I watched a little bit of a hugely impressive Swansea City side as they swept Valencia aside in the Europa League last night. Yes, the two clubs have spent the last ten years taking completely opposite trajectories to get to where they ended up, but there’s a different story to Swansea being small boys bloodying the noses of a big fish.
Valencia have been in a long, slow, painful decline. They didn’t have a sponsor for a large part of last season and, despite the revenue of Barcelona and Real Madrid, outside of the big two, there is no money in Spanish football.
Here’s their summer transfer dealings.
That’s a lot of profit and precious little out-going, not to mention the considerable downgrade on Roberto Soldado, scorer of 59 goals in the last three seasons, to Helder Postiga, scorer of 23 (though he has got three in his first three La Liga games).
Compare that with Swansea, now operating at a level higher than ever before and able to command players like Wilfred Bony.
Yes, its not a ludicrous amount of money, but its all outgoings, but Swansea were very definitely a buying club, so there’s a reason they’re on a more positive foot than Valencia.
Its not new, however, I’ve drafted the net spend for both clubs over the last three years – Valencia, having been in the Champions League, and Swansea punching their way in the Premier League. Swansea, consistently, have outspent Valencia over that time period.
Little wonder then, that when the two meet at this point that Swansea are a better team than Valencia. In a richer country, in a richer league, they continue to buy players. It was no surprise they were able to win last night’s game. The surprise (and indicative of how far other Spanish teams have fallen) is that Valencia are even there in the first place.