Top premier league players of 2015

18 Jan 2016

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The Guardian newspaper recently released its list of the Best 100 Footballers in the World. These players often have tremendous impact on games, capable of going against the run of the game and changing the result on their own. Strikers might make wonder shots, midfielders an incisive pass requiring tremendous vision, keepers a one-handed save. How much money does it cost each team in the Premier League to get one of these special players?

Given the rising cost of players, how efficiently a club spends in the transfer market can have a tremendous effect on their squad. Obviously, each team will want to have the most top footballers at the lowest cost. Over the past 5 years, most British clubs have a net (net = buys - sales) spend of between £10-5 million for each top footballer. Tottenham has been especially prudent, developing the talents of Harry Kane while making a profit over the past five years. Liverpool has been the most foolish spender, with an net outlay of £32 million per season and only one top player, Coutinho, to show for it. To most Premier League followers, this won’t be surprising. Tottenham, with Daniel Levy as its head, is known as a shrewd club and a disciplined buyer. In contrast, Liverpool and its infamous Transfer Committee have been under inquiry for the past few years – rightly so, as we can see in the below charts. Liverpool have a higher net spend per season than Arsenal, yet their squad has 1 top footballer to Arsenal’s 5. Liverpool’s wages cost 30% more than Tottenham’s, yet we have arguably worse depth and game-changers than their squad. 

Fenway Sports Group, owners of Liverpool, have not shied away from their fiduciary responsibilities. They’ve provided Liverpool enough funds to make them the third-highest net spender over the past 5 years, and the fifth-highest yearly wage bill. Unfortunately, poor transfer business has wasted all their intent and ambition, leaving Liverpool arguably the worst spender in the Premier League over the past 5 years. 

Other notes:

  • Arsenal have just one less top player than the Big 3 (the Manchester clubs and Chelsea), but only needed to spend near 4million pounds per top player, compared to an average of around 9million pounds for the other clubs.
  • West Ham is the second most wasteful club, spending £19 million to acquire their one top player, Dimitri Payet.
  • Of the clubs with 6 top footballers, Chelsea has been the most efficient spender.
  • Leicester has done amazingly, with a wage bill only 45% as large as Tottenham’s (and 33% of Liverpool’s) while amassing two top footballers.

Team Players in TheGuardian’s Top 100 Footballers Net spend per season Season £ spent per top player 2015/16 Wages
Manchester City 6 £64,480,000 £10,746,667 £193,800,000
Chelsea 6 £44,041,800 £7,340,300 £215,600,000
Manchester United 6 £57,660,000 £9,610,000 £203,000,000
Arsenal 5 £19,805,000 £3,961,000 £192,000,000
Leicester City 2 £10,030,000 £5,015,000 £48,200,000
Tottenham 1 -£8,240,000 -£8,240,000 £110,500,000
Liverpool 1 £32,666,000 £32,666,000 £152,000,000
West Ham United 1 £19,850,000 £19,850,000 £69,500,000


From, grabbed net spend of each club, over the past 5 seasons. So, essentially, the net cost to build the current squad.

From, obtained wage bills of each club, for 2015/16.