Another transfer window…a hundred more rumours before we reach the meat and gravy of Villa new signings. Will there be much meat on the bone of signings in January? Well that depends on whether Lambert will deviate from his buy young policy. In the meantime, Villa fans are crying out for Randy Lerner to open his purse strings, while others call for him to leave the club. Is this fair? Lets look at the Randy Lerner transfer spend compared to other Premiership teams in the last five years…
Villa are in the top four of the net spenders (Stoke are third!), while only five clubs in total have spent more than Villa over a five-year span (this matches Villa’s Top 6 wage spend too). Villa’s return in terms of League placings in the current season and last two seasons is well below par. In spending alone, Martin O’Neil got Villa to where they were entitled to be on spend, although he needed to hit the Top 4 and qualify for the Champion’s League not to incur the fall-out that his successors have suffered. High-wage contracted and demotivated players.
How Recent Managers Compare
Interestingly, the amount that Paul Lambert was granted in his first summer transfer window was comparable with the average season amount (including January window) that O’Neil received. So it would be harsh to claim that Lerner isn’t backing his man, or has tightened his purse strings.
Before and after Lerner Buyout in Villa Premiership History
Of course you have to consider inflation, but Lerner has injected more cash into transfers than Doug Ellis did since the top division was rebranded as the Premiership in the 1992-93 season. Also, Villa had spent a similar amount to Chelsea before Abramovich came to town, shortly before Lerner took over at Villa. Both clubs had won cups, with Villa having higher league positions in the early days of the Premiership while Chelsea more consistent in the later seasons. Albramavich’s spending power then shattered any comparisons, with the Russian spending over three-times the amount Lerner has.
Interesting though, Villa have spent about the same about on players as Arsenal have since they moved to the Emirates, a year after Lerner brought Villa. Arsenal though have managed to command greater sell-on fees with their top players going for top dollar to the likes of Manchester City and Barcelona. More importantly, they have also sustained their Champion’s League status, making Martin O’Neil’s failure more apparent, as it seemed the Villa board’s policy at the time was Top Four – all or nothing.
Lambert’s Plan Lerner’s Only Chance?
The broad strokes of these statistics are that Lerner has not ‘lost it’ and he sees that Lambert’s investing in youth philosophy is offering a viable long-term approach to Champion’s League qualification in the future. In building a nucleus of young players that will have played with each other for a few seasons, then it’s a case of Lerner adding quality ‘final piece of the jigsaw’ players to the team in later seasons. A better business plan than the O’Neil buy premium British high-wage players, who’s talent is over-valued.
Th last couple of seasons have jolted the momentum of Lerner’s vision and not to mention cost him financially.
The only question that remains is can Villa supporters wait that long? Well, to be honest, they will have to, as this might be the only way of breaking the top five or so clubs in the league, who we’d struggle to match head-on in terms of spending power in the transfer market. If Lambert can get us to cup semis and finals on route, who are we to complain?
Check out the website Transfer League for a full history of Villa transfers during the history of the Premiership. These above tables in this post are taken from there.
Follow MOMS on Twitter on @oldmansaid