The richest clubs are in the Premier League, and many have unimaginable debts



By Tony Attwood

“Deloitte reveal more than half of world’s 20 richest clubs are in Premier League”.  That is the headline in the Guardian.

According to the article, more than half of the world’s 20 richest clubs are in the Premier League.  And the richness of clubs is indeed something that is often cited in commentaries about clubs.

This immediately leads to a problem – because if there are a dozen very rich clubs, they can’t all win trophies all the time.   After all, there are only four significant trophies to win each season: the Premier League, the FA Cup, the League Cup and a European trophy.   (I’m not counting the one off trophies like the Community Shield or games where the winner of one cup plays the winner of another cup and the winner gets another cup).

The issue of “value” is of course somewhat contentious given that sponsors can pour money in with impunity these days, with the various authorities seeming to have little desire or power to stop clubs getting money from strange sources (we remember of course the Manchester City official tractor sponsor for example).

But for what it is worth, here is the list of trophy winners and their estimated club value, according to Deloitte’s…


No Club Club Value Year of win The trophy/trophies Years since trophy
1 Manchester City €731m 2022 Premier League 0
2 Liverpool €701m 2022 FA Cup / League Cup 0
3 Manchester United  €688.6m 2017 League Cup and Europa League 6
4 Chelsea  €568.3m 2021 Cha,pions League 1
5 Tottenham Hotspur  €523m 2008 League Cup 14
6 Arsenal  €433.5m 2020 FA Cup 2
7 West Ham United  €301.2m 1981 Leage Cup 31
8 Leicester City  €252.2m 2021 FA Cup 1
9 Leeds United  €223.4m 2020 Championship 2
10 Everton  €213.7m 1995 FA Cup 27
11 Newcastle United  €212.3m 1969 Fairs Cup 53
12 Aston Villa  €210.9m 1996 League Cup 26


Of course the value of the club changes over time, and is affected by all sorts of issues.   Tottenham’s value has increased because it has a new stadium but is decreased by the fact that it has a net debt of somewhere around three-quarters of a billion pounds (we can’t be sure of the exact amount because the figures for 2021/2 have not been released yet, but this is the general expectation).

An article in 1 Sports 1 recently ranked teams by debt level.  They only did the top six, but these made interesting reading.

Tottenham came top of the debt list with €826m worth of debt – most of course due on the stadium.  Obviously, this doesn’t mean that the club is about to collapse since it has two valuable backers, but their failure to get a sponsor for the stadium, along with 14 years without a trophy, does suggest that not everything is perfect for the club.

Second in the debt league are Manchester United at €580m.  Part of this is caused by the fact that the main owners of the club have a set of shares unique to themselves which pay a dividend to the owners irrespective of the profit or loss.  A neat deal if you can pull it off.

Third in terms of debt is Brighton and Hove with debts of €393m.  Brighton is of course owned by a fan who has put his fortune into the club – and to good effect it must be admitted given their progress in the league.  Their last trophy was League One in 20 and they were promoted from the championship in 2017.  They are currently above Liverpool and Chelsea in the League.

Fourth is Liverpool on €386m, showing that it is possible to throw money into a club to win trophies, but that doesn’t make the trophy-winning automatic – although they have won four trophies in the last four seasons.

Fifth are Everton with debts of €353m, and they are still two seasons away from their new stadium opening – a stadium costing €1.3bn.  They are losing money hand over fist season by season, and are completely dependent on the goodwill of Farhad Moshiri 

Sixth is Leicester City with debts of €311m – a club whose finances and tactics we have pondered for years and years, although no other publication seems to have had any interest in what they get up to.  Half of the money is owed to King Power.  The sum owed might not seem much when compared with those above but in October 2002 the club went into administration with debts of €35 million.  Now that is multiplied by almost ten.   Of course, they have won the league and the cup, but it appears to have cost them around €290m which I suppose is the going rate.

It’s a funny ol game.

12 Replies to “The richest clubs are in the Premier League, and many have unimaginable debts”

  1. I know I’m not the brightest spark but I cant help but wonder why Spurs are valued above Arsenal. I’m sure I’m missing something really obvious but I must concede, if there is I cant see it. This is not an Arsenal Spurs thing this is an ‘it makes no sense at all’ thing.

