Man United have overpaid on new signings by a whopping £210m over the past decade – more than any other big club in Europe – with Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Aston Villa and Real Madrid also affected by the inflated transfer market.
- A study by the CIES Football Observatory shows how leading European clubs are paying more than the odds of star players in a bloated transfer market.
- Man United spent £1.4 billion on 33 players, with a real value of around £1.2 billion
- Old Trafford signed the likes of Paul Pogba, Anthony and Harry Maguire
- Juventus have also paid around £208m in salary and £142m over PSG since 2012.
- The English Premier League clubs occupy a prominent position in the top 20 in the standings
- Atlético de Madrid, Barcelona and Wolves made the biggest gains in terms of value
Manchester United have paid £210m more than the true market value of new signings over the past decade – more than any other club in Europe’s top five leagues.
Old Trafford has spent a total of £1.4 billion on 33 players since 2012 when their combined value was £1.19 billion, according to a study by CIES Football Observatory.
Their signatures include the £89m buyout of Paul Pogba, then a world record fee, £85m spent on Anthony this summer and £80m to buy Harry Maguire.
Manchester United – who broke the world transfer record to buy Paul Pogba for £89m in 2016 – have paid £210m on the players’ real market value since 2012.
The £85m Brazilian winger Anthony has been the latest big money addition to Old Trafford
Jadon Sancho, Romelu Lukaku, Angel Di Maria, Casemiro, Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial, Fred and Lisandro Martinez cost United more than £50 million during that time period.
The research also found that Juventus paid £208m on 36 new players and PSG paid £142m on 31 players.
In a sign that the club sale is inflating transfer fees for Premier League buyers, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton also appeared in the top ten.
Villa, who has racked up the likes of Emiliano Buendia, Ole Watkins and Leon Bailey in recent years, earned a £130m payout on what CIES calculated as the true value of the signed players.
Juventus, who paid £100m for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018, have paid close to £208m
Paris Saint-Germain, who broke the transfer record by signing Neymar for £198m, was found to have spent £142m more than market value over the past decade.
|classification||club||Transfer Fee Charged (in GBP)||Real market value (GBP)||Overspending||players|
|1||Manchester United||1.4 billion||1.19 billion||210 m||33|
|3||Paris Saint-Germain||886 AD||744m||142 m||31|
|4||Aston Villa||506 AD||376m||130 m||44|
|5||Real Madrid||730 AD||601 m||129 m||19|
|6||Chelsea||1.16 billion||1.04 billion||120 m||36|
|7||Arsenal||860 m||746m||114 AD||33|
|9||Everton||655m||570 m||85 m||29|
|10||Borussia Dortmund||482 m||415 AD||67m||28|
|Source: CIES Football Observatory|
Chelsea ranked sixth, just behind Real Madrid, having spent £1.16 billion on 36 contracts that were worth more accurately £1.04 billion, which appears to have crossed £120 million.
Among them is a £97.5m deal for Romelu Lukaku in 2021, only to see the Belgian forward return on loan to Inter Milan a year later, as well as the likes of Wesley Fofana, Kai Havertz and Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Arsenal, just below Chelsea, has been found to have spent £114m on 33 players since 2012, with Everton’s spending increasing market estimates by £85m.
Chelsea spent nearly £100m on Romelu Lukaku but dumped him after just one season
Aston Villa, who have signed with the likes of Emiliano Buendia in recent years, ranked high
Newcastle United, Leicester, Southampton, Liverpool and West Ham also feature in the top 20, while other Premier League teams are not far behind.
By contrast, Atletico Madrid and Barcelona ranked the best in smart signings that are below the actual market value, while Wolverhampton came out better than the Premier League clubs.
Atletico, who ranked first among all clubs in Europe’s top five leagues, spent £520m on new signings over the decade when their real market value was £592m.
Meanwhile, Barcelona have spent £1.29 billion on the players, but they have a combined market value of £1.32 billion.
Wolves have made a gain of over £18m when comparing transfer fees and actual market value.
CIES excluded statements signed through triggering buy-out clauses or option-to-buy, with market values assessed by their own scientific methods.