The Premier League is by far the best-paid football league on the planet. Average basic first-team pay in England’s top division is £2,438,275, or £48,766 a week. That is close to double the average wage in La Liga, which is just more than £1.2m per player per year, or £24,786 a week.
And United are now the fourth best-paid team in world sport and the best-paid football team in the world, man for man. In world sports United trail the Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Yankees and the LA Clipper.
The global sports salary survey (GSSS) found the average first-team wage at Old Trafford equates to basic pay of £110,962 a week. The acquisition of world-record signing Paul Pogba and high-earner Zlatan Ibrahimovic have propelled them up the list.
Barcelona, home to Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez, are the second best-paid football team and fifth across all teams, averaging £5.6m per player a year, or £109,000 a week, while Manchester City are third (£5.4m per year, £104,000 per week), and ranked No 9 in the world. Real Madrid are the fourth best-paid football team, the No 19 team across all sport.
The Premier League’s financial strength in depth is mightier than ever thanks to new TV deals now in force for the 2016-19 seasons, when Sky and BT Sport will pay £5.1bn between them for domestic live rights.
Foreign broadcasters will pay £3bn for overseas rights collectively, and Match of the Day and other programmes will contribute hundreds of millions more for highlights and delayed rights.
The Premier League’s central earnings, the vast majority from TV, will be £3bn a year for the next three seasons, and the majority of that will go to clubs, where the biggest single outlay is player wages.
United’s first-team squad cost £522.4m to assemble — more than any club in the world — ahead of Real Madrid in second place (£513.3m) and City in third (£454.4 m). The biggest spenders on fees are the same cohort of super rich clubs who lead the way in wage expenditure. Barcelona’s squad cost ‘only’ £331m to assemble because some of their key talent, Messi included, were produced by the club’s academy.