Cristiano Ronaldo’s Manchester United return last summer helped see the club set a new record for the highest annual wage bill in Premier League history.
The Red Devils have posted their latest financial results, which also showed the club’s net debt had gone up.
Rivals Man City previously boasted the highest yearly salary figures in the English top flight at £355million.
But Manchester United have now soared way above them as their wage expenditure has leapt up to £384.2m – despite failing to qualify for the Champions League last season.
It’s a 19.1 per cent increase on their previous figures, with that rise a result of several big-money signings, including Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Raphael Varane.
United’s salary could increase further under new manager Erik tag Hag, who has brought in five new players this summer, including £85.5m winger Antony, £70m midfielder Casimiro and £56.7m centre-back Lisandro Martinez, but a host of big earners also left Old Trafford in the same period.
United also announced a net loss of £115.5million for the 2021/22 season even though revenues rose by 18 per cent to £583m.
Figures released incorporating the final quarter of their financial year, which ended in June, showed losses rose by £23m on the previous year.
The club’s net debt also went up, from £419.5m in 2021 to £514.9m this year, an increase of more than 22 per cent.
United put that rise of £95.4 million primarily down to £64.6m of unrealised foreign exchange losses on the retranslation of borrowings in United States dollars. Revenue rose by £89.1m.
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Meanwhile, pay-offs to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick and their associated coaching staff amounted to £24.7m.
The rising wage bill at the club doesn’t appear to faze chief executive Richard Arnold, though, as he insisted the whole club is devoted to improving the team and getting back to the top.
“Our club’s core mission is to win football matches and entertain our fans,” Arnold said in a conference call with investors.
“Since our last earnings report, we have strengthened our men’s first-team squad, completed a successful summer tour, and established a foundation to build from in the early stages of the 2022/23 season under our new manager Erik ten Hag.
“We have also continued to develop our women’s team with an aim of reinforcing our position among the leading clubs in the Women’s Super League.
“While there is a lot more work to do, everyone at the club is aligned on a clear strategy to deliver sustained success on the pitch and a sustainable economic model off it, to the mutual benefit of fans, shareholders, and other stakeholders.
“Clearly our on-pitch performance in finishing sixth in the Premier League last season fell short of our aims and expectations.
“In response, we have made important and necessary changes, including new leadership for the men’s first team under Erik ten Hag and the strengthening of the playing squad during the summer transfer window.”
On the club’s overall debt, United’s chief financial officer Cliff Baty added: “Our financial results for fiscal 2022 reflect a recovery from the pandemic, a full return of fans and new commercial partnerships offset by increased investment in the playing squad.
“Our results have been adversely affected by the absence of a summer tour in July 2021, material exceptional and increased utility costs, and the impact of the weakening of sterling on our non-cash finance costs.”