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Manchester United's wage bill is falling, but still enormous

SoccerBy Sunday World
Falcao's wages have been one of the season's biggest talking points
Falcao's wages have been one of the season's biggest talking points

Manchester United are expected to be overtaken as the biggest payers in the Premier League this year.

United's wage bill for last season was £215.8million - the biggest in English football - but in the first six months of this season dropped by six per cent, mainly as a result of not paying Champions League bonuses.

United's figures show wages for the six months ending December 31 were £98.1million compared to £104.6million for the same period last season.

Manchester City, who had a £205million wage bill in 2013/14, are likely to overtake United. Chelsea are the third-highest payers with a wage bill of £192.7million. Bottom-club

Burnley's wage bill is just £21.5million including £6million in promotion bonuses, one-tenth the size of United's.

The wages costs and profits or losses of all top-flight clubs for 2013/14 have now been confirmed via annual accounts posted at Companies House and overall there is a close correlation between total salary bill and league position with the current top four in the Premier League also the four biggest payers.

Southampton are the club punching heaviest above their weight in the Premier League in terms of performance compared to wages paid to players.

Saints are only ranked 16th in the top flight in terms of their wage bill - £55.2million - and yet are currently seventh in the table.

The biggest under-achievers are QPR, with a £75million wage bill even from a season when they were in the Championship making them the eighth-highest payers - yet they are 19th in the table. QPR's salary bill was almost twice the club earned last season in total last season.

The combined accounts of the 20 clubs shows over overall turnover rose to £3.07billion from £2.3billion in 2012/13, with wages increasing too but at a slower rate and totalling £1.84billion compared to £1.59billion. The latest figure shows salaries account for 59.9 per cent of turnover compared to 71.7 per cent for the same 20 clubs a year before.

The increase in income is mainly down to the Premier League's lucrative television deal, which came into effect for the first time last season. The cash injection has led to six clubs who were in the red in 2012/13 now finding themselves in the black.

Apart from those clubs who were promoted from the Championship last season, only Manchester City, Aston Villa and Sunderland ended the 2013/14 season having made a financial loss.

Premier League director of communications Dan Johnson said the clubs' decision two years ago to introduce spending controls had also contributed to a positive financial outlook

Johnson said: "There are two reasons for this. The first is increasing revenues and the second is the financial criteria the clubs have voted in two seasons ago which put financial sustainability at the heart of how they want to go forward."

The measures introduced by the clubs capped the amount they could use TV money to pay for player costs. It also put a long-term limit on a club's overall losses.

The figures also show Sunderland are the ninth-highest payers but are 16th in the table.

PA