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Buy or Burn: Why Spendaphobic Premier League Minnows Are Doomed This Season

10/08/2016 17:13 | Updated 10 August 2016
Simon Cooper/PA Wire

Money. In the Premier League, it arrives in titanic proportions.

While it's an exciting and unpredictable division chock-full of dazzling superstars, the personal gain to its participants is clear for all to see. With the exuberant thirst to broadcast the English top flight on screens across the planet, each team subsequently profits with an uncanny fortune. A worldwide pool of a staggering £8.3billion is shared equally between all 20 of them.

Manchester United, already the richest sports team on Earth without the Premier League's help, have gratefully accepted their generosity- amassing a total that has smashed the £150million mark. However, the teams tipped for a struggle- those that need a smart recruitment drive more than anyone else- are being more cautious with their millions with mere days before the start of the season; a shyness that will punish them unless something changes before deadline day.

Between Hull City, Burnley, Sunderland and West Brom, four players have been drafted in to help each of them fight off the threat of relegation from the land of the plenty. Four players between four clubs. That would be surprising in a time gone by when the Premier League wasn't the richest league in world football.

Newly promoted Hull City's situation is the most precarious. Not one signing has been made, resulting in Steve Bruce calling it a day at the KC Stadium, leaving the Tigers in an even bigger pickle. Not only did they fail to secure the signings Bruce wanted, they even failed to appoint a worthy successor- seeing as assistant manager Mike Phelan is still the incumbent.

Do players and managers alike simply not want to represent Hull? That would be unlikely, as the opportunity for anyone to face off against the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool would be too good to turn down for any reasonable signing. By contrast, last season's favourites for the drop Bournemouth have brought in five players, with the £15million acquisition of Jordan Ibe a particular standout. The Cherries have no real advantage in their allure, with a stadium capacity of 12,000, but what they do have is ambition and organisation in wrapping up their business early on.

This is more or less the same Hull side that went down two seasons ago- now weakened by the departure of play-off winning hero Mo Diame to Newcastle. Controversial owner Assem Allam, who showed over-ambition last year by attempting to change the club's name to Hull Tigers, has clearly lost his tether with turning them into a success.

Fellow newcomers Burnley are a more surprising case. Sean Dyche's teams always impress with their gritty displays and attacking prowess- highlighted in comfortably taking the Championship by storm as winners last season, but not quite making the grade in the Premier League the season before as they came crashing down with Hull.

In 2014/15 you could see Dyche's intentions. He wanted to sign players on the cheap, home grown if possible, with enough quality to keep them in the division. Unfortunately, they weren't nearly ambitious enough: Marvin Sordell, George Boyd and Lukas Jutkiewicz to name a handful. All Championship quality players. Skip forward to the present and they've gone further backwards. A double raid on (you guessed it) another Championship team in Charlton has followed, except neither Jóhann Guðmundsson or 'keeper Nick Pope could stop the Addicks from falling to League One last season.

The upcoming campaign looks like Groundhog Day for the Clarets, although if Andre Gray can replicate his 23 goals from last year then that could push the team half way towards the finish line.

Sunderland survived the drop by the skin of their teeth in 2015/16, but that near-death experience hasn't been enough for the wallet of owner Ellis Short to open wider than shedding out £8million for Chelsea flop Papy Djilobodji, who never played a league game for the London outfit.

Meanwhile at West Brom, who are usually amongst the vulnerable pack, plucky winger Matt Philips has come in as Tony Pulis's sole addition.

The summer transfer window is open until the end of August, but teams hoping to get off the ground running need the reinforcements now. A poor start to the season won't make things any easier, and with rivals placing bids up to £30million for respective transfer targets, the lack of spending from teams favourite for the drop is difficult to contemplate, especially when considering the ammunition at their disposal should they desire it.

Even Aston Villa, who endured a miserable season last year and staking a claim for one of the worst teams to ever grace the Premier League pocketed £66m from Premier League money alone. That means you could go an entire season without picking up a point across 38 games and still find yourself swimming in money.

Granted, with inflated prices for top players at an all time high, and competition for those stars even higher, wealth is now the trickiest simplicity in the modern game. As September edges ever closer, it will be those without the aptitude to manoeuvre in this market who will perish against the financial might of the Premier League's elite.

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