While there can be little doubt that Manchester City are deserved Premier League champions this year, it is still important to remember how the club’s recent success – four Premier League wins in the past five years – came to fruition.
Since the Abu Dhabi United Investment Group acquired Manchester City in 2008, the club’s new leadership under chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak has transformed the club from mid-table mediocracy to a global footballing powerhouse, winning six Premier League titles in the past ten years. City’s success has always been eyed with suspicion though, as it wouldn’t have been possible without the financial muscle of its Emirati owners.
As the following chart shows, no club in world football has spent nearly as much money on transfers over the past 14 years as City has under Abu Dhabi ownership. According to Transfermarkt.com, a German website specializing on football transfers, Manchester City’s net transfer spending (transfer spending minus transfer proceeds) since 2008 amounts to a whopping €1.44 billion ($1.53 billion), outstripping local rival Manchester United by €400 million and Qatari-owned Paris Saint-Germain by even more than that.
That is not to belittle City's accomplishments. After all, "money doesn't score goals" as German coaching legend Otto Rehagel famously said in 1995. Looking across town at the other Manchester club is enough to illustrate that money alone doesn't guarantee success. Ever since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, Manchester United has struggled to live up to its name, despite spending nearly as much as its local rival.