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Football's most-expensive squads: Man City top the table at £926MILLION (but United close gap)

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Manchester City’s  current squad was recruited at a cost of £926 million, making it the most valuable in Europe, but arch rivals Man United are rapidly closing the gap.   

The average cost of each player in the City squad equates to an eye-watering £37m, boosted by the £100m acquisition of Jack Grealish from Aston Villa this summer.

City’s extraordinary investment was seen on the opening day of the season, when Pep Guardiola’s side lined up at Tottenham Hotspur with the most expensive starting eleven ever to grace the Premier League.

Jack Grealish boosted the transfer value of Manchester City's squad after a £100m move

Jack Grealish boosted the transfer value of Manchester City’s squad after a £100m move

Guardiola’s lineup contained players who were signed for an eye-watering total of £520million, in a game they lost 1-0.

The new figures compiled by the football observatory, CIES, underlines the competitive gulf that has developed in the top tier of English football, and is now developing between European leagues. 

City’s squad cost more than 12 times the amount spent by Premier League new boys, Norwich City.

However, at the top end of the table the gap is narrowing quickly. Manchester United are closing in on their rivals, having spent just £49m less assembling their players for the 2021/22 season, compared £165m last time around.

Jadon Sancho signed for Manchester United for £73m, narrowing the gap with Man City

And European rivals, Paris Saint-Germain, have invested, too, spending £60m on Achraf Hakimi from Inter Milan

Jadon Sancho signed for Manchester United for £73m, narrowing the gap with Man City and European rivals, Paris Saint-Germain, have invested, too, spending £60m on Achraf Hakimi from Inter Milan

COSTLIEST SQUADS IN EUROPE THIS SEASON
Club Cost of squad
Manchester City £926m
Manchester United  £877m 
Paris Saint-Germain  £820m 
Real Madrid  £675m 
Chelsea  £669m 
Liverpool  £576m 
Juventus  £563m 
Barcelona  £551m 
Arsenal  £542m 
Tottenham  £472m 
Atletico Madrid  £414m 
Everton  £400m 
Bayern Munich  £361m 
Napoli  £357m 
Leicester City  £352m 
Source: CIES   

It is no surprise United are catching up. The Red Devils splashed the cash in earnest in the transfer window, bringing in Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund for £73m, Raphael Varane from Real Madrid for £42m and, of course, Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus for £19.8m.

The total value of United’s squad now comes in at £877m.

City and United have the most valuable squads in Europe, followed by Paris Saint-Germain, whose stars amount to a total value of £820m following the addition of Achraf Hakimi from Inter Milan, in a deal which will reportedly rise to £60million

 The Real Madrid squad is valued at £675m.

Chelsea balanced the £98m cost of Romelu Lukaku by selling a number of squad players

Chelsea balanced the £98m cost of Romelu Lukaku by selling a number of squad players

Meanwhile, Chelsea come fifth in the European table and compete the top three big spenders in the Premier League, shelling out £669m on their current crop of players, which they significantly enhanced with the addition of Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan for £98m.

However, the Lukaku splurge was balanced by releasing a number of squad players with significant valuations of their own, including Tammy Abraham to Roma for £34m, Kurt Zouma to West Ham for £30m and Fikayo Tomori to AC Milan for £25m.

Liverpool (£576m)), Arsenal, who have been on a spending spree despite the coronavirus pandemic, bringing in Ben White for £50m from Brighton and Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid for £30m has a squad that cost £542m, and Tottenham (£472m), complete the top flight’s big six.

Everton's squad cost more than Germany's serial Bundesliga winners, Bayern Munich

Everton’s squad cost more than Germany’s serial Bundesliga winners, Bayern Munich

The financial power of the Premier League is emphasised by the fact that Spurs, Arsenal and Everton all have squads that now cost more than Bayern Munich (361m), who have triumphed in the German Bundesliga for nine seasons in a row. 

At the bottom of the Premier League, Brentford (£96m), Watford (£104m) and Burnley (£101m) sit above Norwich (£75m). 

And despite the purchase of Daniel James for £30m from Manchester United, Leeds United’s squad remains the fifth least expensive in the top division at a total cost of £180m, reflecting the fact the Whites have only had one season in the top flight after a decade in the EFL Championship.

As reported by Sportsmail last week, the top Premier League clubs used the coronavirus pandemic to pull clear of their European rivals, at least in terms of transfer spending.

Bayern Munich often focus spending within the Bundesliga to obtain better value and they recruited Dayot Upamecano from rivals RB Leipzig for £38.5m  this summer

Bayern Munich often focus spending within the Bundesliga to obtain better value and they recruited Dayot Upamecano from rivals RB Leipzig for £38.5m  this summer

A previous CIES Football Observatory study detailed how Prem clubs have spent lavishly on new players in comparison to those in LaLiga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga, despite the pandemic crippling their revenues.

In total, the English top flight net spent just over £1.6billion in the three pandemic transfer windows with Serie A (£255m) the closest European league to follow the Premier League.

That expenditure is partially reflected in the  squad cost figures now reported.

While, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Juventus and Barcelona are still represented at the top of the spending charts, six of the most costly squads belong to English clubs.

Furthermore, spending in the other four big European leagues trails the Premier League. Norwich City’s relatively modest £75m squad may be ranked the cheapest in the English top flight, but it would be ranked roughly in the middle of the spending tables for each of Ligue 1, Serie A, Bundesliga and La Liga. 

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