Successful title tilts so often hinge on pre-season transfer activity, just ask Arsene Wenger.
The oft-criticised Arsenal manager received unprecedented amounts abuse for his refusal to sign a solitary outfield player last summer, which was further amplified when his side spurned the best chance they’re ever likely to have to end their much-discussed drought for a league crown.
According to a study into the shopping necessities of a team that realise their ambitions to reign supreme, it wasn’t Wenger’s decision to avoid outfielders that cost the Gunners the title, but his opting for a gloveman.
Petr Cech was Arsenal’s only first-team addition in the transfer window ahead of 2015/16.
Initial misgivings about his arrival from Chelsea were rare, if non-existent, but had supporters been aware that the average number of net-minders acquired by Premier League winners in the summer preceding their title triumph was zero, raised concerns may have been more common.
The mean number of purchases made by a would-be champ stands at five; one defender, two midfielders and as many strikers.
Cech not only flaunted the positional criteria, his 33 years towered over the average age established in the formula, which currently stands at 24.
In total, just five players aged north of 30 have been sourced by a team on the verge of winning the league.
Previous Premier League experience is so often regarded as an integral component for a new signing to be an instant success in England’s top flight and this is reflected through the fact that 15 of the 48 players bought by champions ahead of their crowning previously plied their trade in that division.
At £10.5m (according to transfermarkt.co.uk), Cech’s transfer fee weighed in alongside the average sum champions-to-be are forced to fork out. The typical summer spend of these teams clocks at around the £54m mark.
Refraining from a club-transfer-record-busting buy is also important, with just three of the past ten league winners raising their high watermark for money spent on a single signing.
Fortunately for Arsenal, they’re yet to commit any of the shopping for silverware cardinal sins this summer, but Liverpool have already broken two.
Sadio Mane’s arrival from Southampton is potentially worth up to a record-high outlay of £36m, but it’s the acquisition of kiss-of-death keeper Loris Karius that really puts the mockers on the Reds’ title aspirations.