It's not always true that the club that spends the most money is the club that finds the most success. Sometimes little upstarts can find success, under a quality coach who makes the most of coherent team play. And sometimes too many stars spoil the broth, crowding out one another and strangling the side.
But in this day and age, it often seems as though money spent leads to titles lifted. And so there's little surprise that Gazzetta's annual salary survey draws plenty of attention. Who's taking pains to cut back? Who's willing to spend to make sure success arrives (or continues)?
Now, the GdS survey is based on their own analysis, not concrete figures. And it doesn't account for transfer fees paid by each club over the summer. But it's still an interesting look, and we'll see if the money spent on salaries translates to teams reaching the scudetto, progressing in Europe or simply avoiding relegation.
Juventus, perhaps surprisingly, is the only one of the big clubs that's spending more on salaries this season. That must be due to renewals with current stars, and the €118m figure is likely to increase as, say, Paul Pogba enters into contract negotiations.
But Juve doesn't boast the highest paid player in Serie A -- that's Roma, who are paying Daniele De Rossi €6.5m. Yet despite having qualified for the Champions League group stages, Roma haven't increased the amount they're spending on salaries. Which seems strange, considering they only really lost Mehdi Benatia, unless Rodrigo Taddei was taking a big chunk out of the salary budget. Juan Iturbe's age suggests he probably doesn't command too high of wages, but you have to think they upped some other offers over the past year. And there's no way Ashley Cole didn't come cheap. Saying they held steady sounds a bit too good to be true.
Napoli, too, are staying consistent with salary spending. We'll go into more details on this later, but it looks like none of the new boys are being paid more than two million. Still, Napoli added around €5m in salaries over the summer, so the likes of Valon Behrami and Goran Pandev must've been making a little dough.
Both Milan sides have supposedly decreased the amount spent on salaries. In the case of Inter, that's due to the departures of the old guard, as Javier Zanetti, Esteban Cambiasso and Diego Milito were likely making a fair amount by the time they left the nerazzurri. As for AC Milan, well, they simply don't have money to spend anymore. Except, of course, on Philippe Mexès and Fernando Torres, both of whom are making €4m. Yes, you can laugh.
Down at the bottom, Sassuolo decided to up their spending, presumably to make sure they stay afloat. They're now spending more on salaries than Torino, Udinese, Parma and Hellas Verona. Palermo aren't spending as much as you might think, probably because none of their players really commands a high salary.
Overall, the picture is rather bleak -- at least, for those hoping for a Serie A revival. Salary spending in Serie A, on the whole, is down, from €912m in 2013-2014 to €849m in 2014-2015. Many of the world's biggest stars are shunning Italy -- not only due to wages paid, of course, but it's a piece of the puzzle that's forming the picture of the decline of calcio.