01172018

Leicester have the best value squad in the Premier League after spending just £705,000 on wages per point this season

Leicester City have just been edged from the top of the Premier League table on goal difference by Arsenal but Claudio Ranieri’s expectation-busting Foxes remain No 1 for value this season.

No other club in England’s top flight is spending fewer pounds per point on wages than Leicester, according to a Sportsmail analysis.

The Midlands club have spent just over £700,000 per point so far, or less than one seventh of the cost laid out per point of Chelsea, where high wages and poor returns mean each point has cost around £5million so far.

Jamie Vardy has helped Leicester to second in the Premier League but they are No 1 when it comes to value

Jamie Vardy has helped Leicester to second in the Premier League but they are No 1 when it comes to value

Eden Hazard (left) and Diego Costa (right) both earn substantial wages but have underperformed for Chelsea

Eden Hazard (left) and Diego Costa (right) both earn substantial wages but have underperformed for Chelsea

Watford (£862,000 a point), Crystal Palace (£968,000), Bournemouth (£1.13m) and Stoke (£1.2m) join Leicester in the top five of ‘points per pound’ clubs, while Aston Villa (£4.4m) – after their shocking start – as well as high-spending Manchester United (£3.7m), ailing Sunderland (£3.1m) and inconsistent Manchester City (£3m) are in the bottom five for value.

The cost per point for every Premier League team is in the table above and the methodology is straightforward.

First we assess each club’s total wage expenditure so far this season, on a pro rata basis per league game, or in other words, work out half of each club’s seasonal wage spend, given that all but two clubs have now reached 19 games.

Nobody yet knows the final wage bills for this season, so guesstimates based on previous seasons and known trends according to latest accounts are used. Even clubs themselves won’t know their final totals yet, because they may sign or sell players in January, and bonus payments (or lack of them) will still alter final amounts to greater or lesser degrees.

Yohan Cabaye (left) and his Crystal Palace team-mates sit third on Sportsmail's value table for this season

Yohan Cabaye (left) and his Crystal Palace team-mates sit third on Sportsmail’s value table for this season

Odion Ighalo celebrates after scoring against Tottenham
Arsenal sit top of the Premier League table but are 13th in the value table

Watford striker Odion Ighalo (left) has helped Watford to eighth place in the Premier League table this season

Eddie Howe and Bournemouth have spent £1.13m on wages for each of the 20 points they have earned

Eddie Howe and Bournemouth have spent £1.13m on wages for each of the 20 points they have earned

Having said that, we already know for certain that the four biggest wage spenders will be the two Manchester clubs, Chelsea and Arsenal (all now around the £200m-per-season level, give or take), with Liverpool then Tottenham in their wake. At the other end, Bournemouth, Watford and Leicester will all be among the lowest spenders.

Leicester’s estimated £55m bill for this season therefore equates to £27.5m at this half-way stage, for 39 points, at £705,128 per point. All the other clubs’ spending has been calculated using the same method.

What does this all tell us? Firstly it confirms that Leicester are punching well above their weight as things stand, and Chelsea are giving Roman Abramovich terrible value for his money in 2015-16.

Similarly Watford, Palace and Bournemouth are doing well, given their relatively small resources. Villa and Sunderland by contrast are doing badly in more than one sense.

Jordan Veretout (L) and Jordan Ayew (R) appear frustrated during Aston Villa's defeat by Norwich on Monday

Jordan Veretout (L) and Jordan Ayew (R) appear frustrated during Aston Villa’s defeat by Norwich on Monday

Manchester United are 18th in the value table after spending big on wages for the likes of Wayne Rooney (L)

Manchester United are 18th in the value table after spending big on wages for the likes of Wayne Rooney (L)

But this analysis also reaffirms to an that money still talks to a large extent. Four of the biggest six total wage spenders (Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham and Manchester United) are in the current top six despite the topsy-turvy season, while another of those big-spending six, Liverpool, are within a win of the top six. 

Chelsea’s aberration of a season is almost certainly just that, and we would still expect them to finish in the top half, if not higher.

But nonetheless, for now, it is worth celebrating that, sometimes, the smaller clubs can outperform their resources by being resourceful in non-financial ways, whether in recruitment or training, or strategically, tactically or via brilliant man-management.

 

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