Championship outfit Millwall have not been known for being a big spender in the second tier in recent years, establishing themselves as a stable ship in the English capital.
In fairness, they were down in League One five years ago so it’s not as if they have had a huge amount of revenue to rely on in terms of parachute payments, television deals and other big sources of income.
However, they currently sit seventh in the second-tier table and just one point adrift of the play-off zone going into today’s round of league fixtures, so many would expect their spending total on their current squad to be much higher than it actually is.
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But they have the sixth-cheapest squad in the division as things stand, with just one of those teams in Luton Town below them in the spending table currently sitting higher than them in the standings at present.
Spending just £3.4m on his current squad, Nathan Jones has done a remarkable job at Kenilworth Road, developing those who have spent time in lower divisions and making full use of the free-agent market.
The most impressive thing about the Hatters is the fact they haven’t used the loan market extensively this season with only Jed Steer and Alex Palmer both arriving on temporary deals and the latter only coming in on an emergency basis.
The Lions, on the other hand, have utilised the loan market but there’s no shame in that because some of their recruits have turned out to be important assets for them, including Daniel Ballard and Benik Afobe.
Stoke City loanee Afobe has made a real difference going forward, helping to take the pressure off Jed Wallace to remain consistent up top and scoring 10 goals in 35 league appearances.
At the back, meanwhile, Ballard has played an integral part in enabling Gary Rowett’s men to concede just 42 goals in 43 league games during 2021/22, a remarkable total and one that has allowed his current loan side to be as high as seventh at this stage.
They also spent a transfer fee on just one player this season with George Saville arriving from Middlesbrough last summer. The fee may have been undisclosed – but he only had one year left on his contract at the Riverside Stadium and it’s not as if Boro were likely to charge a fortune for the midfielder’s services.
As per football finance expert Kieran Maguire, the entire Millwall squad cost £7.5m and that’s a remarkable figure considering Jed Wallace would probably be worth around that fee alone if it wasn’t for his current contract situation with his current terms expiring in just a couple of months.
That figure is even more remarkable when you consider Stoke City have spent £137.9m more than them and currently sit in 14th place, just going to show that money doesn’t guarantee success despite the top two spending sides currently sitting in the top two spots.
The Lions should continue to spend sensibly and wisely considering it has brought them success this season – but replacements for Wallace and their current loanees will be needed in the summer and if they do want to compete at the right end of the table again next season – they may need to fork out the cash needed to fill the void left by players who look set to leave in the coming months.