Premier League Pay Per Minute - The Biggest Earners and More

Updated: 1281 Football

Premier League Pay Per Minute - The Biggest Earners and More
Dan Tracey Data Scientist and Football Editor

Writer, analyst, podcaster, Spurs fan. Three out of four is not bad. If there is a data angle, I will find it.

When in football circles, the topic of value for money is one that often comes to the forefront and although there are many different ways to measure value, it can be a rather subjective topic at even the best of times.

For example, a Premier League striker can only really be measured in terms of value, by the goals he scores or an attacking midfielder by the number of assists he creates for his teammates. However, these two calculations are very much on output alone and therefore, they may penalise a defender or goalkeeper.

🏈⚽️ In football, measuring value for money can be subjective, but by analyzing player salaries and playing time, we can get a better gauge. A new metric reveals how much players were paid for each Premier League minute played. Stay tuned for the analysis! 🔢💰📊

Because for positions further back down the playing field, it is more about what you stop from happening rather than what you achieve and with some of their actions being unquantifiable due to good positioning, the measure of value can be difficult to obtain.

Thankfully, we have now created a metric that is far more universal and after another deep dive of data, we can establish how much a player has been paid this season for every Premier League minute that they have played.

Whether the salary is eye-watering or a mere pittance in comparison, we can combine wage and playing data to get a better gauge of value and with the numbers now crunched, here is what we can offer in terms of analysis.

Minutes and wage data are correct as of June 1st 2023

THE BIGGEST EARNERS

To get an idea of the data we are working with, we can first look at the 10 highest earners in our data sample.

Club Player Annual Salary Salary Season Salary Min Earnings Per Minute
Manchester City Kevin De Bruyne £20,800,000 £400,000 £15,200,000 2,417 £6,288.79
Manchester City Erling Haaland £19,500,000 £375,000 £14,250,000 2,769 £5,146.26
Manchester United David de Gea £19,500,000 £375,000 £14,250,000 3,420 £4,166.67
Manchester United Jadon Sancho £18,200,000 £350,000 £13,300,000 1,686 £7,888.49
Manchester United Casemiro £18,200,000 £350,000 £13,300,000 2,124 £6,261.77
Liverpool Mohamed Salah £18,200,000 £350,000 £13,300,000 3,290 £4,042.55
Manchester United Raphaël Varane £17,680,000 £340,000 £12,920,000 1,911 £6,760.86
Chelsea Raheem Sterling £16,900,000 £325,000 £12,350,000 1,891 £6,530.94
Manchester City Jack Grealish £15,600,000 £300,000 £11,400,000 2,055 £5,547.45
Chelsea Kalidou Koulibaly £15,340,000 £295,000 £11,210,000 1,800 £6,227.78
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💰💫 De Bruyne earned £15.2m for the season, with his wages of £400k/week worth it for Manchester City's success. On a per minute basis, he earned £6,288.79, while Haaland earned £5,146.26. The top 10 highest earners include players from City, United, Chelsea, and Liverpool, with Salah leading the way at Anfield. ⚽️🔝

When it comes to earnings across the length of the 2022/23 season, it is Kevin De Bruyne who tops the pile – it was Cristiano Ronaldo at the start of the campaign but after moving to Saudi Arabia last December, the Portuguese icon has been omitted from the list.

De Bruyne earns £400k a week and amassed no less than £15.2m across the season as a whole. Although you would have to say that it was worth every penny, as the Belgian played a considerable part in Manchester City’s treble winning success.

When looking at this from a per minute perspective, the Manchester City midfielder earned £6,288.79 in the season past and his teammate and second-highest earning in the Premier League Erling Haaland earned £5,146.26 by comparison. 

The top 10 comprises players from four clubs, the aforementioned City, their Manchester rivals United, Chelsea and Liverpool. The latter have just a single representative when it comes to top earners and the man earning the big bucks at Anfield is none other than Mohamed Salah.