    3 reasons jump out straight away:

    1) Debt: £826M Biggest in Premier League. I assume bigger than Arsenal as we are not in that top 5.

    2) Trophies: 2 league cups in 30 years the last one 14 years ago. Compared to Arsenal, what can I say?

    3) Fan Base: Arsenals is bigger domestically and World wide.

    I know they have a shiny new stadium, but how does having a shiny new stadium, that is actually a millstone round their necks, trump all those other factors when it comes to the value of a club.

    And if A new stadium can trump such an enormous differential in success and fans, how comes our new stadium doesn’t trump Chelsea and their old stadium? I know they’ve been more successful and have a bigger fan base, but apparently that counts for very little, at least in our case it does?

    Especially as I pointed out in an article that may be up soon, in actuality Spurs are not even a top 4 club.

    Seems very odd to me.

  2. @Nitram,

    one element is the ‘marketing or brand value’ or something like that. In this regard, Arsenal have been tumbling since Mr Wenger left
    That the year 2021 was much better then others does not reflect yet on the valuation as it takes numbers from the previous years. No CL, etc. whereas Sp*rs did get into Cl more regularly since 2016.

    The one thing I am missing in this piece, and this being an ‘Arsenal interested’ website and maybe Tony can add this at the end of the article, is the debt level of Arsenal.

  3. Nitram
    It appears that the value of the stadium does not have that much influence on the Deloitte valuation given that West Ham, who do not even own their own stadium, are sitting just behind Arsenal in the value table above. Which makes Spurs position above us even more puzzling.
    Also I admit surprise at your assertion that Chelsea have a bigger fan base than Arsenal, is that actually true?
    It’s all rather confusing.

  4. @Nitram, @Mick,

    I believe the other issue is the market value of the respective squads. And as this figure is for years past, then Arsenal definitely did not have a high value squad. West Ham and Sp*rs had more ‘expensive’ and well known players.
    Next year this is definitely going to change as from a bunch of totally unknown youngsters we hve moved to WC veterans…

  5. Chris

    Thank you for those thoughts.

    So if I’m reading you right it’s basically down to European (or more accurately Champions League) football, and player value?

    Sounds feasible if a little odd. Either way both those factors have moved in our direction of late which could/should address this, what I see as an anomaly.

    Just a note on player value. I find this particularly irksome because so often this is subjective, and subjectively who ever puts value on players has for years under valued our players simply on the basis that they play for Arsenal, and are therefore usually crap, unhappy, or both.

    mick shelley

    It’s not my assertion. I looked it up. I think Deloitte was my source for the domestic fan base. Another source, cant remember where, for the World Wide figure.

    I was a little surprised myself, but the bottom line is, it seems European success, and particularly success in the Champions League, is key to both club valuation and fan acquisition.

    Seems Wenger was right all along. As if we didn’t know.

  6. @Nitram,

    as I’ve commented the other day, if Mudryk is valued at 100 million, how do you value : Martinelli, ESR, Jesus, Nkethia,Saka, Oodegard just to talk about the forward line ?

    Add Zinchenko, Gabriel, Saliba, Ramsdale and you’ve got another group of high value young players.

    I don’t believe West Ham and Sp*rs can compete there.

    As for West Ham, don’t forget they have an olympic stadium for peanuts. No investment, no debt because of it, silly operating costs and this plays into the financial valuation. They are the perfect target of a takeover if you think about that. And their unsuccessful past decade shows how not competent their management has been.

  7. Chris

    “as I’ve commented the other day, if Mudryk is valued at 100 million, how do you value : Martinelli, ESR, Jesus, Nketiah, Saka, Odegaard just to talk about the forward line” ?

    Actually not that highly. These are our top 5 forwards as valued by Transferleague:

    Odegaard = £60M
    Martinelli = £60M
    Jesus = £75M
    Saka = £100M
    Smith-Rowe £38M

    Total = £333M

    Other valuations of top 5 forwards:

    Liverpool = £340
    Chelsea = £325

    So despite how brilliantly our attacking players have been performing. How young most of them are. Being top with a 5 point advantage over 2nd placed Man City and 19 points ahead of Liverpool and Chelsea, they are still all valued similarly.

