Manchester United have overtaken their noisy neighbours City as owners of the Premier League’s most expensive wage bill as it has been revealed that they now dish out £214.8 million-per-year.
Their sharp increase in wages–a whopping 17% from last year–follows an unprecedented summer of spending at Old Trafford that saw Louis van Gaal splash out £146 million on new recruits.
And the loan deal that brought Radamel Falcao to the Premier League, costing the Red Devils a £6 million fee and involves paying the Colombian £265,000-per-week, is thought to be a key factor.
Angel Di Maria is thought to be earning something similar following his British record signing from Real Madrid in August.
But the biggest factor in United’s astronomical wage expenditure was the new contract that Wayne Rooney signed in February 2014 that saw his weekly income rise to £300,000.
Reprieve for City?
Such spending means that rivals Manchester City have earned a reprieve from being typecast as the villain of the piece.
Over the last half-decade the Citizens had been accused of ruining football with their lavish list of highly-paid superstars.
But in the last 12 months the club has been striving for a more austere approach in an attempt to avoid FFP sanctions.
Since the beginning of 2014 City’s wage bill has shrunk by about 12% - dropping from £233 million to £205 million per year.
The Sky Blues offloaded the likes of Joleon Lescott, Gareth Barry, Costel Pantilimon, Jack Rodwell and Javi Garcia last summer in an attempt to stream line their squad and it appears they are in significantly more control of their spending than in years gone by.
Chelsea and Arsenal are the next most generous employers who have both seen an 8% rise in wages to £190.5 million and £166.4 million per year respectively.
The arrivals of Diego Costa, Cesc Fabregas and Filipe Luis all from giants of La Liga will not have been cheap deals to sign for the Blues.
And in the last 12 months Arsenal have finally started splashing the cash - offering reportedly lucrative deals to Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck who both arrived from financial giants in the summer of 2014.