Best Performing Clubs relative to Budget
How Did You Get Here
In football money often talks, so success on the pitch is almost invariably reserved for clubs that have spent the most on wages and transfer fees. Better players usually cost more money, so clubs that invest more in their squad tend to finish higher in the league.
However, there are a few exceptions to the rule, so it might be interesting to see which clubs have performed the best (and indeed worst) relative to their budget.
This analysis will therefore look at how teams in the Premier League in 2022/23 performed relative to their financials.
Right off the bat it’s worth noting that this is not an exact science, but just a bit of fun, as there are quite a few caveats to an analysis of this type.
First, we have used the financial figures from the most recent published accounts, i.e. from 2010/22, so these are a year out of date. For example, this means that the high investment this season by Newcastle United and (especially) Chelsea will not be reflected.
Moreover, the last figures available for the three promoted clubs (Bournemouth, Fulham and Nottingham Forest) are from the Championship, so are obviously under-stated.
In addition, wage bills are for all staff, so include administration, commercial, stewards, etc, as opposed to just the playing squad.
Furthermore, player contracts are often highly incentivised, so wages at more successful clubs will be inflated by high bonus payments. This applies at both ends of the table, e.g. bonuses for Champions League qualification and bonuses for staying up.
In an attempt to be as objective as possible, we have looked at four different elements to see if that makes any difference to the results:
Wages + player amortisation
For each of these elements, we have reviewed clubs’ performance in three ways:
Per point in the league
Per league position
League position vs. financial position
This sort of analysis also “penalises” the leading clubs to some extent, as their wage bills are so much higher than the rest of the league, so we have therefore expanded the review to show separate rankings for:
Big Six clubs: Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.
Other Premier League clubs (excluding the promoted clubs, as their figures are significantly distorted).
Okay, that’s enough caveats, let’s look at some numbers, starting with wages.