Arsenal are the third-biggest spenders on wages since the Premier League began…

Well this is very interesting study into the spending of each Premier League club since the new League was formed, and Arsenal are only one of three clubs to have spent over 2 billion GBP on wages since 2002,

The interesting thing I found though was that in the last 5 years, we are the 4th biggest, obviously behind Man City, Chelsea and Man United, but the most depressing figure is that the Spuds spend about half our figures! So does spending on wages have a direct effect on League position?

Anyway here is the full report….

MONEY WELL SPENT? Premier League wage bills since 1992 revealed

  • Analysis of 26 years’ worth of financial data reveals the biggest spending clubs in Premier League history.
  • Over £24 BILLION has been spent on player wages by Premier League clubs since the formation of the league back in 1992.
  • Chelsea are the biggest all-time spenders, shelling out more on player wages than Tottenham and Everton COMBINED.

It’s a common joke that football only started with the creation of the Premier League, but how has football and the money spent on it changed since the Premier League began, back in 1992?

The data analysts at BetVictor have analysed the wage bills of every club that has played in England’s top flight and can reveal that Chelsea are the all-time biggest spenders on player wages in Premier League History.

Since the 1992/1993 season, Chelsea has spent a staggering £2,673,817,668.00 on player salaries in their quest for Premier League glory. Given the fact that £24.5 billion has been spent on player wages by all clubs in the history of the Premier League, Chelsea Football Club therefore accounts for 10.9% of all the money spent on player wages since the Premier League began.

Manchester United came second on the all-time wage spenders table, burning their way through £2,486,291,000.00, followed by Arsenal in third (£2.05bn) and Liverpool in fourth (2.009bn).

Newcastle fans will be pleased to see their side feature in the top half of the table for a change: The Magpies placed ninth in the all-time spenders table, spending just £2million less than Everton on player salaries since the start of the league.

Having been relegated twice and not featuring in the debut season of the English Premier League (EPL) – meaning three years of Premier League player wages cannot be counted – Newcastle’s on pitch woes would appear to be due to poor recruitment and club management, rather than a lack of spending on player salaries.

The table below details the top 10 all-time spenders in Premier League history:

Team Name Money Spent on Player Wages Premier League Titles Won*
Chelsea £2,673,817,668.00 4
Man United £2,486,291,000.00 13
Arsenal £2,048,048,509.00 3
Liverpool £2,009,703,000.00 0
Man City £1,956,730,753.00 2
Tottenham £1,245,496,000.00 0
Aston Villa £993,541,540.00 0
Everton £985,435,201.00 0
Newcastle £983,138,000.00 0
West Ham £848,182,700.00 0

*up until the 2016/17 based on the annual publication of club financial figures.

What is the average wage bill per position?

Taking the average of the most recent five seasons (2012/13 – 2016/17) for financial accuracy, Premier League clubs need to shell out a minimum of £181 million per year on player salaries for any hope of qualifying for the Champions League (by finishing in the top four places).

For those with hopes of winning the Premier League, the average wage bill for first place is a mammoth £205,086,250.00** rising steadily each year.

For those short of financial resources and worrying about relegation, the average wage bill of clubs finishing in the relegation zone is £61,961,965.47.

The good news is that you can spend less and avoid the drop – the average wage bill of clubs finishing in 16th position was a mere £60,188,319.20: proof that throwing money at the problem doesn’t always work.

To view the full dataset, with even more statistics such as how much each team spends per win, breakdown of player wages by club by year and more, please visit:

Updated: February 21, 2019 — 2:49 pm


  1. That’s probably because Wenger was on about 12 million a year and then of course average players getting a kings ransom! Carl Jenkinson picking up something like 50 grand a week for using a treadmill a few times a week! Akpom was probably on the same as him and Afobe too! Fringe players seriously need to be moved on this summer, forget about loan deals, cancel contracts if they can’t be sold… Too many average players on the books getting handsomely paid even when nowhere near the first team.

  2. Wow I didn’t realize this. That mismanagement of finances that I often talk about, and wrongly get criticized for, is actually worse than I thought! Hopefully that Ozil contract was the final piece of charity from the club.

    What’s worse is that LITERALLY ANYONE with any knowledge of football knew the majority the players getting these ridiculous wages, were not good enough by a country mile! But Wenger hated the transfer windows (he said this many times), and preferred to look for solutions in-house, even though we all knew there were no solutions in-house available.

    1. TMJW, can you explain your “in house” quote please?

      Are you talking about our youngsters that the club tried to bring through in order to save transfer money and high salaries, or is it something else that AW was looking for?

      You have obviously drilled down as I have and it would be VERY interesting to look at each report in isolation and discuss in detail.
      Cost for winning each game for instance.

      I personally can’t take it all in, having only read it when put out about an hour ago, but some of the figures are enormous in their size, mind boggling!

