Premier League footballers are paid an astronomical amount of money to do their jobs – even people with no interest in the sport are aware of that.
It is only natural to read about the six-figure earnings footballers take home on a weekly basis with immense envy, anger, awe or a combination of all three. However, in truth, these young men are simply being compensated for fulfilling their role in a business that produces billions and billions of dollars each year. With that being said, player wages are a mere fraction of the figures related to broadcast rights, sponsorship deals and stadium construction.
But in the eyes of football fans, none of that means anything when a player at their club is failing to pull their weight in relation to how much they earn. There are few things more infuriating than watching a striker – who scores goals for a living – continuously blunder clear-cut chances because the ball fell to his weaker foot. Whether the ball hit the back of the net or not, most Premier League strikers will have the lifetime earnings of an average person deposited into their bank account each and every week.
Clubs usually have some form of scale to ensure the most influential and important players receive the biggest financial rewards, leaving the back-up brigade to settle for sometimes as little as a quarter of the top earners. Irrespective of where an individual ranks compared to other pay packets in the dressing room, footballers must justify their earnings or risk giving the fans a reason to get on their back. Here is the most overpaid player at each Premier League club.
20 Arsenal | Theo Walcott
It is hard to justify why Theo Walcott pockets £140,000-per-week as per the four-year contract he signed with the Gunners last summer. Perhaps the Arsenal hierarchy saw fit to offer Walcott such a lucrative deal based on the player they hoped he would develop into – but the Arsenal forward has never truly reached the heights expected of him since he moved to north London from Southampton as a teenager in 2006.
19 Aston Villa | Charles N’Zogbia
One could argue no Aston Villa player deserves their salary this season, but if £65,000-per-week is considered just compensation for the services of Charles N’Zogbia, something is seriously wrong with football. The former France international has been lambasted for his pathetic attitude and forced to train with the Under 21s on numerous occasions despite being one of the top earners at Villa Park. N’Zogbia has six months remaining on his current deal and many supporters will be glad to see the back of him.
18 Bournemouth | Sylvain Distin
It is part and parcel of football to make a marquee signing the highest paid player in the squad. However, coughing up £40,000-per-week for a 37-year-old defender is simply ludicrous. Sylvain Distin’s release from Everton seemingly marked the end of his time as a handsomely rewarded Premier League footballer. Now, however, he earns more money than any Bournemouth player in history under the terms of the contract he penned last June.
17 Chelsea | Radamel Falcao
Chelsea have wasted a fortune on sub-par players over the last decade or so, but few compare to the debacle of a loan signing Radamel Falcao proved to be. The Colombian takes home £140,000-per-week for doing little more than turn up to training and warming the bench on match days. Somehow Falcao's miserable spell at Manchester United failed to deter Chelsea from acquiring him – and it is fair to say they have paid the price financially and on the pitch.
16 Crystal Palace | Emmanuel Adebayor
Goalscorers are the most expensive players in football and Emmanuel Adebayor certainly lives up to that concept. Following his release from Tottenham Hotspur in September 2015, the former Togo international was thrown a lifeline by Crystal Palace during the January transfer period – a lifeline worth £65,000-per-week. The 32-year-old has not yet reimbursed the Eagles for their investment, scoring just a single Premier League goal in 512 minutes.
15 Everton | Kevin Mirallas
There was a time not so long ago when Kevin Mirallas gave the impression he would be a key man at Everton for the foreseeable future, a prediction reflected by his £70,000-per-week contract. The Belgian has suffered a harrowing dip in form that could prove a terminal blow to his career at Goodison Park – not to mention the likelihood of him earning a similar wage should he move on. With the likes of Aaron Lennon, Gerard Deulofeu and Arouna Kone also vying for the right-wing berth, Mirallas is now little more than a squad player in desperate need of confidence to resurrect his flailing career.
14 Leicester City | Gokhan Inler
Football fans around the world are still pinching themselves with the prospect of Leicester clinching a fairytale Premier League only a matter of weeks away. Not one of Claudio Ranieri’s players has failed to pull their weight this season, though having Gokhan Inler sit on the bench while raking in £45,000-per-week makes for an odd situation. The Switzerland international simply cannot break into the first team purely because the Foxes have discovered a winning formula with a particular group of personnel.
13 Liverpool | Christian Benteke
Liverpool fans thought they had captured one of the deadliest strikers in the Premier League with the signing of Christian Benteke last summer. The Belgian, who has registered a modest seven league goals in 1279 minutes, arrived at Anfield promising to spearhead the Reds’ surge back to the upper echelons of English and continental football, but his £140,000-per-week contract has seemingly placed a weight of expectation too heavy to bear.
12 Manchester City | Wilfried Bony
Manchester City are often criticized for having more money than they know what to do with, and perhaps the sentiment rings true in the case of Wilfried Bony. The £100,000-per-week back-up striker is one of the most under-used players in Manuel Pellegrini’s squad despite his remarkable instincts in front of goal. Bony has spent 1,123 minutes on the pitch this season while scoring in just three Premier League games – a paltry return compared to his deadly numbers at Swansea.
