Ranking the World's Top Leagues After Deadline Day
The movement in the transfer market this summer has seen an adjustment in the balance of power among the continent's top football leagues.
While the Bundesliga boasts the current European champions in Bayern Munich, the top two spots in these power rankings are occupied by the Spanish and English leagues, which have spent big over the summer to add to their already extensive talent pools.
Brilliant transfer market management from several Italian teams has seen Serie A increase its gravitas, and French clubs continue to splash the cash to bring star power to their league.
The following factors were taken into consideration when calculating the status of the top seven leagues in Europe following this summer's transfer campaign:
- The total accumulative worth of the league based on the values of all its individual players.
- The total transfer outlay by a country over the summer.
- UEFA's coefficient ranking system to assess the league's performance in recent seasons.
- How many teams from each country have a realistic chance of winning the Champions League.
- Influential players who have joined or left the league over the summer.
7. Primeira Liga
Overall Value of League: €806.6 million
2013/14 Transfer Outlay: €73.335 million
UEFA Coefficient Points: 54.466
UEFA Ranking: 5
The Portuguese league has never had the financial clout of La Liga, Serie A or the Premier League.
Rather, the trend over the years has been for clubs to purchase promising players before nurturing them, and then selling them on for a much higher price.
That has not prevented Portuguese teams such as Sporting Lisbon, Porto, Braga and Benfica achieving success in Europe, and a UEFA ranking of 5 is testament to their consistent performances in international competitions.
However, the transfers of James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho from Porto to Monaco over the summer are indicative of the difficulty clubs from the Iberian nation have in hanging on to their biggest names.
6. Premier Liga
Overall Value of League: €1.221 billion
2013/14 Transfer Outlay: €272.225 million
UEFA Coefficient Points: 40.332
UEFA Ranking: 7
The 'fire sale' at Anzhi Makhachkala, the reasons for which were explained by Anton Kolodyazhnyy of Reuters.com, has resulted in the departure to Chelsea of Willian and Samuel Eto'o.
It has also bolstered the squads of several other Premier Liga clubs, with Dynamo Moscow in particular taking advantage of Anzhi's desperation to offload players.
Dynamo signed no less than eight players from their rivals, for a total outlay of €67 million.
In truth, Zenit St Petersburg and CSKA Moscow should be tough to beat in the Champions League, while several of the Europa League contingent will fancy their chances of going all the way in that competition.
5. Ligue 1
Overall Value of League: €1.53 billion
2013/14 Transfer Outlay: €380.7 million
UEFA Coefficient Points: 50.166
UEFA Ranking: 6
Some huge names joined Ligue 1 this summer to further bolster the status of the French league.
Paris St Germain and Monaco were the two clubs responsible for the biggest splurges, with the Paris club recruiting Edinson Cavani and Marquinhos from Napoli and Roma respectively.
Meanwhile, Monaco secured the double signing of James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho from Porto and Radamel Falcao from Atletico Madrid.
PSG have a manageable group in the Champions League and will be aiming to go deep into the tournament.
Overall Value of League: €2.013 billion
2013/14 Transfer Outlay: €262.755 million
UEFA Coefficient Points: 69.927
UEFA Ranking: 3
The Bundesliga boasts four teams in this season's Champions League, with reigning champions Bayern Munich looking to repeat their success this time around and Borussia Dortmund one of the dark horses for the title.
Those two clubs were the biggest movers in the transfer market, as Bayern snared the services of Mario Gotze from Dortmund and Thiago from Barcelona.
Of course, Dortmund also picked up the highly rated Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Shakhtar Donetsk and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from St-Etienne, among others.
Andre Schurrle was the biggest name to depart Germany, having joined Jose Mourinho's Chelsea for €22 million.
3. Serie A
Overall Value of League: €2.278 billion
2013/14 Transfer Outlay: €418.79 million
UEFA Coefficient Points: 55.605
UEFA Ranking: 4
Once the top dogs in Europe, the Italians will be optimistic of working their way back up the UEFA rankings from their current position of fourth after a busy summer of transfers.
Juventus, Napoli and Fiorentina appear to have done particularly shrewd business in the off-season, while Roma's selling off of Erik Lamela and Marquinhos was offset with a series of purchases.
The incoming Carlos Tevez (Juventus), Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli) and Mario Gomez (Fiorentina) will all boost the quality of the league, with Edinson Cavani's departure the most obvious loss.
Juventus can be considered an outside chance for the Champions League title, but Napoli are also capable of causing a stir.
2. La Liga
Overall Value of League: €2.468 billion
2013/14 Transfer Outlay: €399.94 million
UEFA Coefficient Points: 78.141
UEFA Ranking: 1
The two giants of Spanish football, Real Madrid and Barcelona have strengthened their already phenomenal squads and will once again be among the favorites to win the Champions League.
Barcelona have brought in Brazilian wunderkind Neymar to join Messi and friends, and Real Madrid had already done well to capture Isco and Asier Illarramendi from Spanish clubs Malaga and Real Sociedad before they completed the world record signing of Gareth Bale from Tottenham.
The rest of La Liga appears slightly weakened, however, as Falcao left Atletico Madrid for Monaco, Roberto Soldado joined Tottenham from Valencia and Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo moved to Manchester City from Sevilla.
1. English Premier League
Overall Value of League: €3.685 billion
2013/14 Transfer Outlay: €763.33 million
UEFA Coefficient Points: 71.296
UEFA Ranking: 2
English clubs failed to make a mark in Europe last season but once again proved they are willing to splurge on the transfer market to increase their chances of success this time around.
Expenditure across the whole league far outweighed that of Spain or Italy's, with Manchester City, Tottenham and Chelsea leading the charge.
The Citizens added Fernandinho, Stevan Jovetic, Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo and more to their glittering squad, as Chelsea signed Willian and Andre Schurrle, among others.
The best player in the league last season, Gareth Bale, bid farewell to Tottenham, but the London club brought in a handful of world-class players, including Erik Lamela and Paulinho, to soften the blow.
Even the notoriously frugal Arsene Wenger purchased German star Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid.
Chelsea and Manchester United have been in the Champions League mix in recent seasons and should challenge again, while Manchester City also have the personnel to be a contender for Europe's most prestigious club prize.