The CIES Football Observatory claims United have overspent by £209m (€238.4m) on players since July 2012.
The CIES Football Observatory claims United have overspent by £209m (€238.4m) on players since July 2012. According to the study, United lavished £1.4bn (€1.6bn) on 33 players over the 10-year period, when their market value was estimated at £1.19bn (€1.36bn).
Juve and Paris St-Germain were cited as the two next worst culprits for overpaying, with the Italian club estimated to have paid £204m (€233m) over the odds for players in the past decade and the French champions £142m (€162m).
United have been criticised over the fees they have paid in recent seasons, notably the £85m (€97m) committed to sign Harry Maguire from Leicester and the £50m (€57m) paid to Crystal Palace for Aaron Wan-Bissaka in 2019.
Wan-Bissaka has played just four minutes of football under Erik ten Hag this season and appears to be surplus to requirements, while Maguire, the United captain, has lost his starting place under the new manager.
United’s £227m (€259m) expenditure on six new signings this summer was their biggest close-season outlay and involved paying significantly more than their original valuations of some targets.
Having had an initial £53m (€60m) bid for Antony rejected by Ajax, United ended up paying £85.5m (€97.5m) for the Brazil forward, a month after spending £57m (€65m) on Argentina defender Lisandro Martinez from the Dutch club, almost £20m (€23m) more than their opening offer.
The CIES Football Observatory listed Aston Villa as the second-worst Premier League club for overspending since 2012. Villa were accused of paying £131m (€149m) too much on players.
Wolverhampton Wanderers, Tottenham and Brighton were the only three Premier League sides from 36 clubs that managed to invest less than expected to conclude the transfer deals assessed, according to the study.
CIES cited this as confirmation of the “key role” the Premier League has played in “driving up inflation on the transfer market”.
The CIES Football Observatory is a research group within the International Centre for Sports Studies and specialises in the statistical analysis of football.