Money is no object in the world of football and that couldn’t be truer than with the biggest clubs in the United Kingdom. More specifically, money is no object to Premier League teams who spend considerable amounts on star names in hopes of winning silverware. In some cases, being the highest-paid player in the UK doesn’t equate to being the best performer throughout the season. As some of the players and clubs on this list prove, money doesn’t always buy trophies.
Sports financial website Spotrac has compiled the numbers for the highest-paid footballers in the UK for the 2020-21 season. The numbers give us the chance to dissect whether clubs are overpaying for a player’s services.
So, who are the highest-paid footballers in the UK? The answers may surprise you based on the stats. Still, these players are bringing home plenty of cash in their pay packets regardless of their goals, assists, or saves.
David De Gea – Manchester United; £19,500,000 per season
Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea is the highest-paid footballer in the UK earning £19.5 million per season at Old Trafford. De Gea is in the midst of a six-year contract at Manchester United that will pay him a whopping total of £177m by the time the deal ends in 2024. The shot-stopper pulls in a weekly salary of £375,000, more than any other play in Premier League history.
De Gea’s play in 2019-20 did not back up the enormous sum that Manchester United pay him. The Spanish player was criticised heavily for mistakes especially allowing two stoppable goals in the FA Cup semifinal versus Chelsea. De Gea’s contract is difficult to shift, however, Manchester United have promising young goalkeeper Dean Henderson on the books. Henderson excelled on loan at Sheffield United last term. De Gea still managed 13 clean sheets and 96 saves during the most recent campaign.
Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City; £18,200,000 per season
Kevin De Bruyne once again showed just why he is paid so much money during the 2019-20 season. The Belgian attacking midfielder was at the heart of everything good Manchester City did in the final third. He collected 13 goals in 35 league appearances. It isn’t De Bruyne’s goals that make him so exceptional, however. De Bruyne tallied 20 assists in the Premier League and created 33 “big chances”.
The Belgian’s contract at the Etihad Stadium will run until the 2022-23 season. He makes £350,000-per-week. De Bruyne has done almost everything with Manchester City except lead them to a European trophy. He has finally stayed fit for a full league campaign. If he can continue to avoid injury, a piece of European silverware could finally end up on the blue half of Manchester.
Mesut Ozil – Arsenal; £18,200,000 per season
When Mesut Ozil signed a three-year contract extension to stay at Arsenal in 2018, it was declared a coup for the club. The new deal increased his weekly wages to £350,000-per-week. Since signing the contract extension, Arsenal hired and fired manager Unai Emery, who was never won over by Ozil. Current Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta seems even more determined not to play Ozil.
Ozil has spent much of the last year earning a large paycheck while not playing football. The 31-year-old played just 18 times for Arsenal in 2019-20 tallying a goal and two assists. Ozil’s large contract is now an albatross around the club’s neck. Unfortunately for legendary Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, re-signing Ozil to such a large contract was one of his last acts at the club. It is a blemish on the manager’s record that has weighed the Gunners down since.
Raheem Sterling – Manchester City; £15,600,000 per season
Manchester City have not been afraid to pay players large sums of money. It is one reason the club were under investigation with UEFA over Financial Fair Play. Forward Raheem Sterling, signed from Liverpool in 2015, comes in as the third highest-paid player in the UK at £15.6m per season.
Sterling is under contract at Manchester City until 2023. Over the course of his current deal, he will earn £300,000-per-week. If he can continue the form shown in 2019-20, his pay could rise. In 33 Premier League appearances this past season, Sterling scored 20 goals – 11 with his right foot, six with his left foot, and three with his head.
Perhaps the only disappointing part about Sterling’s performances was his lack of assists. The England international recorded a mere one assist.
Paul Pogba – Manchester United; £15,080,000 per season
Manchester United made it their mission to re-sign midfielder Paul Pogba in 2016. It is safe to say that Pogba has not lived up to the hype or wages paid since his return. Although the midfielder helped the club win the Europa League and the EFL Cup in 2017, he has spent a lot of his time at Old Trafford out injured.
Pogba has only once recorded double digit goals. Most supporters had expected him to leave the club with Real Madrid supposedly interested in taking Pogba’s £290,000-per-week salary off of Manchester United’s hands. The Red Devils did not give into Pogba’s previous transfer wishes and after signing midfielder Bruno Fernandes, the Frenchman seems to have done a U-turn.
The midfielder only appeared in 16 Premier League games in 2019-20 due to injury. Pogba scored one goal while adding three assists. His current contract expires at the end of 2021.
Anthony Martial – Manchester United; £13,000,000 per season
Three of the highest paid footballers in the UK play for Manchester United. The results on the pitch in terms of trophies haven’t equalled the amount of money paid to these players but there is hope the club are on an upward trajectory under manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Anthony Martial originally signed for the club from Monaco during Louis van Gaal’s short, unsuccessful time as manager. Signed in 2015 for £54m, Martial was labelled as a player for Manchester United’s future. Van Gaal couldn’t have been more correct. Martial starred for the club in 2019-20 as a central striker. He tallied a career high 17 Premier League goals.
Just 24, Martial earns £250,000-a-week. Martial is under contract until 2024 and Manchester United have an option for a further year. If he stays fit, Martial should only get better for the Red Devils.
Sergio Aguero – Manchester City; £11,967,000 per season
Sergio Aguero is the greatest striker in Manchester City history. Signed in 2011 from Atletico Madrid, Aguero has scored 254 goals in 370 games in all competitions for Manchester City. His days are numbered at the club as Manchester City are unlikely to offer another contract extension when Aguero’s current deal expires in 2021.
