Which PL clubs have the biggest wages bill?

Publisher’s note: sincere apologies for Untold being off line over the weekend and into monday morning.  And thank you to everyone who expressed concerns and best wishes in relation to our attempts to get it back up.  I have to admit I did nothing – had I touched anything it would only have made it worse!


By Tony Attwood

When Arsenal offered Aubameyang a salary of £13 million a year for the last renewal of his contract the media made it a huge story.   And yes, of course it was news.  But perhaps it was put a little in perspective by the fact that Manchester United pay Cristiano Ronaldo £26.5m a year – over twice as much.

Yet the issue raised an interesting point.  The media tend to take the player’s salary as an abstract amount – a measure of what the player is worth.  But in reality it should be seen as what the player is what to that club at that moment.   Because as we have seen with Aubameyang, it was not a case of having him on that salary or someone else on a lesser salary.  For at that moment Arsenal could not persuade anyone other free-scoring centre forward to come to Arsenal.

This is a fairly obvious point: a club is in a strong position in negotiating contracts and salaries when the club has a choice of players available.  If the player knows he is the only one who can do the job, the club is in a weak position and the player’s demands go up.

This is in fact the battle Arteta took on: deciding to show Aubameyang that he was not irreplaceable and he did not hold all the cards – and indeed at the same time, showing the rest of his squad, and their agents, and the rest of football, that he was not messing about.

Of course Cristiano Ronaldo is a special case in terms of his talent, his age (he really is getting on a bit), the fact that despite being 36 it was a two year contract, and the feeling Manchester United have for him.

But the whole case does raise the issue of salaries and how one club compares with another.   Here are the players’ wages bill for the top Premier League clubs

  1. Manchester City – £355m
  2. Chelsea – £343m
  3. Manchester United – £323m
  4. Liverpool – £314m
  5. Arsenal – £244m
  6. Tottenham Hotspur – £205m

There may also have been an element in the agreement of wanting to have the most costly player in the league at Manchester United.  Not least because the second best paid player was De Bruyne at Manchester City who appears to be paid £6m a year less.

That the third best paid player in the league is another Manchester United man (De Gea on £19.5m a year) shows the problem of Manchester United is more than just paying Ronaldo over £26m a year – it shows just how much the club is pushing out the door every month in terms of salaries for players who are over 30 years old.

And for Manchester United’s transfer fund it gets even worse because the next two most highly paid players are their’s as well – Sancho on £18.2m a year and Varane on £17.8m a year.   To have all those highly paid players and still come 35 points behind the league winners is something of a failure.

Here are the rest of the highest paid players of last season…

6. Romelu Lukaku: £16,900,000.  Chelsea

7. Raheem Sterling: £15,600,000. Manchester City

7. Jack Grealish: £15.6m.  Manchester City

9.  Paul Pogba.  £15.8m  Manchester United

9.  N’Golo Kante.  £15.8m Chelsea

So the list continues with Chelsea, Manchester United dominating until we find Virgil Van Dijk of Liverpool coming in at 14 (£11.4m a year, Harry Kane at 15, along with several others including the first Arsenal player, Thomas Partey at £10.4m a year.

Lacazette was on £9.5m a year and clocked in at number 22 as the highest paid Arsenal player, and continued all the way through the top 30 with no other Arsenal men included.

All of which makes the fuss made about Arsenal’s salaries and its structure seem somewhat out of place.  But this is what the media love to do – to pick on a single incident or issue, and then highlight that without any context.

And here’s a final point.  The media made much of Arsenal having the top spend in terms of transfers last season, having a net loss of £122.4m.   And that is right – Arsenal had the biggest loss on transfers last season.  But as older players have been replaced by younger players, their salary bill has declined.  However the media generally forget to mention that.

2 Replies to “Which PL clubs have the biggest wages bill?”

  1. The media are a bunch of thugs run by a bunch of thugs and owned by…

  2. Who made the judgement on how much of a deal the media made about these issues? Where’s the evidence of it? Tony’s opinion once again being presented as facts

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