While modern TV deals and ever-increasing money in the game means that most clubs are able to freely spend big every year, however there was a time when clubs had to rely on huge takeovers to compete at the top level.
Fans would often look abroad, hoping a wealthy individual or group would launch a huge takeover and enable the club to attract the best players in the world. A takeover can be exciting, but it is the almost inevitable squad overhaul that attracts the interest of fans.
Whether it be in England in the past decade or in Europe, the opportunity to takeover stable, if underachieving, clubs and take them to the top of the game has been an extremely appealing one for billionaires. Here are five clubs who have been subject to huge takeovers and immediately spent big on new players, to rather varying degrees of success.
1. Chelsea (2003)
In July 2003, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich bought Chelsea in a deal worth £140m and the club was almost immediately transformed into one of Europe’s elite.
That same summer, fourteen new players were signed by the club for a total cost of over £111m as Abramovich immediately made his financial strength count.
Damien Duff, Claude Makélélé, Adrian Mutu and Hernan Crespo all arrived for deals in excess of £15m and it improved the club markedly in the 2003/04 season.
Chelsea finished second in the Premier League to unbeaten Arsenal and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League, with continued financial backing from Abramovich in the following decade keeping the club competing at the top of the English game.
2. Manchester City (2008)
Much like Chelsea, Man City’s takeover was an extremely successful one and with their new-found wealth the club was able to finally compete with their Manchester rivals and the major powers in the Premier League.
In the summer of 2008, the Abu Dhabi United Group led by Sheikh Mansour bought the club and they got to work in the transfer market very quickly with the inevitable happening as the squad was overhauled.
Over £120m was spent by the club ahead of the 2008/09 season, most notably the signing of Robinho for £32.5m and Jô for £18m.
Within a year, the likes of Kompany, Zabaleta, Tevez, Adebayor, Kolo Touré and De Jong would all arrive at Man City and provide the foundation for future domestic success.
3. Paris Saint-Germain (2011)
The summer of 2011 saw PSG being taken over by Qatari investors and begin a period of dominance in French football that would see the club have little competition.
Javier Pastore arrived that summer for £37m, swiftly followed by Maxwell, Thiago Motta and Blaise Matuidi. However, the major signings would come a year later as the club made a huge statement of intent before the 2012/13 season.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Marco Verratti, Ezequiel Lavezzi and even David Beckham arrived in Paris as the new owners ploughed money into the club in an attempt to take them to the latter stages of the Champions League.
Four straight Ligue 1 titles followed, though so did four straight Champions League exits at the quarter-final stage as PSG struggled to really cement themselves as one of Europe’s elite clubs.
4. Malaga (2010)
Although Malaga’s takeover might not have made them a major competitor at either domestic or European level, their takeover by Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani in June 2010 did lead to a large turnover of players at the club.
It took just twelve months for Malaga to make several major signings, several being players that would be sold for large profits in the following years.
Martin Demichelis and Ruud van Nistelrooy arrived to give the club some added experience, while Santi Cazorla, Nacho Monreal and Isco all proved to be excellent signings.
However, key players and managers would leave the club and Malaga were even banned from European competition for a year in 2013/14 as a result of huge debts.
5. Anzhi Makhachkala (2011)
One of the most dramatic takeovers in recent years, followed by an even more dramatic collapse, was surely that of Anzhi Makhachkala in 2011.
Midway through the 2011/12 campaign, the club was taken over by Russian billionaire Suleyman Kerimov and a remarkable series of high-profile signings followed.
Roberto Carlos and Samuel Eto’o arrived at the club, the former on a salary of £350,000 a week which made him the highest paid footballer in the world. Guus Hiddink also arrived as manager, with the club making huge, and ultimately unsustainable, investments.
With the club doing well domestically and making progress in the Europa League, things came to a grinding halt as the continuous flow of money began to rapidly slow down.
In 2013, it was announced Anzhi would have to start selling their best players and this was exactly what would happen, with many going to league rivals and Willian and Eto’o both shipped off to Chelsea. It had been an exciting two years, but normality was returned rather quickly.