The striker is already proving difficult to replace although manager Pep Guardiola is trying to turn Gabriel Jesus into the new Aguero. Like former Manchester City centre-back Vincent Kompany, Aguero is practically irreplaceable.
Aguero is the Premier League’s all-time leading scorer for foreign players. He also holds the record for the most career Premier League hat-tricks with 12. His £230,135-per-week is far lower than some of the other players on this list, which is shocking due to the production Aguero has delivered to Manchester City over the years.
Mohamed Salah – Liverpool; £10,400,000 per season
Liverpool had two remarkable seasons in 2018-19 and 2019-20 winning the Champions League and Premier League, respectively. Making their achievements even more remarkable is the fact that they have just one player in the top 12 highest paid footballers in the UK list. Mohamed Salah is Liverpool’s highest-paid star at £200,000-a-week. Salah has been well worth his salary and deserves a rise in pay thanks to his continued goal-scoring production.
Signed for £37.8m from Roma, Salah is now easily worth triple the price Liverpool paid for him. In Liverpool’s Premier League title-winning season of 2019-20, Salah scored 19 goals while tallying 10 assists in 34 games.
Salah has been a goal-scoring phenomenon for Liverpool claiming the Premier League’s Golden Boot Award in 2017-18 and 2018-19. The winger is proof clubs do not have to pay out large wages to get the best players available. Liverpool’s scouting department should be praised for the work they did to uncover the gem that is the Egyptian King.
Marcus Rashford – Manchester United; £10,400,00 per season
Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford is living the dream that most boys living in the Great Manchester region have growing up. Rashford grew up in the Manchester suburb of Wythenshawe and signed with the club’s academy in 2005. After 10 years in the Manchester United academy, Rashford earned his first call-up to the first team as a teenager in 2015. He quickly made a name for himself at the club as a rising star thanks to eight goals in 18 appearances.
Rashford earns £200,000-a-week at the club at just 22-years-old. He had a fantastic Premier League season in 2019-20 scoring 17 goals and tallying eight assists in 31 games. Even a back injury suffered midway through the season didn’t dampen Rashford’s play as after coming back from the problem, he picked up right where he left off.
The Manchester United forward’s contract expires in 2023 and the club have an option year on his deal. It is unlikely Rashford’s contract will come close to expiring, however. Manchester United are likely to re-sign him and bring his wages closer to the three highest-paid players – De Gea, Pogba, Martial – at the club.
Harry Kane – Tottenham Hotspur; £10,400,000 per season
It is often said by pundits that Harry Kane will move to another Premier League club due to Tottenham Hotspur’s restrictive salary structure. Kane earns £200,000-per-week as Tottenham Hotspur’s co-highest paid player. Kane is signed through the 2023-24 season when he will be 30-years-old. He is the heart and soul of Tottenham Hotspur which was shown in the second half of the Premier League season as the club recovered from a poor start to finish sixth.
Kane helped lead Tottenham Hotspur to the 2019 Champions League Final. An ankle ligament injury prevented him from playing in the quarterfinal and semifinals of the competitions, but Kane did make it back for the final. Although it continues to be claimed Kane will leave Spurs for a higher paying contract from a club capable of winning the Premier League, he seems to be happy playing for the team he supported as a child.
Tanguy Ndombele – Tottenham Hotspur; £10,400,000 per season
In the summer of 2019, Tottenham Hotspur paid £55m to France’s Lyon for midfielder Tanguy Ndombele. The fee was a club record and one that many supporters regret was ever paid. Ndombele started well under former Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino. His performances soon dipped and with the arrival of manager Jose Mourinho partway through the campaign, Ndombele’s play continued to decline.
He appeared in just 29 games in all competitions scoring twice and assisting four goals. Just three times in the league did Ndombele play a full 90-minute match. Mourino regularly called Ndombele out for his poor play and lack of fitness. He missed four league games through injury. The midfielder, who earns £200,000-a-week, did not appear in any of Spurs’ last four league games. Mourinho didn’t even select him for the team’s bench for the final three fixtures.
Alexandre Lacazette – Arsenal; £9,467,273 per season
Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette makes over £182,000-a-week at the Emirates. It is a far cry from the salary earned by teammate Mesut Ozil, especially when considering Lacazette plays more often and scores more goals.
The Frenchman is paid slightly more than fellow forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, a player that, like Lacazette, is nearing the end of his contract. It is likely that the Gunners will part ways with Lacazette before his contract expires while giving Aubameyang a new deal that puts him very high on list of highest-paid footballers in the UK.
N'Golo Kanté & Kepa Arrizabalaga are arriving right after Lacazette with more than 9M£ a year…
Summary of the top paid players in EPL for 2020:
- David De Gea – Manchester United; £19,500,000 per season
- Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City; £18,200,000 per season
- Mesut Ozil – Arsenal; £18,200,000 per season
- Raheem Sterling – Manchester City; £15,600,000 per season
- Paul Pogba – Manchester United; £15,080,000 per season
- Anthony Martial – Manchester United; £13,000,000 per season
- Sergio Aguero – Manchester City; £11,967,000 per season
- Mohamed Salah – Liverpool; £10,400,000 per season
- Marcus Rashford – Manchester United; £10,400,00 per season
- Harry Kane – Tottenham Hotspur; £10,400,000 per season
- Tanguy Ndombele – Tottenham Hotspur; £10,400,000 per season
- Alexandre Lacazette – Arsenal; £9,467,273 per season