by Dillon Meehan
Over the past decade, cash has become king in soccer. While some of the worlds top clubs have a rich and storied history, others such as Chelsea, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain have billionaire owners who have taken them from mediocrity to winning multiple league titles.
Heading into this fall, Chelsea and Manchester City were once again expected to battle it out for the Barclays Premier League trophy. But for once, money will not prevail.
Enter Leicester City, it is a name that is rarely even uttered as a relegation team, let alone as a mid-table, or dare one say a champion-esque team. Even to some hardcore fans, the ones who wake up early every Saturday and Sunday morning, it is a name that was still unrecognizable a few months ago.
But now with three games left to play in the season, Leicester has a chance to shock the world and capture the league with a win on Sunday against Manchester United. A team that was a 5,000-1 odd in August will win the Premier League.
They are managed by Claudio Ranieri, a man who has become more famous for his inability to capture a league title. He uses a simple 4-4-2 formation, he doesn’t rely on his central defenders to push the ball up field, which has become commonplace in today’s game. It is an old-school style that is rarely seen in 2016.
For some, this is a changing of the guard in soccer. They believe this is the end of big money, and heavy spending. That teams will rely more on building a team from within. They are wrong.
Will teams still rely on youth systems for players? Of course. Manchester City just spent hundred of millions of dollars on a new training ground with an emphasis on youth development. Teams will always look for “home grown” talent. But they will also spend for key players when they can.
Next year, Pep Guardiola and José Mourinho will be heading to Manchester City and United, Chelsea and Arsenal are also expected to appoint new managers. When Managers come to a team, they bring in players to fit their season; it is likely that those teams will spend over a billion dollars combined in the summer.
For Leicester, they will have solidified the title of the world’s greatest underdog story. Making the Boise State Fiesta Bowl win over Oklahoma and the 2004 Red Sox comeback against the Yankees look like sure things.
They are a phenomenal story, but it is just that. Next year it will go back to how things “should” work. Liverpool and Manchester United teams that are perennial top four teams that will have revamped squads. It won’t last.