Astronomical transfer fees and wages in elite football has been an issue for a long time and, while they are fed to some degree by the massive sums of money flowing into the highest level of the sport, the playing field is far from level. As new analysis by Deloitte reveals, Premier League revenue machines Manchester United and Manchester City had wage costs equal to 56 and 59 percent of their income in 2018/19, respectively. For Champions League holders Liverpool this figure is 58 percent while the notoriously frugal Tottenham Hotspur have the figure as low as 39 percent.
For the clubs trying to compete with the top teams though, the revenue simply isn't there to build and sustain a top quality squad in the current climate. Bournemouth and Everton, two clubs with big ambitions in recent years are lumbered with wage bills set at 85 percent of their revenue. As the current season gets underway again on 17 June, Everton pick things up in 12th position and Bournemouth are fighting for premiership survival in 18th.
That's not to say it can't be done, at least for a short period. Leicester famously became champions in 2015/16 as massive outsiders and with a considerably smaller budget than the main contenders. A look at their wage/revenue ratio though reveals how much they are pushing the financial limits to remain as close as they can to the impossible highs of that glorious season.