Image: Kevin Walsh from Preston Brook, England/Wikimedia Commons

The Egyptian king earned £13.3m across the 2022/23 Premier League season and with no less than 3,290 minutes under his belt, he would go on to earn £4,042.55 for each one played. By comparison the biggest earners of Manchester United and Chelsea offered less in terms of value.

Top of the earning shop at Old Trafford was David De Gea, as the Spanish goalkeeper earned £14.25m last season. While the shot stopper was afforded 3,420 minutes between the sticks and this was worth £4,166,67.

As for Chelsea, their largest outlay was towards Raheem Sterling. At £325k a week, this equates to £12.35m across the whole Premier League season and with just 1,891 minutes played – not a lot for such a big earner, it actually cost the Stamford Bridge outfit £6,530.94 per 60 seconds.

THE MERSEYSIDE MEN

With Liverpool missing out on Champions League football for 23/24, there have been criticisms that the board are not spending enough when it comes to player personnel. Whether that is true or not can be argued but we can at least look at the earnings per minute in more detail.

Club Player Annual Salary Salary Season Salary Min Earnings Per Minute
Liverpool Mohamed Salah £18,200,000 £350,000 £13,300,000 3,290 £4,042.55
Liverpool Virgil van Dijk £11,440,000 £220,000 £8,360,000 2,835 £2,948.85
Liverpool Thiago Alcántara £10,400,000 £200,000 £7,600,000 1,254 £6,060.61
Liverpool Roberto Firmino £9,360,000 £180,000 £6,840,000 1,213 £5,638.91
Liverpool Fabinho £9,360,000 £180,000 £6,840,000 2,671 £2,560.84
Liverpool Trent Alexander-Arnold £9,360,000 £180,000 £6,840,000 2,923 £2,340.06
Liverpool Alisson £7,800,000 £150,000 £5,700,000 3,330 £1,711.71
Liverpool Diogo Jota £7,280,000 £140,000 £5,320,000 1,131 £4,703.80
Liverpool Darwin Núñez £7,280,000 £140,000 £5,320,000 1,695 £3,138.64
Liverpool Jordan Henderson £7,280,000 £140,000 £5,320,000 2,074 £2,565.09
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As you can see there is quite a step change from Mohamed Salah to Virgil van Dijk and with the Dutch defender earning 130k less per week, you would imagine that the former Southampton player offers more in the way of per minute value.

Something that is confirmed when looking at £8.36m that was earned across 2,835 minutes. £2,948.85 is what it cost for van Dijk to play 60 seconds of Premier League, more than £1,000 cheaper than that of Salah,

While Thiago Alcantara’s injuries throughout the season have certainly made him rather expensive for per-minute payments. The Spanish midfielder earns £200k a week but only played 1,254 minutes and this means each of those cost just over £6,000. 

THE TOTTENHAM DUO

💰🔥 Despite talks about Harry Kane's future, his £200k/week salary is well deserved. The England captain earned £7.6m last season and played 3,405 minutes. With earnings of £2,232.01 per minute and almost winning the Golden Boot, he's great value. Son, his partner-in-attack, also offers decent value at £2,500 per minute. ⚽️💪

While another strike duo that often comes into focus is that of Harry Kane and Heung Min-Son and with these two being the two highest earners at Tottenham, we can see how they compare in terms of their pay-per-minute value.

Club Player Annual Salary Salary Season Salary Min Earnings Per Minute
Tottenham Harry Kane £10,400,000 £200,000 £7,600,000 3,405 £2,232.01
Tottenham Son Heung-min £9,880,000 £190,000 £7,220,000 2,888 £2,500.00
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Although there has been talk about Harry Kane’s future in North London, you cannot say he does not earn every penny of that £200k a week salary. The England captain earned £7.6m last season and played no less than 3,405 minutes.

Add the fact that if it were not for Erling Haaland, Kane would have won last season’s Premier League Golden Boot and when you consider that his earnings are just £2,232.01 a minute, you would have to say that is exceedingly good value.

