With the news that Liverpool have agreed to pay £75m to finally capture the services of Southampton's Virgil van Dijk, with that outlay also going on to be a world record amount paid for a defender it begs the question as to whether or not this move can be deemed good value or not.
Ultimately the true value of the Netherlands international's move to Anfield can only truly be measured by whether or not Liverpool can once again return to the Champions League next season, a top four finish and it will undoubtedly be money well spent but should the Merseyside outfit end up either in fifth or sixth then the criticism that Jurgen Klopp has overspent will be levied in his direction.
That expenditure of £75m for the 26 year old means that Jurgen Klopp has spent £221.3m since his arrival at Anfield back in October 2015 but how does that stack up against the likes of Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho.
After Manchester United's 2-2 draw with Burnley at Old Trafford, Jose Mourinho was quoted as saying “Manchester City buy full-backs for the price of Strikers” as he lamented the fact that spending £300m was simply not enough to keep pace with the runaway league leaders.
On closer inspection it is actually £291m that Jose Mourinho has spent since his arrival at Old Trafford last Summer, in comparison when we look at the blue half of Manchester his Etihad counterpart Pep Guardiola has spent £365.85m in the same time frame.
Therefore Pep Guardiola has spent £74.85m more than that of Jose Mourinho and £144.55m when compared to the outlay of Jurgen Klopp but how does this stack up in terms of trophies won by each of the three clubs?
Manchester United have won 3 trophies under Mourinho winning a treble of sorts when last season they landed the Community Shield, League Cup and Europa League while both Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp are still yet to land their first silverware for the respective clubs.
You get the feeling that is certainly something that will change come the end of the season as far as Manchester City are concerned and their heavy outlay in chasing accolades such as the Premier League will finally be fully justified.
This means that Jose Mourinho's £291m spent in the past 18 months has delivered a trophy at a cost of £97m per piece of silverware lifted. You could argue that is a fair amount of money but at the same time it is three more than Manchester City and Liverpool have won.
However for all the riches that the Red Devils have they have still failed to land the Premier League title under Mourinho and it looks as if for all the money in the world that they will have to wait until the start of the next season to have another tilt at winning England's top domestic title.
Now we know the cost per trophy let's now take a look at how much it costs each of these three clubs per win – to give us the fairest comparison for this trio of clubs I will calculate the spending of each of the clubs from June 2016 onwards – the time in which Mourinho and Guardiola joined their respective Manchester clubs so that we have a level playing field.
Amount spent since June 2016
This is what the three teams have spent since June 2016
Manchester United - £291m
Manchester City - £365.85m
Liverpool - £215.9m
Amount of wins
And at the time of writing the trio of clubs have played 58 Premier League matches, these are how many they have won in that time
Manchester United – 31 Wins
Manchester City – 41 Wins
Liverpool – 32 Wins
Price per win
Therefore the price per win for each club is as follows
Manchester United - £9.38m
Manchester City - £8.92m
Liverpool - £6.74m
Liverpool are getting more value for money in terms of money per win but perhaps this indicates that it is more worthwhile to spend big and then you will be rewarded. Manchester United have spent the most per win but at the same time they can point to the three trophies that are in their trophy cabinet.
Amount of goals
If we used the same logic to see how much a goal costs each club in comparison to their outlay, it is as follows – again after 58 Premier League games played
Manchester United – 97 goals
Manchester City – 141 goals
Liverpool – 124 goals
Price per goal
Therefore the price per goal for each club is as follows
Manchester United - £3m
Manchester City - £2.59m
Liverpool - £1.74m
This time around it looks as if Liverpool are at least getting value for money with all the attacking talent at their disposal but it is also apparent that they have been let down by their defence, something that the arrival of Virgil van Dijk should at least rectify.
While Manchester City's all star line up is certainly proving its worth this season as they make light work of all that has gone before them. At just over £2.5m per goal it is beginning to look like money very well spent
Total Net Spend
Net spend is usually a hot topic when it comes to the biggest clubs in the Premier League as it is not just how much you can spend but also how much you can recoup in a bid to land the prizes at the end of the season. If we compare the net spend of each of the three clubs since June 2016.
Manchester United - £291m Out, £53.08m In - Net Spend £237.92m
Manchester City - £365.85m Out, £78.65m In - Net Spend £289m
Liverpool - £215.9m Out, £113.05m In - Net Spend £102.85m
Here you can see that at least Jurgen Klopp has gone someway to balancing the books at Anfield while even with the multitude of players that have left Manchester there is still a much more sizeable outlay
If we used the same metrics per win/per goal and applied it to net spend only this is what it would look like – again using the measure of 58 Premier League matches
Price per win (Net Spend)
Price per win using net spend since June 2016
Manchester United - £7.64m
Manchester City - £7.04m
Liverpool - £3.21m
Price per goal (Net Spend)
Price per goal using net spend since June 2016
Manchester United - £2.45m
Manchester City - £2.04m
Liverpool - £820,000
Here you can see that Liverpool are not spending all that much to get the results they require but at the same time they are not winning anything either with the figures per win and per goal being dwarfed by the Manchester duo.
Therefore in conclusion it seems as if at the end of the day no matter how well you set your team up in the pursuit of success as a manager the only real guarantee of trophies is to spend and not only that spend big. Do that and silverware will not be all that far away.
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