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Opinion

6 English clubs in Champions League and Europa last eight is triumph of money not a ‘Miracle’

6 months ago
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The ‘dream’ scenario of four Premier League clubs in the Champions League last eight.

Add to that another two in the last eight of the Europa League and it a real fairytale story.

At least it is where the English media are concerned.

It isn’t a ‘miracle’ of any sorts, in fact it simply points to the massive failures of previous years, despite the overwhelming advantage the Premier League as.

In the last 10 years only one English club has won the Champions League, Chelsea in 2012.

In the last 17 years of the Europa League/UEFA Cup only Chelsea (2013 with Rafa Benitez) and Man Utd (2017) have won it.

The latest (2019) Deloitte list of the football clubs with the highest revenues in the World (2017/18 season), had this Top 10 (amounts in euros):

751m Real Madrid

690m Barcelona

666m Man Utd

629m Bayern Munich

568m Man City

542m PSG

514m Liverpool

506m Chelsea

439m Arsenal

428m Tottenham

The six Premier League clubs in the last eight of the European competitions also take up six of the ten places in the Deloitte rich list.

Up against Man Utd (666m), Man City (568m), Liverpool (514m) and Tottenham (428m) in the last eight, you have Barcelona (690m), Juventus (395m), Porto (106m) and Ajax (92m).

Those last two weren’t even anywhere near the Deloitte top 30, as you needed a turnover of 151m euros just to make that list.

For Ajax (92m) to put out Real Madrid (751m) in the last round was a staggering underdog result, a proper ‘miracle’. Themselves and Porto will need relative miracles as well against Juventus and Liverpool if they are to progress to the semis.

As for the Europa League, the haves and have nots are even more stark in most cases.

You have Chelsea (506m) and Arsenal (439m), then at least Napoli (183m) and Benfica (151m) are almost kind of in the same ball park.

However, you have Chelsea (506m) up against Slavia Prague. I couldn’t find a turnover figure for them but it will be minute in comparison, in the last 10 years they have only spent £25m on new signings (via Transfermarkt), which would buy about a third of Chelsea’s goalkeeper.

It is little better for Spanish sides such as Valencia and Villarreal. Unless they have Champions League cash they are way way behind financially. A few years ago when they played Liverpool, the Villarreal manager made the point that the amount the scousers had paid for Christian Benteke was more than their entire turnover.

I have always thought/said that the most difficult challenge for English clubs such as Newcastle United and others is qualifying for the European competitions.

In 2016/17 Leicester almost reached the semis of the Champions League, English clubs with the money should pretty much always get to at least the last 16, especially when the you have the seedings which usually mean they have an ever bigger advantage.

Newcastle had the 19th highest turnover last season of 201m euros and absolutely no reason why, if the club was ran ambitiously, that NUFC couldn’t become a top eight club at a minimum and build over a period of years, with regular European competition as well to aim for.

Champions League Quarter Final draw:

Ajax v Juventus (April 10 at Johan Cruijff Arena, April 16 at Allianz Stadium)

Liverpool v Porto (April 9 at Anfield, April 17 at Estadio do Dragao)

Tottenham v Manchester City (April 9 at Spurs’ stadium, April 17 at Etihad)

Barcelona v Manchester United (April 10 at Old Trafford, April 16 at Nou Camp)

Europa League Quarter Final draw:

Napoli v Arsenal

Villarreal v Valencia

Benfica v Eintracht Frankfurt

Slavia Prague v Chelsea

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