11 Manchester United | Ashley Young
Ashley Young has to be admired for his willingness to put the team first and operate in almost any position – however, is his versatility really worth £110,000-per-week? Manchester United supporters would surely prefer to see that kind of money go towards a world-class signing rather than a former England international who is adept in numerous roles, yet elite in none. The Red Devils are due for a squad overhaul this summer and Young will likely be one of the first to go unless he agrees to take a significant pay cut.
10 Newcastle United | Fabricio Coloccini
Newcastle supporters have little to smile about this season – not least the growing concern their £60,000-per-week skipper Fabricio Coloccini is beginning to show his age at the highest level. The 34-year-old Argentine has long been a stalwart in the height of the Magpies’ defence, but due to a combination of his own mistakes as well as the team’s incompetencies as a whole, his now veteran status says more about his dwindling physical capacity than his experience.
9 Norwich City | Youssouf Mulumbu
A fractured metatarsal suffered during a preseason friendly ensured Youssouf Mulumbu did not get his Norwich career started on the front foot. The Congolese midfielder was signed from West Bromwich Albion on a £40,000-per-week deal to provide an imposing presence in the centre of the pitch. But with just seven Premier League appearances under his belt since his debut against Everton in October last year, Mulumbu has seen little action despite being the highest paid star at Carrow Road.
8 Southampton | Charlie Austin
Southampton fans were delighted to pick up Charlie Austin from Queens Park Rangers ahead of a queue of competing for his signature. English, hardworking and clinical in front of goal, the 26-year-old has all the makings of a fan favorite. However, having penned a £55,000-per-week contract with the Saints during the January transfer window, Austin has struggled to live up to his billing on the south coast, nor find the back of the net since scoring on his debut against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
7 Stoke City | Xherdan Shaqiri
Xherdan Shaqiri has at times produced displays befitting of a player who could drive Stoke from mid-table obscurity to the top end of the Premier League table. The ever-unpredictable winger is capable of winning games with a single piece of magic, but too often he has gone missing during the Potters’ most desperate times of need. For a star man earning more than anyone else at the club on £70,000-per-week, Shaqiri must be more consistent.
6 Sunderland | Wes Brown
There is no questioning the invaluable leadership and experience Wes Brown offers the Sunderland back line, but for a player whose career has been rocked by numerous injuries, £40,000-per-week is an extremely generous salary. The former England international has seen his side concede 15 goals throughout his six appearances in all competitions this season, including a 6-2 drubbing at the hands of Everton in November. Now 36-years-old and with little chance of regaining a first-team birth at the Stadium of Light, Brown will likely hang up his boots or move on next term.
5 Swansea City | Bafetimbi Gomis
Finding the net has been a serious concern for Swansea this term with just 34 strikes on the board in the Premier League so far. Signed as the number one striker and a reliable source of goals, Bafetimbi Gomis has endured a disappointing debut season following a four-game hot streak from the opening day. Raking in £55,000-per-week, the Frenchman has just six Premier League goals to show for his 1683 minutes of action.
4 Tottenham Hotspur | Erik Lamela
Erik Lamela has been far from a disappointment in the Spurs’ title-chasing season, but his lack of constancy certainly undercuts his ability to be a key member of the first team. The Argentine too often produces a head-turning performance one week only to follow it up with a notably quiet one the next. For a 24-year-old earning more than most of his older colleagues at £80,000-per-week, Lamela should be maintaining his form for months rather than a handful of weeks.
3 Watford | Nordin Amrabat
The January transfer period is a risky time to make signings – especially significant first-team acquisitions who chew up £45,000 of the weekly wage bill. Watford learnt this lesson the hard way by snapping up Nordin Amrabat from Malaga midway through the campaign. The Moroccan winger has made nine mediocre Premier League appearances and is yet to score his first goal for the Rams.
2 West Bromwich Albion | Saido Berahino
It is almost inevitable Saido Berahino will be on his way from West Brom during the summer, but not without losing a significant amount of respect in the eyes of football fans. The England striker, currently earning £15,000-per-week, has long been the subject of interest from Tottenham as they look to beef up their frontline and relieve the pressure of Harry Kane. Berahino is understandably tempted to further his career by moving to White Hart Lane, but he has done his reputation no favors by seemingly taking his foot off the gas while in a Baggies shirt this season.
1 West Ham United | Alex Song
Alex Song is the highest earning player and perhaps also the most ludicrously paid man to make this list thanks to his eye-watering £140,000-per-week salary. The on-loan Barcelona midfielder has made only 15 appearances for West Ham this season and has done little to remind the Catalan club why they bought him from Arsenal. The Hammers are flying high despite the Cameroonian’s underwhelming contribution, but they must surely endeavour to invest his colossal wages in more productive players next term.
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