The same could also be said for his attacking cohort Hueng min-Son and although the South Korean misfired by his own lofty standards, he was still considered decent value when it comes to his earnings per minute. £2,500 exactly and just £267.99 more than his teammate Kane.

Harry Kane in tottenham shirt taking a shot

GOOD BECOMES BAD

Of course, wherever there is good value, there must always be bad, and with the same logic as above, we can now highlight those that must be considered as the latter. With that in mind, here are the top 10 highest pay-per-minute earners (players who have been on the books of their parent club all season)

Club Player Annual Salary Salary Season Salary Min Earnings Per Minute
Newcastle Emil Krafth £2,860,000 £55,000 £2,090,000 1 £2,090,000.00
Newcastle Jamal Lewis £1,976,000 £38,000 £1,444,000 11 £131,272.73
Fulham Shane Duffy £2,080,000 £40,000 £1,520,000 20 £76,000.00
Nottingham Forest Cafú £520,000 £10,000 £380,000 7 £54,285.71
Nottingham Forest Giulian Biancone £1,040,000 £20,000 £760,000 17 £44,705.88
Newcastle Matt Ritchie £2,340,000 £45,000 £1,710,000 39 £43,846.15
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In the interest of fairness, there will be some caveats when it comes to injuries and therefore, we must apply an element of context when looking at the table sitting just above. Spare a thought for Emil Krafth who played just one minute of Premier League football last season.

The Swedish defender's season would end abruptly after damaging his cruciate ligament in August of last year. One that would also see him collect £2.09m across the course of the campaign and if you are only playing a single minute, then it easy do the maths.

While Newcastle have three players who make the top six in terms of earnings per minute., Jamal Lewis only managed 11 minutes, which costs the Magpies just over £131k for the privilege. Matt Ritchie played 39 for the Tyneside outfit, and it cost £43k by comparison. 

Also in the top six is Shane Duffy, the Republic of Ireland international who played just 20 minutes for Fulham last season and each one of those cost £76k. A touch more expensive than Nottingham Forest’s defensive pair below.

With so many personnel coming in and out of the City Ground, this insight is not the biggest surprise but still interesting all the same. Cafu played just seven minutes and each one cost just over £54k, his teammate Giulian Biancone played 10 more and these cost £10k less. 

MINUTE FOR MINUTE

After looking at the highest earners in the Premier League and those players who can be considered as bad value, we can also look at those players who earn the least per minute and with the same logic once again, here are the true bargains. 

💰⚡️ Gavin Bazunu offers the best value at £263 per minute, but Brighton sets the gold standard with 4 players in the top 10 most efficient. Despite their success, holding onto their stars like Moises Caicedo may be a challenge. Evan Ferguson and Kaoru Mitoma have been breakout names at just £120 and £163.93 per minute, respectively. 🎉🦅

Club Player Annual Salary Salary Season Salary Min Earnings Per Minute
Southampton Gavin Bazunu £1,040,000 £20,000 £760,000 2,880 £263.89
Brentford Ivan Toney £1,040,000 £20,000 £760,000 2,951 £257.54
Nottingham Forest Joe Worrall £780,000 £15,000 £570,000 2,224 £256.29
Brentford Ethan Pinnock £780,000 £15,000 £570,000 2,700 £211.11
Bournemouth Jordan Zemura £416,000 £8,000 £304,000 1,454 £209.08
Wolves Toti Gomes £260,000 £5,000 £190,000 984 £193.09
Brighton Moisés Caicedo £780,000 £15,000 £570,000 3,139 £181.59
Wolves Max Kilman £780,000 £15,000 £570,000 3,307 £172.36
Brighton Kaoru Mitoma £520,000 £10,000 £380,000 2,318 £163.93
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Although Gavin Bazunu offers the best value of all at just £263 a minute for his 2,880, the gold standard is surely set by Brighton. The Seagulls have no fewer than four players in the top 10 list of most efficient.

