Comparing every Premier League squad’s cost to its league position: Chelsea & Man Utd biggest underachievers…

Manchester United and Chelsea are the Premier League’s biggest underachievers when you compare how much their squads cost to their position so far in the 2023-24 season.

Erik ten Hag’s squad was built for just short of £1billion, making it the most expensively assembled in world football.

The Dutch coach has had a major headache this season, with a number of their most expensive signings either injured or unavailable, but even in those circumstances they’d have been expected to be doing better, given their outlay. The Red Devils have endured their worst-ever start to a Premier League season, although they have turned things around somewhat in recent weeks to move up to sixth in the table.

Chelsea’s squad is the second most expensively assembled and whilst there are encouraging signs from their recent performances against Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City, they find themselves in the bottom half the table.

At the other end of the scale, Brighton continue to punch well above their weight to remain in contention for a Champions League place. Their form hasn’t been stellar of late, but being in the top half is an excellent return for a squad that was built for less than £200million.

Brentford, Liverpool, Aston Villa and even Luton are among the other sides doing better than ought to be expected relative to the resources at their disposal, while Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest would hope to be doing better given their transfer outlay – paltry as it might be compared to the European giants.

Newcastle United, sitting 7th, are performing to par – alongside Wolves and Fulham, while Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Sheffield United, Tottenham and West Ham are all more-or-less where they might expect to be.

We’ve put Everton where they currently stand in the official table – 19th, following their 10-point penalty – but in terms of points accrued they’re not a million miles off the midtable position that their spending ought to relate to.

Here’s how the comparison stacks up in full. All squad cost figures come via CIES Football Observatory.


League Position: 8th

Squad cost: 16th

Total squad cost:  £194million

Difference: +8


League Position: 11th

Squad cost: 17th

Total squad cost: £188million

Difference: +6


League Position: 2nd

Squad cost: 6th

Total squad cost:  £664million

Difference: +4

Aston Villa

League Position: 5th

Squad cost: 9th

Total squad cost: £419million

Difference: +4


League Position: 17th

Squad cost: 20th

Total squad cost: £50million (estimated – via The Mirror)

Difference: +3

Manchester City

League Position: 1st

Squad cost: 3rd

Total squad cost: £899million

Difference: +2


League Position: 3rd

Squad cost: 4th

Total squad cost: £721million

Difference: +1


League Position: 4th

Squad cost: 5th

Total squad cost: £715million

Difference: +1

Crystal Palace

League Position: 13th

Squad cost: 14th

Total squad cost:  £236million

Difference: +1

Sheffield United

League Position: 18th

Squad cost: 19th

Total squad cost: £128million

Difference: +1

Newcastle United

League Position: 7th

Squad cost: 7th

Total squad cost: £570million

Difference: =


League Position: 12th

Squad cost: 12th

Total squad cost: £313million

Difference: =


League Position: 15th

Squad cost: 15th

Total squad cost: £211million

Difference: =

West Ham United

League Position: 9th

Squad cost: 8th

Total squad cost: £435million

Difference: -1


League Position: 20th

Squad cost: 18th

Total squad cost: £180million

Difference: -2

Nottingham Forest

League Position: 14th

Squad cost: 11th

Total squad cost:  £314million

Difference: -3


League Position: 16th

Squad cost: 13th

Total squad cost: £296million

Difference: -3

Manchester United

League Position: 6th

Squad cost: 1st

Total squad cost:  £992million

Difference: -5


League Position: 10th

Squad cost: 2nd

Total squad cost: £978million

Difference: -8


League Position: 19th [would be 14th if not for points deduction]

Squad cost: 10th

Total squad cost: £360million

Difference: -9

READ NEXT: Ranking every Premier League club by their wage bill in 2023-24: Arsenal above Liverpool…

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