Tottenham Hotspur’s draw with Chelsea on Monday night at Stamford Bridge meant that Leicester City are crowned as the Premier League champions with two games to play. At the start of the season, bookmakers had Leicester at an incredible 5,000-1 to win the Premier League. After all, they were struggling to avoid relegation just one season ago. Their manager, Claudio Ranieri has trained the likes of Inter, Juventus, Roma, Napoli, Fiorentina, Valencia, Monaco, Atletico Madrid and even Chelsea yet he was never able to win a league title. He was destined for failure, until he signed the contract with Leicester City. From then onwards, it’s been a Cinderella story.
The Premier League is known to be the world’s richest football league and any club willing to challenge the traditional football clubs for the title needs to spend big and this was proven by Manchester City who managed to win the league title twice after being injected with Arab money. Tottenham, who finished second, had a squad built at the cost of £159m, while Arsenal (£231m), Liverpool (£260m), Chelsea (£280m), Manchester United (£395m) and Manchester City (£415m) had invested significantly more. While the big five clubs splashed out big sums in recruiting their players, Leicester’s squad was assembled for £57m, one of the cheapest in the Premier League.
Leicester’s success story is not the first time and underdog manages to achieve this great feat. Nottingham Forest in 1978 and Blackburn Rovers in 1995 were two great examples that money is not always the solution. However, times have changed and the Premier League has become more competitive than ever and money has dominated the game. The void between the big clubs and the rest has been widened throughout the years to the point that it made it seem impossible for any team to break the trend. This is why Leicester’s achievement should be considered as the biggest of all.
While Claudio Ranieri would prefer to keep his players on his team, he is likely to be convinced by financially stronger clubs to let go of some of his stars. However, this will not be cheap at all. The Foxes are playing in the Champions League next season, so convincing the players who managed to take the team that far to opt to play for Manchester United, Chelsea or Liverpool would be hard.
Leicester, champions of England for the first time in their 132-year history. No matter how they fare next season, the team is going to be remembered forever but people who witnessed their journey to the title. We’ve been used to seeing Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City share the spoils in the past few years but things have changed. Leicester won the title and Spurs are runners-up. This could be seen as good news for the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool who have suffered in the past few years to win the title but things are only getting tougher from this point onward because now all 20 clubs will be fighting for next season’s title.