Cashing Out for Victory: Premier League Managers' Multi-Million Pound Buying Habits

Updated: 38 Football

Are Premier League victories bought? Dive into the fascinating trends in managers' spending since 2000, uncovering who's splashed the most cash and the cost of their titles.

Cashing Out for Victory: Premier League Managers' Multi-Million Pound Buying Habits
In this article: Which EPL Manager Has Spent The Most Money
Dan Tracey Data Scientist and Football Editor

Writer, analyst, podcaster, Spurs fan. Three out of four is not bad. If there is a data angle, I will find it.

Ever wondered if there's a price tag for Premier League victory? Our deep dive into the past two decades of manager spending might just hold the answer. Learn who invested the most in their squad, the average spend per player and the cost-effectiveness of Premier League title wins. The results might surprise you.

Are football victories bought? 🤔💰

We delve into 20 years of Premier League manager spends revealing astonishing insights! ⚽️🏆

We all know that football clubs spend vast amounts of money these days and the reasons can differ depending on where they sit in the food chain. Expense can be carried out in the pursuit of victory, or it can be carried out to keep the relegation trapdoor at bay.

As the cost of success becomes all the more expensive, the demand from managers becomes more frequent. A club at the top of the league ladder needs a new striker to keep them there, a team at the bottom needs to shore up its leaky defence.

The board members who release the funds sweat over the latest round of investment and if it pays off, it can be viewed as money well spent. On the other hand, if such expenditure does not have the desired effect, the money is then viewed as wasted.

This leads to the question of which managers have spent the most since the turn of the millennium and perhaps more importantly, are their employers getting value for money when it comes to transfer outlay.

The first way to measure this is by looking at the 50 Premier League managers that have spent the most money since the 2000/01 season got underway and are list of half centurions looks as follows: 

Rank Manager Clubs Players Expenditure Spend Per Player
1 Pep Guardiola 1 47 €1,480,000,000 €31,489,362
2 José Mourinho 3 64 €1,340,000,000 €20,937,500
3 Mauricio Pochettino 3 40 €945,180,000 €23,629,500
4 Jürgen Klopp 1 31 €933,500,000 €30,112,903
5 Arsène Wenger 1 81 €890,870,000 €10,998,395
6 Eddie Howe 2 42 €716,260,000 €17,053,810
7 Brendan Rodgers 3 51 €691,780,000 €13,564,314
8 Mikel Arteta 1 23 €688,240,000 €29,923,478
9 Alex Ferguson 1 52 €666,710,000 €12,821,346
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At the top of the list, it is Pep Guardiola. The Manchester City manager celebrated winning the treble last season and now the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss can also celebrate spending just under €1.5bn since the turn of the millennium.

Pep knows how to spend and is given the funds to to do so at City - Credit: cristiano barni / Shutterstock.com

Of course, it must also be noted that Guardiola has only been in charge at the Etihad since the start of the 2016/17 season. 47 players have arrived in the blue half of Manchester, each of them worth €31.4m on average.

The summer splurge that Guardiola undertook has also seen him move past former rival Jose Mourinho. The one-time Special One may no longer be managing in the Premier League, but his legacy was a rather expensive one.

Guardiola Outspends Rival Mourinho in Billion-Euro Buying Spree

🔝💰 Pep Guardiola, the treble-winning Manchester City manager, tops the list having spent nearly €1.5bn since 2000. Since taking up the reins in 2016, his average signing cost stands at €31.4m! Summer splurges have seen him surpass former rival Jose Mourinho. ⚽🔵

The Special One has Special Spending Habits - Oleksandr Osipov//shutterstock

Two stints at Chelsea and one at Manchester United see the now Roma boss rack up €1.34bn in Premier League transfer spend and this comes courtesy of bringing in 64 players to either Old Trafford or Stamford Bridge.

Then again, the current Chelsea manager is not far off bringing in 64 players to West London himself. That man is Mauricio Pochettino and although his time at Tottenham was not known for its largesse, things are far different since he has moved across the capital.

With Chelsea seemingly going for broke under new owner Todd Boehly, Pochettino has now spent a total of €945m when it comes to Premier League transfers and with the way he and his current employers are going, breaking the billion cannot be all that far away.

The Billionaire Managers Club:

🔀💸 From Chelsea to Man United to Roma, Mourinho’s transfers sum up to €1.34bn! But Mauricio Pochettino is hot on his heels with a total Premiere League spend of €945m. With Chelsea's new owner, the Billion Club might have a new member soon! ⚽️💰

Jurgen Klopp’s summer spending has now moved himself up to fourth at the expense of Arsene Wenger and with the latter having spent just short of €900m during his illustrious Arsenal career, it would be surprising if he ever added to that figure.