      1. Oh that’s really easy to answer. By ‘in-house’, Wenger would prefer to give youngsters a chance (which I like, but he used too many inexperienced players at the same time, extending contracts of under performing players out of loyalty, instead of selling and seeking replacements, and he would try out players in different positions, hoping they would adapt to their new roles, instead of using them in their natural positions. E.g. Chambers at RB, Arteta at DM, Ramsey at RW, Ox in about 6 different positions, etc.

        Hopefully that answer satisfies you.

        1. TMJW, right I see where your coming from:

          One minute he’s playing to many inexperienced players at the same time, then he’s accussed of only picking his “dross” experienced favourite players at the same time extending their contracts because of loyalty?

          So when UE extended the contracts of Bellerin, Xhaka, Mustafi, Iwob (you know the dross underperforming players)…was that out of loyalty?

          Why didn’t he sell these awful players and seek replacements rather than increasing the wage bill with six new signings and contract extensions?

          Perhaps, like AW, he saw the potential in them and decided they deserved extensions, could that be a possibility?

          1. Although I would have got rid of some, it’s a clean slate I guess as it’s a new manager so loyalty had nothing to do with contract extensions as Emery hadn’t managed them before.

            Whereas Wenger managed some under performers for as long 11 years! Wenger chose loyalty over ability on too many occasions and for far too long.

          2. You skillfully evaded the thrust of my question TMJW didn’t you:

            As you (and others) take every opportunity to tell everyone about the “dross, weedy, lazy, worst squad of players in years” left by AW for UE, why did UE offer extended contracts when they were not necessary?

            Of course it had nothing to do with loyalty, but have you forgotten the detailed account he presented to the club on every player that AW left?
            With that in mind, he must have seen the value of the players he inherited, by offering contract extensions that were not needed.

            So, instead of looking for any excuse to blame AW at every opportunity, perhaps you should study the actions of our current manager and what these show with regards to the players left for him.

            The craziness of your latest outburst is that you say AW should have sold these underperforming players, whilst your quite relaxed that UE gave the same undeerperforming players increased salaries with longer contracts.

            Double standards that become more and more a vendetta with each claim you make.

  3. Well, that didn’t take long did it?

    A report from betfred and their official partner Liverpool F.C. and AW’s reported salary goes up from £9,000,000 to £12,000,000 a year…and he left ten months ago!!
    Has anyone considered that, just by qualifiying for the CL twenty years running, AW’s “old” salary was paid for?
    No, I guess not.

    What did it cost the club to employ the three musketeers? Pinky in air time!

    How much has gazidis cost us in his ten years at the club? Pinky in air time!

    Who do you think had the last say and agreed the salaries for our players over the last two years? Pinky in air time? No we know that one don’t we?
    The CEO of course, Ivan Gazidis, well ex CEO now of course!!

    I’ll leave these unanswered questions to the great mathmaticians on here who, it seems, put their pinky up in the air, decided on a figure and then gave AW a pay rise in order to try and raise the anti AW feeling.
    Drilling down and trying to takeall these figures in and digest them is not easy, but can I just make two observations for the now?

    What a brilliant job the spuds owner and board are doing, despite still not having one premier league title to their name and what it has cost Abramovitch to make chelsea a top six club and win titles….I wonder if kronkie would be interested in looking? It might make him want to sell the club?!?!?!?!?

    1. Things are changing

      @Ken1945 – You give 2 good examples of both sides of the spectrum. Chelsea with all their managerial changes have shown that investment can buy you titles if you have the right manager and can drop you out of the top 4 if you don’t.

      Spurs have shown that you don’t have to spend fortunes to be a top 4 team provided you you manage to buy smart, develop youth and hold on to a top manager. (I expect this model to break down – soon).

      I don’t think the table above can lead to too many firm conclusions about Arsenal but rather to generic ones that require more data. But one take away seen through my somewhat biased glasses is that have probably gone through a period of outperforming our wage bill in the league table followed by a period of s slight underperformance. At the moment we are probably underperforming just a little. Although if we manage to finish in the top 4, which is still possible especially if we have a great day when we face Man U, we would probably finish according to our wage bill which this season is likely 4th or close there to.

  4. For the last 20 or so years we have had tgis distributionist wage structure, some sort of socialism wage structure where we have tried to distribute our wages near to equally amongst our squads.

    We wasted so much wages on young players in order to attract them, or we gave too much to any academy player that showed any sign of improvement. Most of them turned out to be overrated, overhyped young players.

    Then we also tried to do the same with our first team squad. Giving big wages to average players just because they had an okay season or 2. Then in the last 5 or so seasons it has gotten even worse, paying okay and average players £100,000 a week upwards.

  5. The figures are a reflection of the financial mismanagement of our Club and here we are in 2019 with arguably the weakest squad in the past decade.Of course we have a tremendous stadium which I believe is virtually debt free and excellent training facilities etc but the fact remains we are light years away from assembling a side which can seriously challenge for the Premier League.The old saying of “throwing good money after bad” comes readily to mind.

  6. Considering how many poor players we have had compared to other top teams, we give away money for nothing. Insane.

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