Not only have Roberto De Zerbi’s booked their first-ever ticket to European football, but they have done so with not a great deal of expenditure. The big question though is whether they can keep hold of their biggest names.

With Moises Caicedo reportedly being linked with a move to Chelsea, the Ecuadorian midfielder could again link up with defender Levi Colwill at Stamford Bridge. Colwill was only on loan at The AMEX and after such an impressive showing, a second borrowing by Brighton looks unlikely.

However, manager De Zerbi does look likely to keep hold of forward Evan Ferguson and at just £120 a minute, the Irish forward has certainly been one of the breakout names of the 2022/23 Premier League season.

An honour that is also bestowed on his teammate Kaoru Mitoma. The Japanese international has been a sensation in East Sussex and a sensation that has only cost club owner Tony Bloom £163.93 per minute.

THE NEW KIDS

With the 2022/23 season now complete, we can look at some of the biggest summer arrivals and how they fared for their clubs. Who were good value for money and who were the big flops? 

Club Player Annual Salary Salary Season Salary Min Earnings Per Minute
Chelsea Kalidou Koulibaly £15,340,000 £295,000 £11,210,000 1,800 £6,227.78
Manchester City Erling Haaland £19,500,000 £375,000 £14,250,000 2,769 £5,146.26
Arsenal Gabriel Jesus £13,780,000 £265,000 £10,070,000 2,064 £4,878.88
Tottenham Ivan Perišić £9,360,000 £180,000 £6,840,000 2,108 £3,244.78
Liverpool Darwin Núñez £7,280,000 £140,000 £5,320,000 1,695 £3,138.64
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When looking at flops you would have to say that Kalidou Koulibaly is one of, if not the biggest. Much hyped in Serie A for years, there was a buzz of excitement when he made the move to Chelsea.

He may have played 1,800 minutes across the season, but whether they were of any quality is a serious talking point. It cost the Stamford Bridge outfit more than £6,000 a minute to play the Senegalese defender, it is no surprise that they have now cashed in and sold him to Al Hilal. 

Koulibaly’s £6,227.78 per minute earned is £1,100 more than Erling Haaland. Even if you doubled the Norwegian’s earnings per 60 seconds, there could still be no question as to what fantastic value he has been at the Etihad.

The same cannot be said about the man who made way for him and subsequently moved to Arsenal. Gabriel Jesus’ season was somewhat stop-start because of injury but he still managed more than 2,000 Premier League minutes and each of those cost just under £5,000.

Across North London Tottenham’s Ivan Perisic was bought in under previous manager Antonio Conte. His experience was meant to keep Spurs in the top four but unfortunately, his 2,108 minutes failed to live up to expectations and each of these cost £3,244.78.

In terms of expectations, it is also fair to say that Darwin Nunez has not quite achieved what was hoped at Liverpool. The Uruguayan forward earned £5.32m last season and played just 1,695 minutes. A cost of £3,138,64 and manager Jurgen Klopp will hope more is to come in 2023/24.

Methodology

Step 1: We take each of the individual weekly salaries that have been captured from fbref.com 

Step 2: We then multiple their weekly salary into what would be their annual earnings (52 weeks of the year)

Step 3: We then divide their annual salary by 38 – the value of weeks in their annual salary at this stage

Step 4: Divide this value by minutes played. This then gives us the pay-per-minute played value

Salary and Player data: https://fbref.com/en/comps/9/Premier-League-Stats

Meet The Author

Researched and written by Dan Tracey ahead of Publishing by Steve Madgwick

Dan Tracey is a multi-talented writer, data analyst and podcaster whose six-year career in the sports data sphere has seen incredible successes. From helping UEFA create their annual technical reports to writing articles for Sports Betting Websites including sites like TheLinesUS and Goal - there's no shortage of areas where his expertise shines through! In addition he can be heard on podcasts lending an insightful voice as well as providing weekly betting angles - all culminating with him teaming up OLBG.com in the present day. Simply put: wherever you find angled data being crunched? You'll also likely find Dan not far behind!

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