The English premier league has become much more than people running around and kicking a soccer ball. It has become a competitive landscape filled with sponsorships and TV deals. This has allowed some teams to start betting on their dominance by purchasing players to create the team that they expect to be the most successful.
One would therefore assume that the team that has the most funds at their disposal, are the one who are at the top of the league. Although, is this always the case? Oftentimes managing all these superstars is the most challenging task of all. That being said, these are the teams that have the highest budget in the English Premier League.
Everton hasn’t been doing as well financially as they would have wanted to. Fighting to stay relevant, over 77% of their £189m turnover goes to paying salaries. This takes their wage bill to £145m. But even this doesn’t seem to be enough to compete with some of the squads on this list. This being said, 9 of the most expensive transfers in Everton history continue to play with the Toffees. This means their £388m squad assembly splurge seems to have paid off. When looking at their final position last season, at number 10. It leaves one questioning whether these players were the right people to bring on board at all?
6. Tottenham Hotspur
Registered in the Bahamas, thanks to Joe Lewis who owns 70% of the club. The £381m turnover is less likely to be taxed as heavily. So, after the £148m wage bill, the profits this club makes is well over £135m. Unfortunately, although it may seem like Tottenham is the best squad financially, they do have a debt of £366m dragging them down. Luckily Joe Lewis can still be proud that his club holds the record for most goals scored in a game, still standing at 9-1 in their game against Wigan Athletic in 2009.
The Gunners have spent an impressive £454m to assemble their squad. Owned 100% by Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, which is owned by E. Stanely Kroenke. Arsenal has gone through some bumps in recent years. After failing to qualify for the Champions League in 2017, their income from TV went down by £20m. This took their turnover down to £403m for the 2018 season, of which they spent £240m, or 60%, on their wage bills.
Even though they had such a drop in income from TV, they are one of the few teams who aren’t in debt, and in fact, have a cash surplus stated to be around £15m.
Owned entirely by Roman Abramovich via his holding company. Chelsea is said to owe Abramovich around £1.125 billion, which has mostly been spent on signing players and wages since 2003. Chelsea’s turnover was the 4th highest in the EPL, at £448m, with a wage bill of £246m.
Chelsea’s squad is also one of the most expensive, weighing in around £566m to assemble, which is surprising, given the fact that they have actually been banned from signing new players. Yet, despite being what many thought to be handicapped, they still managed to take the title this year!
Despite having the third-largest turnover of £455m, the Liverpool squad only cost around £454m to assemble. This number is much lower than other teams with this type of turnover. In fact, it seems that they are one of the only teams to have a larger turnover in 2018, than what was required to assemble the squad.
Liverpool has the second-highest wage bill, coming at £268m, 58% of their turnover. Also, one of the few teams to give their players the lion’s share of the turnover. Most other squads’ salaries seem to cap off at 50% of the turnover.
2. Manchester City
If there are two things this legendary squad is good at, it is spending dollars and scoring goals. It is owned by the City Football Group, which is 78% owned by Abu Dhabi United Group, an investment company from Dubai. A much smaller 24% is owned by a small centrism of people from the United States and China.
With total spending of just over 1 billion on their squad, one could say Manchester City has bought their way to the top. With their latest purchase of Rodi for £62.8m, it seems unsurprising that this team has 27 wins compared to its 6 losses, over the course of the 2020/21 season, and has the budget it does.
With a turnover of £500m in 2018, and a wage bill of £260m. It’s clear to see that this squad has one thing in common, being the best squad in the English Premier League.
At this point, skeptics might be asking what they are getting for the more than half a billion investment from the Glazer family. With an investment of £628 million. One would expect this squad to be taking more titles than they currently are. Granted, they did have the highest turnover with £590m in 2018. This brings their wage bill to 296m (from 263m) which is half of the turnover of the squad.
This impressive turnover has allowed the club to pay out over £22m in dividends. Unfortunately, not doing as well on the field as some of the other squads, with only 21 Wins and 6 Loses in the 2020/21 season.
It seems many teams have had millions of pounds poured into them from a variety of different sources, yet this doesn’t always translate to the field. This begs the question, does paying players higher wages motivate them to play better? Or are there only a handful of world-class players and managers? And, are the people who can afford their increasingly high rates are destined to walk away with the championship? It becomes challenging to have a level playing field when competing against teams such as Manchester City, who seem to have no intentions of being profitable, and all they want is to win.
Has the English Premier League become pay-to-play?