Manchester United has topped the Premier League salary table for the 2021/22 season, paying out a total of £384m in wages. Despite the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo, who was earning £480,000 per week, David De Gea has returned to the top of the highest earners list at Old Trafford, with a salary of £375,000 per week. Liverpool has overtaken Manchester City to take second place in the table, with a wage bill that has increased by 75% since 2017. The Reds made a pre-tax profit of just £7.5m last season, with new contracts for players such as Andy Robertson, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Virgil van Dijk, and Trent Alexander-Arnold contributing to the increase in wages.
Mo Salah has recently signed a new contract worth £350,000 per week, making him Liverpool’s highest-paid player, but this package is not included in the current figures. Liverpool’s wage bill is now just £18m less than Manchester United’s, compared to a gap of £56m in 2017. Manchester City’s yearly salary bill is currently £354m, but this could be overtaken by Chelsea, who have yet to release their figures for last season.
Kevin De Bruyne is the highest earner at Manchester City, with a weekly salary of £400k, while Kai Havertz was the highest earner at Stamford Bridge during the last campaign, earning £310k per week. Tottenham has spent more on player salaries than North London rivals Arsenal, with a 66% increase from £127m in 2017 to £209m this season. Arsenal’s wage bill has also increased, but only from £195m to £206m. Thomas Partey is the top earner at Arsenal, while Gabriel Jesus is the highest earner at Manchester City after his summer arrival, earning £265k per week.
Overall, Premier League clubs have been hit hard financially by the Covid-19 pandemic, with many reporting losses due to reduced matchday revenue and lower broadcasting income. However, the top clubs continue to pay high salaries to attract and retain top talent. The wage bills of the top clubs are likely to remain high in the coming seasons as they compete for domestic and European honours.