Both Bengaluru and Goa are star-studded teams with an equally impressive coaching staff behind them. Among the 10 franchises in the fray, only Kolkata-based ATK have spent more money than the two finalists in the ongoing season.
The Blues have in their ranks some of the biggest names in Indian football with the likes of Sunil Chhetri and Gurpreet Singh while also employing some of the best overseas names in the league in the form of Miku and Dimas Delgado.
Backed by one of India’s largest steel manufacturers Jindal Steel Works (JWS), Bengaluru have pulled out all the stops to recruit the very best ever since their inception.
Goa, on the other hand, are not short of funds either and have backed coach Sergio Lobera to the hilt in his two years at the club. Spending the big bucks for acquiring the services of Ferran Corominas has proved to be a masterstroke with the Spanish forward all set to bag his second Golden Boot award on the trot.
The top spenders making it to the final of the competition is not a new trend in the league with last year's winners Chennaiyin FC the only notable exception. They were not in the top three spenders and still ended up winning the title.
Chennaiyin FC aside, it has usually been two of the top three spenders in the league who have progressed to the final. On the flip side, teams with smaller budgets have historically struggled as evidenced by NorthEast United FC who failed to make it the play-offs in four previous attempts before finally breaking the jinx this year.
The correlation between spending and success in the ISL is interesting given that the opposite has been observed of late in the I-League. There, East Bengal have historically been one of the biggest spenders year after year but still failed to land a single title while teams with much smaller budgets such as Aizawl FC and Minerva Punjab have managed to do so lately.
Talent talks in the ISL and talents like Miku and Corominas costs a lot of money. The first team of the two finalists this season are costly. In the end, money has always talked in the competition and Bengaluru and Goa are showing us why again.