Leicester fans cheer Chelsea's goal
Leicester fans cheer Chelsea's goalGetty Images

It's time for everybody to raise their glasses and acclaim the new champions! Leicester City have achieved the improbable and become only the sixth side to win the Premier League trophy in the competition's 24-year history. In doing so, the table-topping Foxes have brought a broad grin to the faces of all neutrals and left casual fans of the Premier League scratching their heads in bemusement.

Leicester's heart-warming Premier League success can be traced to a number of different factors, such as the appointment of Claudio Ranieri, the stunning form of Riyad Mahrez and the record-breaking achievements of Jamie Vardy. But the sub-plot that does not fit quite so neatly into the glass-half-full narrative concerns the obscene regression of the Premier League's traditional superpowers: Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea.

To get a good grasp of the scale of their decline, you must cast your mind back to the 2007/08 season, when three British sides featured in the Champions League semi-finals and the fourth, Arsenal, were challenging for the Premier League title until the final few weeks of the campaign.

Manchester United and Chelsea
Manchester United and Chelsea contested the 2008 Champions League finalGetty Images

At the time, England's domestic competition was justifiably lauded as the best in the world. And given the eye-watering sums that have been sloshing around the Premier League in the intervening years, it really should have remained that way. So what's happened, then?

There are a multitude of different factors that have led the likes of United and Chelsea to regress. Chief among these is their grotesque overspending on players who never realised their potential - Angel Di Maria and Fernando Torres being the prime examples.

United have spent more than £250m ($366.2m) since Louis van Gaal's appointment in the summer of 2014 but have been forced to rely on youth team products, like Marcus Rashford, to reach this season's FA Cup Final. Remarkably, the Reds' squad currently appears weaker than that which David Moyes inherited from Sir Alex Ferguson.

Angel di Maria
Angel Di Maria signed for United in 2014Getty

Chelsea, on the other hand, will not even have the compensation of European football next term, despite having one of the most expensively-assembled squads in the history of the game.

Arsenal and Liverpool have spent lavishly, too, but the closest either side has come to winning the title in the last 12 years was when a Luis Suarez-inspired Reds team took them to within a whisker of the trophy in 2013/14.

This financial profligacy has been compounded by some ill-advised managerial appointments at three of the four clubs, while most Arsenal fans appear to be of the belief that Arsene Wenger has passed his sell-by date. Heaps and heaps of cash has been squandered by men who should never have been allowed to spend it in the first place.

There can be no doubt that all four clubs ought to have achieved more with the resources they've had available to them, and Leicester's comparatively modest spending has served to highlight their numerous shortcomings. It would be inconceivable for the current Foxes side to have even qualified for the Champions League in 2008, such is the decline of the superpowers.

Arsenal fans protest at the Emirates
Arsenal fans protest against Arsene Wenger at the Emirates StadiumGetty Images

Of course, let's not allow this to detract from Leicester's achievement - it's brilliant for the club and for English football more broadly. Ranieri's side have shaken up the Premier League and in the self-styled Tinkerman, the Foxes have one of European football's most affable men at the helm.

But when Wes Morgan - who was playing in League One eight years ago - steps forward to collect the Premier League trophy, the hierarchy of England's leading clubs ought to hang their heads in shame, knowing Leicester's success is the result of their own ineptitude.

Five great sporting upsets that shocked the worldIBTimes UK