How Big-Spending Clubs Like Monaco Have Fared in Their First Seasons

Nicholas McGeeContributor IJuly 11, 2013

MADRID, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 25:  Radamel Falcao of Club Atletico de Madrid celebrates after scoring his team's opening goal during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Sevilla FC at Vicente Calderon Stadium on November 25, 2012 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

The revolution that has taken place at the Stade Louis II in Monaco so far this summer has understandably raised plenty of eyebrows.

Few would have expected the likes of Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho to join the newly promoted Ligue 1 side at the end of last season, but now manager Claudio Ranieri has a side that appears capable of challenging for major honors.

Eric Abidal, Nicolas Isimat-Mirin and Ricardo Carvalho have also bolstered Ranieri's squad.

Many believe Monaco can now challenge Paris Saint-Germain for the Ligue 1 crown next season, but historical precedent indicates it may take a while for their expensive squad to gel.

A number of teams have attempted to break into the world's elite by spending big, but how have they fared in their opening campaigns following their respective sprees? Bleacher Report looks back at the evidence.



Ranieri is well-versed in managing wealthy clubs; the Italian was in charge of Chelsea after Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003.

Abramovich's funds allowed Ranieri to rebuild his squad, with the likes of Damien Duff, Glen Johnson, Joe Cole and Claude Makelele all agreeing to move to Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea impressed and were many people's favorites for the title, but in the end they fell short, finishing second behind unbeaten Arsenal.

The Blues were knocked out in the semi-finals of the Champions League, but success would not be far 'round the corner, with Ranieri being replaced by Jose Mourinho in the offseason. The rest, as they say, is history.


Manchester City

The latest team in the Premier League to gatecrash the top four, Manchester City's rise to the top of the English game took longer than expected after the Abu Dhabi United Group purchased the club in September 2008.

Still, the 2008-09 campaign proved to be quite a disappointment for City, then managed by Mark Hughes, and they could not finish higher than 10th in spite of a January transfer window in which they secured the services of Brazilian attacker Robinho.

Hughes' time in Manchester proved to be unsuccessful, and it wasn't until the arrival of Roberto Mancini that City would finally establish themselves as one of the top teams in England, eventually sealing their first Premier League title in unforgettable fashion at the end of the 2011-12 season.



La Liga side Malaga were taken over by Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani in June 2010, but their first campaign following that deal produced mixed results.

The club appointed Jesualdo Ferreira as manager and singed the likes of Eliseu and Salomon Rondon. However, they struggled in the early going and were in the relegation zone when Ferreira was sacked and replaced by Manuel Pellegrini in November.

Pellegrini revived the fortunes of the team somewhat, bringing striker Julio Baptista and defender Martin Demichelis, but they could only finish 11th despite a significant outlay.

Malaga have risen to prominence since, though, with Pellegrini guiding them to the Champions League quarter-finals last term before opting to leave for Manchester City in May.



Monaco will most likely be looking to follow the example of rivals PSG, who took a mere two years to rise to the top of the French game following their takeover by Qatar Investment Authority in 2011.

Most anticipated that the Parc des Princes club would snatch their first league title in their debut season under new ownership after the likes of Kevin Gameiro, Blaise Matuidi and Javier Pastore all moved to the capital.

It looked as though PSG would prevail halfway through the season, as they headed to the winter break as autumn champions under the stewardship of Antoine Kombouare.

Kombouare was surprisingly sacked and replaced by Carlo Ancelotti in December, but the change did not have the desired effect and largely unfancied Montpellier were crowned champions.

PSG were not to be denied last term, though, as a side containing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Ezequiel Lavezzi won the league by a comfortable margin and managed to reach the last eight of the Champions League.

Ranieri's changes will have designs on bringing the Parisians back down to earth this campaign, but history suggests that will be no easy task.