Live graphic shows Premier League clubs' wage spending since 1992

  • Kobe Tong

Manchester United currently have the largest wage bill in Premier League history. Seriously.

According to the Daily Mail, financial documents revealed that the club is forking out £332 million annually, marking an eye-watering 43% hike on their expenditure three years ago.

The news arrives in spite of United’s dreadful start to the season, winning just two leagues games and perching closer to the relegation zone than Champions League qualification places.

And it’s likely a consequence of numerous contract renewals, many of which have seen players like Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard given pay-rises that are questionably justified.

David de Gea recently signed a £375,000-a-week contract, Paul Pogba is hoovering up £290,000-a-week and Anthony Martial is pocketing a handsome £250,000-a-week.

Historic Premier League wages

Oh, and seven weeks of £500,000-a-week payments to Alexis Sanchez, who’s now on loan at Inter Milan, were also included in the gluttonous total.

It’s pretty embarrassing stuff and in setting an unwanted Premier League record, it really makes you wonder how wage spending has evolved since 1992.

How have Chelsea compared since the Roman Abramovich takeover? Surely Manchester City have come close with their spending under Pep Guardiola?

Live graphic of wage spending

Well, fear not because the trusty phenomena that is live graphics have made a timely reappearance and wage bills are at the heart of the latest video by ‘We Love Data.’ 

Unfortunately, data was only available for Arsenal, Liverpool and United between 1992 and 1996, but don’t worry because the graph spreads its wings for the final 22 years.

The maths has been collected from the Telegraph, official club and Premier League reports as well as the book ‘Football Economics and Policy’ to ensure the highest level of accuracy.

Check out the full, fascinating live graphic down below:

Wow, that’s a lot of history and even more spending.

Unsurprisingly, United commanded the highest wage bill throughout their dominance in the 1990s, while pre-Abramovich Chelsea and Liverpool came closest to dethroning them.

It wasn’t until the 2003-04 season that the accelerated spending at Stamford Bridge launched them into first place, dwarfing United’s once-dominant wage bill by over £40 million.

The next transference of power wouldn’t come until, surprise surprise, Sheikh Mansour’s takeover at Manchester City and it was in the 2011-12 campaign where Chelsea surrendered top spot. 

However, there was perhaps the greatest level of equality during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons where almost identical wage bills saw Chelsea briefly stick their nose in front.

And even though the live graphic doesn’t include this season, United sky-rocketing past to first place is still included and they finish the video with an eye-watering £296 million on their books.

It’s funny how things come round in circles. United started the graphic as the highest spenders, they ended the graphic as the highest spenders but oh how the football has devolved in between.

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