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Who's Money Will Buy Success?

Marc FosterContributor ISeptember 4, 2008

With the events of the past three days, the Premier League has a whole new battle going on between its biggest teams—who has enough money to make there club the biggest in the world?

Manchester United are currently the most valuable team in the world, with an estimated value of $1.8 billion, but the estimated value of that is 60% debt ($1.08 billion).

Manchester United may be the most valuable, but there owner is by no means the richest of the big club owners. His estimated fortune is $2.5 billion—making him the 462nd richest man in the world.

The takeover of Manchester United was not greeted with open arms by the club's fans, but the club has gone on to win back-to-back titles and a Champions League title.

Sir Alex Ferguson has also had all the money he asks for in terms of transfer funds. The only way anybody can see financial difficulties hitting the club and its owner is if the club fails to qualify for Champions League football, and can anybody see that happening with Sir Alex in charge?

Arsenal are the next most valuable of the Premier League clubs, and the third most valuable in the world. Valued at $1.2 billion with around 40% ($480 million) of that debt, Arsenal is owned by a collection of share holders which include American Stan Kroenke —worth $2.7 billion making him 428th richest man in the world—and Russian Alisher Usmanov—worth $9.3 billion making him the 91st richest man in the world.

Arsenal also don't spend big in the transfer window, as manager Arsene Wenger chooses to use young players he has cultivated himself. With this kind of available investment I feel Arsenal fans can rest easy, in the knowledge that money is available to invest in the squad, just the manager does not want to spend it.

Next most valuable is Liverpool FC, valued at $1.05 billion with around 65% ($682 million) of that debt—making them the fourth most valuable in the world. Liverpool is owned by American duo Tom Hicks (worth $1.3 billion) and George Gillett ($1.1bn).

Although the duo have made good investment in the transfer market, giving Rafa big money signings such as Torres and Robbie Keane, the pair are not favoured by the Liverpool faithful. 

The duo who no longer speak to each other do not seem to want to invest too much of their own cash, made clear by the fact the work has still not started on the new stadium at Stanley Park.

Many Liverpool fans feel that the previous board made a mistake in accepting the American's bid instead of a bid by Dubai International Capital, who would have given the club the sort of investment power that Manchester City look to have.

As a Liverpool fan I hope that at some point in the near future DIC renew their interest, and we can get rid of Gillett, Hicks and chief executive Rick Parry.

Chelsea are ranked eighth most valuable in the world at $764 million, but have almost no debt and are owned by the 15th richest man in the world, Roman Abramovich (worth $23.5 billion).

Abramovich was the first of the big-time "sugar daddies" of the premier league, and his enthusiasm for the club does not seem to have wavered at all.

As long as his interest stays, he and his wealth will see that Chelsea stay part of the "Big Four".

Manchester City are currently ranked as the 23rd most valuable club in world football at $190million, but new owners Abu Dhabi Investment have a crazy amount of financial clout, with the company's assets valued at between $650-$875 billion.

It remains to be seen how involved the new owners will be in the team, and what type of owners they will be. So far they are saying Champions League qualification this season, and then next season challenge for the Premier League.

This seams a lot to ask for this season, as Manchester City do not currently have the foundations that Chelsea had when Abramovich took over at Chelsea. Will Mark Hughes suffer the same fate as Claudio Ranieri for not achieving at the first attempt, and how much interest will the owners show if qualification does not happen in the first couple of years?

Football is not simply a case of buying all the world's best players and calling it a team, Real Madrid did this and although they will have sold a lot of shirts worldwide it did not bring huge success on the pitch.

As long as the football remains exciting and the Premier League remains the best league in the world, investment can only be a good long as Liverpool finally win the league.


As ever, "ynwa".




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