Manchester United came bottom of the league for points won per pound spent on players’ wages, according to analysis by sports finance experts.
The Red Devils had the second highest wage bill in the Premier League, at £221million, equating to £3.2million in player wages for each of the 69 points Jose Mourinho’s men gathered.
It was the highest wage per point spend in the league, finishing just below Manchester City, at £2.9million per point, followed by relegated Sunderland, with £2.8million.
Academics at the University of Salford’s Centre for Sports Business, who researched the figures, say once again a club’s wage bill remains the best indicator of finishing positions – with those spending the most finishing higher.
But, in an alternative league table of wages spent per points gained, Bournemouth and Hull came top with just £700,000 of wages spent – with Manchester United bottom.
Overall top spenders were Manchester City, with a wage bill of £225million – just £4million more than Manchester United – followed by eventual champions Chelsea on £218million.
Spurs finished second in the league, spending £121million on wages – around £100million less than the clubs around them.
Arsenal spent £200million and Liverpool £166million before a big drop to the ‘second tier’ of clubs, led by Everton with £83million.
Chris Brady, director of the Centre for Sports Business at the university, said: “While tiny margins can affect the final league positions of EPL teams, the reality is the EPL is effectively three mini-leagues, by wage bill – the top six, the middle seven and the bottom seven.
“Only two clubs, Sunderland and Bournemouth, for entirely different reasons, managed to finish outside of their mini-league.
“Sunderland finished 10 places below that of their expected position by wage bill; Bournemouth finished eight places above their predicted position.”
The team at Salford University found that when ranking managers/head coaches by their ability to finish above their wage position, Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe (plus eight), Southampton’s Claude Puel (plus five), Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino (plus four) and Burnley’s Sean Dyche (plus three) were the top four performers.
The worst performer was David Moyes’ Sunderland (with a minus-10 finish). Other poor showings were departing Watford manager Walter Mazzarri, who took the Hornets from a plus-six position in week 25 to a minus-one position at the finish, Stoke’s Mark Hughes (minus four) and Manchester United’s Jose Mourinho (minus four).