Wenger finds himself just €200m higher up than Mikel Arteta in eighth and with the current Arsenal manager set to sign a new contract at the Emirates, it may only take a couple more windows for the two swap places in the table above. 

Arteta is how on Wengers tail so far as spending goes - Credit: MDI / Shutterstock.com

Now that we know the top 50 in terms of Premier League manager spend since the start of the 2000/01 season, we need to get a better idea of which men have the most amount of largesse when it comes to purchasing players. 

The best way to measure this is by looking at the average spend of the managers in our database and list them from top to bottom: 

Rank New Rank Manager Clubs Players Expenditure Spend Per Player
40 1 Maurizio Sarri 1 4 €208,800,000 €52,200,000
16 2 Erik ten Hag 1 11 €449,980,000 €40,907,273
20 3 Thomas Tuchel 1 10 €399,990,000 €39,999,000
28 4 Frank Lampard 2 10 €325,400,000 €32,540,000
1 5 Pep Guardiola 1 47 €1,480,000,000 €31,489,362
4 6 Jürgen Klopp 1 31 €933,500,000 €30,112,903
8 7 Mikel Arteta 1 23 €688,240,000 €29,923,478
41 8 Ange Postecoglou 1 7 €208,600,000 €29,800,000
15 9 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 2 16 €470,250,000 €29,390,625
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When looking at the list of 50 managers on an average spend basis it is Maurizio Sarri who went big during his one season at Chelsea. Just four players were shipped into West London his watchful eye, the overall outlay of €208m works out at €52m per player. 

Ballers on a Budget? Not These Premier League Managers!

💥💰 Maurizio Sarri went big in his sole Chelsea season, spending a whooping €52m per player! Erik ten Hag's reign at Manchester United parallels: 11 new faces and €449m spent, averaging €40.9m per player! Chelsea bosses rule the roost, taking three of the top four spots! ⚽️🔝

While Erik ten Hag has only been in the current Manchester United hotseat for just over a season and although he will expect to be there for a lot longer than that, he may need to turn down the rate of expenditure.

Is Ten hag spending too fast? - Editorial credit: kivnl / Shutterstock.com

Eleven players have arrived at the Theatre of Dreams under ten Hag and with €449m being spent by the Dutchman, it equates to just over €40.9m per player – a figure that just knocks Thomas Tuchel into third position.

Tuchel in third and another Chelsea manager in fourth – not only that, but Chelsea managers have locked out three of the top four positions. Joining Sarri and Tuchel in West London is none other than Frank Lampard.

The former Chelsea boss may have also spent some money at Everton but overall, the former midfielder has been allowed to purchase 10 players during his time as a Premier League manager and at an average of €32.5m.

The first manager to lift a Premier League trophy in the average spend list is Pep Guardiola in seventh. The Manchester City manager averages €31.4m per player at the Etihad. Not bad for a man who has delivered five titles to the club. 

Of course, it is not all about the glitz and glamour of the Premier League’s elite, this list of 50 managers also focuses on the men who are more akin to firefighting or at the very least having a penchant for being a wheeler dealer.

Bargain Hunters at the Helm: How Allardyce and Redknapp Stretch Their Transfer Budgets

🛡️🔥 Sam Allardyce, known as the fire extinguisher of football, stands 48th out of our top 50 with an average spend of €4.89m per player. Harry Redknapp, the bargain hunter, is hot on his heels, averaging €4.87m across 61 signings! 👀💶

The best example of someone who puts out fires is none other than Sam Allardyce. The former Leeds manager has purchased 56 players during his multiple stints as a top tier boss, each of those 56 equate to a total of €273.9m or €4.89m on average.

The Firefighter - Source: leedsunited.com

Such an average puts Allardyce in 48th place out of our top 50 and it is almost fitting that the man who loves a bargain sits one position behind him. That man of course is none other than Harry Redknapp and he has signed 61 players at a total of €297.4m or €4.87m on average.

At the bottom of the table, is another manager known for his seniority. Roy Hodgson is currently back in the Premier League saddle as Crystal Palace manager and his overall Premier League spend since 2000 stands at €185m for 42 players – an average of just €4.4m.

The average spend of a manager will certainly provide us further context, but what if we were to look at arguably the truest measure of value. How much has it cost each Premier League winning manager to win a title. 

