Manchester United had a staggering annual wage bill of £332m last season - a figure that is so far believed to be the highest ever reported by a Premier League club.
United disclosed the amount as part of their recent 2018/19 financial report, a document that also revealed a club record turnover of almost £630m for the campaign.
#MUFC £332m wage bill is the highest ever reported by a Premier League club. In the last three years it has grown by an incredible £100m (43%). It is worth noting that up until 2012, United’s wages were only the third highest in England, behind #MCFC and #CFC. pic.twitter.com/NhLaNto7Gx— Swiss Ramble (@SwissRamble) September 30, 2019
What is perhaps startling, as noted by Swiss Ramble on Twitter, is that wages increased by 12% from the 2017/18 season, partially as a result of signing Alexis Sanchez in January 2018. Despite the additional investment, United fell from second in the Premier League to sixth in 12 months.
In the last three years alone, United’s wage bill has grown by £100m, and yet the club is arguably further away from winning, or even challenging for, a Premier League title than at any point in the six years since Sir Alex Ferguson delivered their last and promptly retired.
The figures are the most recently available from 2018/19 and the wage bill could have fallen in 2019/20, as there have been lots of personnel changes and changes to circumstances.
David de Gea recently signed a lucrative new contract, but Romelu Lukaku, Ander Herrera, Antonio Valencia and Matteo Darmian were first-team players who have left. United have at least also partially removed some of the Sanchez burden, while Chris Smalling is on loan at Roma.
Harry Maguire is rumoured to be earning close to £200,000-per-week, but fellow summer arrivals Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka are much younger and pocketing much less.
The overall wage figures for 2019/20, which won’t be known until they are published in the next annual financial report in 12 months’ time, will also be affected by new contracts for Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial in the last few months.
United are rumoured to be in talks with prospective commercial partners over a new shirt sponsorship deal to replace American car giant Chevrolet as of 2021.
It has been rumoured that Chevrolet have not been satisfied with their investment after United’s lack of achievement on the pitch, as well as already having alleged concerns of overpaying when the deal, which began in 2014, was first negotiated and announced in 2012.
According to one report, there is a confidence that any new deal United sign with a shirt sponsor will at least match, and possibly even exceed, the value of the Chevrolet deal.
It is United’s vast earning potential in the commercial and marketing departments that allow the club to continue paying their squad a league high sum. But fans will hope that in future the money is put to far better use than it has been in the recent past.