In the modern day of football, It’s a sad reality that just about any achievement or issue is aided or solved by a clubs financial power, and their ability to use it effectively. As much as we don’t want to admit it, money talks, and it’s as simple as that.
Scan Twitter on any given match-day for fan opinions, and often you will find a wealth of comments that only further feed into this idea…
“We simply have to invest this January window or we’re going down”
“Our club has all this money from sales, yet the higher forces are choosing to line their pockets with it!”
“£18M for Mario Lemina? That’s the best bit of business Southampton have ever done”
Whether it’s projecting views on transfers, shining a bright light on the club, or even quite the opposite, most opinions within football come right back to the subject of money.
Southampton FC in particular, are a club where numerous fans have questioned the willingness of the higher forces to re-invest. Our ability at finding value for money in the transfer market is impeccable, and on numerous occasions now we’ve commanded eight digit figures for the services of our players; causing some to question the ambition of our club, under the assumption that were not directly reinvesting the money received from player sales.
But using data provided by the Global Sports Salaries Survey of 2017, we’re able to gain some insight as fans into just how much our club is investing on a yearly basis.
Southampton have been criticised over recent seasons for failing to invest proportionally to their sales, but when you take a look at their respected company in the table shown above, such claims suddenly hold little weight.
The survey claims that Southampton are believed to pay £2,271,286 (£43,679) per player per year on average, placing them in 10th when compared to the other Premier League sides.
When placed alongside NBA, NFL, MLB, IPL and NHL teams, the survey also found that Southampton boast the 110th largest wage bill of a sport club in the world.
Southampton are obviously never going to challenge any of the teams above Tottenham Hotspur financially or domestically, so let’s wipe them from the chart. It should be no surprise that those teams top us in the table.
From there the only teams outspending us on a yearly basis are West Ham by just under £700k, Everton by £530k and Leicester City by £220k.
And to be perfectly honest with you, I’m not surprised that any of these sides have pipped us in the table.
Leicester City have the financial advantage of winning the Premier League back in 2015/16, followed by an impressive season of Champions League football the year after.
Everton have the backing of Farhad Moshiri, as well as the Romelu Lukaku money that they invested into numerous first team players.
And then you have West Ham, who are… well… West Ham. Plenty of money being thrown around, but little sense, direction or strategy.
These are the teams that Southampton need to be competing with, and at this moment in time Everton and Leicester are just one and five points away respectively.
Watford are also just three points ahead of the Saints, whilst Burnley are on a one man mission to break the relationship between investment and success in the Premier League.
So what exactly does this chart appear to show us?
In my eyes, two things; the first is that whilst there is a rough correlation between the two, there’s obviously no guarantee of success or improvement with investment.
The second is that Southampton Football Club certainly cannot be accused of under-investing.
Sure, maybe we missed a trick in not signing an additional forward or winger over the summer, but I’d be more inclined to blame that on a failure to identify a clear weakness, rather than a fear or reluctance to invest.
If you wish to read further into the interesting findings of this survey, then follow this link to download the data for free