10 men have achieved such legendary status since the beginning of the 2000/01 season and here is how the look when looking at their spend from an efficiency perspective.

Rank Manager Clubs PL Titles Players Expenditure Spend Per PL Title Spend Per Player
1 Alex Ferguson 1 7 52 €666,710,000 €95,244,286 €12,821,346
2 Carlo Ancelotti 2 1 13 €225,870,000 €225,870,000 €17,374,615
3 Pep Guardiola 1 5 47 €1,480,000,000 €296,000,000 €31,489,362
4 Roberto Mancini 1 1 18 €344,610,000 €344,610,000 €19,145,000
5 Claudio Ranieri 4 1 35 €384,950,000 €384,950,000 €10,998,571
6 Arsène Wenger 1 2 81 €890,870,000 €445,435,000 €10,998,395
7 José Mourinho 3 3 64 €1,340,000,000 €446,666,667 €20,937,500
8 Antonio Conte 2 1 21 €597,400,000 €597,400,000 €28,447,619
9 Manuel Pellegrini 2 1 28 €615,470,000 €615,470,000 €21,981,071
10 Jürgen Klopp 1 1 31 €933,500,000 €933,500,000 €30,112,903
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Before we take a deep dive, we must clarify the data here. For someone who has managed more than one club, their overall spend is measured and not just the spend for the club that they won the title for. 

Home grown talent and shrewd investment were the order of the day for Alex

If you want transfer spend efficiency than Sir Alex Ferguson is certainly your man. Seven Premier League titles since the year 2000, each of them costing just €95m. On that alone, you would have to say that it was money well spent.

52 players walked through the doors at the Theatre of Dreams from the year 2000 to his retirement, each of those 52 cost a little more than €12m on average and when you look at the figure of €95m per title, it is small change when compared to the other nine managers in the list.

The Power of Prudence: Sir Alex Ferguson's Masterclass in Transfer Efficiency

🏆💡 Sir Alex Ferguson, the embodiment of transfer efficiency! Seven Premier League titles post-2000, costing just €95m each - talk about value! 💼⚽️ With 52 players each costing over €12m on average, his prudent strategy is untouched even by Carlo Ancelotti.

Carlo Ancelotti is second in the list and although many may forget that he was the Everton manager for a short amount of time, his expenditure there has driven up the efficiency that came with winning the Premier League as Chelsea boss.

His per Premier League title figure now stands at €225m for the one and only crown he delivered to Stamford Bridge. That is just over €70m less than that of Pep Guardiola, as he once again masterminded more Premier League success in May 2023. 

Five titles for Guardiola and just one for Roberto Mancini in fourth. The former Manchester City manager spent a total of €344m during his own time at the Etihad, as 18 players finally got the club to the holy grail.

While Leicester certainly won the holy grail in 2016 under Claudio Ranieri management. The wily old Italian may have managed three other Premier League clubs since the year 2000 and this means his own per title expenditure comes in at €384m. 

Counting the Cost of Glory: Tallying the Expense of Premier League Titles

🏆💵 From Guardiola to Klopp, Premier League titles don't come cheap! Guardiola clinched 5 for €344m each, Mancini 1 for €384m, while Ranieri’s single Leicester City win cost €384m. Wenger's two titles? €445m each. Hold on, Klopp’s Liverpool victory? A whopping €933.5m! ⚽️💰

Still some way cheaper than that of Arsene Wenger in sixth. The former Arsenal boss delivered Premier League titles in both 2002 and 2004 during the duration of our data sample and the two of those were worth €445m each.

Just €1m less than that of Jose Mourinho and had the Portuguese icon not taken spells with both Manchester United and Tottenham, his own average title cost of €446m would certainly be lower than it currently is.

Talking of not taking spells at Tottenham, Antonio Conte probably wishes he had not bothered as his per title average figure has swelled to €597.4m and by comparison this is €18m more than Manuel Pellegrini’s success at Manchester City and a stop off as West Ham manager

There has been no stop offs for Jurgen Klopp though, €933.5m spent and 1 Premier League title. It may seem like a lot of money but it also fair to say that ending Liverpool’s title drought of 30 plus years was almost priceless.



Methodology and Editorial Information

This article was researched and fact-checked by Dan Tracey who also then added the words - Dan is a multi-talented writer, data analyst and podcaster whose six-year career in the sports data sphere has seen incredible successes. From helping UEFA create their annual technical reports to writing articles for Sports Betting Websites, including sites like TheLinesUS and Goal


Source

Data from Transfermarkt – Updated 16th September 2023.

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