with some of the most expensive players in world football going head-to-head at the Etihad – live on talkSPORT.
However, in terms of money spent, City and Chelsea’s market success have followed very different trajectories.
Both clubs spent huge sums, but for Chelsea, their business oddly showed that the more expensive they are, the less successful the signing.
Lukaku is the club’s most expensive player after joining last summer for £97.5million, but he did his best to become a foe on his return when he admitted he was “unhappy of his situation and criticized how he was being used by Thomas Tuchel.
Kai Havertz is next on the list, and while he will forever have legendary status for his Champions League final winner, the jury is still out privately on the £72m German.
Before that, unanimous failure Kepa Arrizabalaga held Chelsea’s most expensive flop title.
The Spaniard arrived for £70million but a series of poor displays under Frank Lampard soon exiled him from the first XI.
Alvaro Morata, Christian Pulisic and Fernando Torres round out Chelsea’s six biggest signings and all three, as we know, were disappointed after their big moves, but the American has time to put things right.
But further down the list, Jorginho, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell and Mateo Kovacic have mostly been hit, well apart from a few misfires from Werner.
Next comes Andriy Shevchenko.
The Ukrainian cost £30million and was one of the world’s top scorers at AC Milan but, like so many Chelsea forwards over the years, he somehow lost touch in front of goal on arrival.
Then you come to the cheap buys and some of them turned out to be absolute pennies.
The recent signing of Edouard Mendy is perhaps the best of the lot.
The 6ft 5in goalkeeper arrived from Rennes for a modest £22million – and no one could honestly say he had any idea if he was any good or not.
Spotted by Petr Cech, Mendy has now achieved similar feats to the legendary Czech in just under two seasons at Stamford Bridge.
Olivier Giroud and Pedro were shrewd acquisitions and brought great value to West London, when we all know some of the club’s most valuable players now, Mason Mount, Reece James and Andreas Christensen all came free from the academy.
Cesc Fabregas was signed for just £25million when he was arguably at the peak of his powers, and the same can be said for N’Golo Kante, who has a case for claiming he was the steal of the century at just over £30 million.
Meanwhile, Thibaut Courtois, Cesar Azpilicueta and Gary Cahill, remarkably, all cost £22million and went on to contribute to plenty of headlines in west London.
Chelsea’s highest fee paid
1. Romelu Lukaku – £97.5m
2. Kai Havertz – £72m
3. Kepa Arrizabalaga – £70m
4 = Fernando Torres – £50m
4=. Jorginho – £50m
4 = Ben Chilwell – £50m
7. Alvaro Morata – £48.5m
8. Timo Werner – £47.5m
9. Mateo Kovacic – £45million
10. Christian Pulisic – £42m
Nemanja Matic and Marcos Alonso have also proven to be bargains at £20m each and Chelsea haven’t overpaid Eden Hazard, Diego Costa, Willian, David Luiz, Antonio Rudiger, Juan Mata or Oscar either – all signed for between £25 million and £35 million.
Compare that with Manchester City and you’ll find that more often than not their big buys have proven to be worth every penny.
Ruben Dias, Raheem Sterling, Kyle Walker, Riyad Mahrez and Joao Cancelo have all arrived for £50m or more and each of them have proven themselves in the sky blue shirt.
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In fact, aside from Benjamin Mendy, who arrived for £52million from Monaco in 2017, it’s hard to pinpoint too many bad signings made by City.
It’s perhaps hard to pass too much judgment on Lukaku and Havertz as they only recently joined the club.
Blues fans won’t mind the latter’s criticism as he delivered the holy grail last summer.
But analyzing their activity lately, the Stamford Bridge hierarchy should be wary of spending big bucks again in the near future.
After all, they have one of the best academies in the world producing incredible talent for fun, so they are way ahead of the majority of clubs.
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