    It’s the same with the squad, taking the 13 primary players:

    Liverpool = £713M
    Chelsea = £684M
    Arsenal = £614M

    And this approach to our player values is nothing new.

  8. @Nitram,

    these valuations go back to, most probably, end of last season. They ought to be progressing .
    Anyway, IMHO, I have no interest in bragging rights about club values with a club running a toilet bowl.
    Let them put down numbers all they want. The only number I’m interested in is the number of points at the end of the season and the number of games I’m having fun watching.

  9. Chris

    Possibly, but it did include Mudlark, and Saka at £100M, which I doubt he was prior to this season, somaybe not right up to the minute but they must be fairly recent values. As you say, it’s the points that matter now.

    Either way this squads value can surely only increase as time goes by?

  10. I don’t know how Deloitte values clubs but the numbers are quite low. The following numbers from

    I don’t know how Deloitte values clubs but the numbers are quite low. The values from Sportico seem more accurate. Also I’ve included the formula they use.

    From Sportico
    Club value = (Revenue + Net Assets) * [(Net Profit + Revenue) / Revenue] * (% stadium filled) / (%wage ratio).
    Premier League Club Valuations in pounds.

    In this section we’ll determine the total value of every Premier League club from the 2020/21 season as reported by Sportico.
    Ranking Club Total Value (£)
    1 Manchester United 3,476 million
    2 Liverpool 3,095 million
    3 Manchester City 2,990 million
    4 Chelsea 2,504 million
    5 Arsenal 2,288 million
    6 Tottenham Hotspur 2,130 million
    7 Everton 392 million
    8 West Ham United 374 million
    9 Leicester City 355 million
    10 Leeds United 209 million
    11 Newcastle United 202 million
    12 Aston Villa 198 million
    13 Crystal Palace 187 million
    14 Wolverhampton Wanderers 176 million
    15 Southampton 153 million
    16 Brighton 149 million
    17 Burnley 134 million
    18 Fulham 123 million
    19 West Bromwich Albion 82 million
    20 Sheffield United 45 million

  11. goonersince72

    Thanks for finding that. As you suggest that looks a little more realistic, although I still cant for the life of me see how Spurs are even close to us, unless it really does have absolutely nothing to do with trophies?

    All the others, well okay.

    MAN UTD is obvious on the back of all the success bought to them by Sir Alex and the brilliant Worldwide marketing that ensued. They are media darlings because Man Utd sells. They are even FA/PL darlings as if I remember rightly, was it Scudamore, saying the PL needs a successful Manchester United?

    LIVERPOOL are basically living on past glories, at least domestically, but their exploits in Europe over the years, which it has to be acknowledged are remarkable, will always hold them in good stead. No surprise they are number two. Probably deservedly soon Europe alone.

    MAN CITY have purchased 3rd spot via very dubious means. Whether I like it or not. Whether it is right or wrong hardly matters. It is what it is and they are, given their owners wealth and their recent domination of the most popular league in the World, going to be worth a bob or two. 3rd seems about right.

    CHELSEA are another club to of ‘purchased’ their spot, again via dubious means. But, are they on the wane? Even though they have been a bit quiet lately they have still won lots domestically and in Europe within recent memory, yet their lustre does appear to be fading. The fact crappy old Arsenal have gotten so close may be indicative of problems deeper than just their current travails?

    Arsenal 5th? Okay, for now anyway?

    Dear old SPURS so close to Arsenal. As I say very odd. I mean lets be honest here, success wise they are much closer to Everton in 7th than they are Arsenal. Since they last won the league in Black and White they have won 5 FA Cups and 3 European trophies. Their latest trophy of any consequence was an FA Cup in ’91

    Over the same period Everton have won the League 4 times. Plus 2 FA Cups and 1 European trophy. Their latest trophy of any consequence was an FA Cup in ’95. A more recent title than Spurs. A more recent FA Cup than Spurs.

    Everton are a far more successful club than spurs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *