Despite having spent far less on players than some of their competitors over the last five years, Manchester United’s net spend – amount spent on transfers less amount received from them – is the highest in the world.
United’s net spend is €608.44 million, around €43m more than second placed Chelsea.
Arsenal are third and, surprisingly, West Ham are fourth on €395.21m, higher than a lot of Europe’s big name clubs, including Paris Saint Germain, who come in fifth.
Even the likes of Fulham (15th) and Southampton (19th) have a higher net spend than Europe’s most successful club in recent years, Real Madrid (30th). Barcelona are 14th and Bayern Munich, 21st.
🤑 Five-year net spend table (18/19 – 22-23) 💶
1 | 🏴 𝗠𝗮𝗻 𝗨𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗲𝗱 🔻 -€608M
2 | 🏴 𝗖𝗵𝗲𝗹𝘀𝗲𝗮 🔻 -€566M
3 | 🏴 𝗔𝗿𝘀𝗲𝗻𝗮𝗹 🔻 -€489M
4 | 🏴 𝗪𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗛𝗮𝗺 🔻 -€395M
5 | 🇫🇷 𝗣𝗦𝗚 🔻 -€372M
— 433 (@433) January 16, 2023
When looking at spending alone, however, the table looks very different.
Chelsea top that table on €1.04 billion, followed by Juventus on €887m.
United sit third on €783m, just ahead of big guns Barcelona, Man City, PSG, Real Madrid and Arsenal.
The club’s issue compared to its rivals is clear from this statistic and relates to transfer income. United are an awful 51st in this regard, behind the likes of Bournemouth, Watford, Udinese and Genoa.
Overpaying for players, buying older players whose value quickly declines and being unable to bring on and get the best out of their stars can all be reasons for this negative value.
The Glazer era, which is hopefully soon to come to an end, especially when overseen by former executive vice chairman Ed Woodward, has seen a high turnover in managers and players with no clear recruitment strategy.
Compared to, say 1994-1999, where United’s transfer revenue was 18th in the world, and net spend 17th, it is easy to see the decline and the reason for it.
The Red Devils could look to the likes of Erik ten Hag’s former club Ajax, French clubs Lille, Lyon and Monaco and Portuguese clubs Benfica, Sporting and FC Porto to learn about buying low and selling high.
All of these have a net transfer income of over plus €160 million in the last 5 years, with Ajax topping the table with €300m.
Ironically, around half of that was contributed by United with the signing of Lisandro Martinez (€57.37m) and Antony (€95m).
All figures from transfermarkt.com
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