United are not even in the Champions League this season after David Moyes’ disastrous reign but the total value of their underperforming players suggests they should be at the very top of European football, not losing to MK Dons in the League Cup.
The Daily Mail has added up the combined transfer totals and worked out that United’s squad is the first ever to have cost in excess of £400 million - £401.2m to be precise.
And, according to the paper’s figures, their nearest challengers are local rivals Manchester City, who thanks to Sheikh Mansour’s huge investment since his takeover in 2008 have assembled a squad worth a total of £344.15m.
The two Manchester sides were fairly close in the spending stakes until United confirmed the signing of Angel Di Maria last week, with the Argentina star costing the club a British record £59.7m from Real Madrid.
Di Maria was the fourth big arrival at Old Trafford this summer, following £30m Luke Shaw, £28.8m Ander Herrera and £16m Marcos Rojo, as United exercised the financial muscle generated by their huge commercial, TV and matchday income to good effect.
United’s race to the top of the squad-value standings is no doubt a reflection of the fact that in recent years the academy graduates who cost nothing from their youth ranks have gradually retired, culminating with Ryan Giggs’ move into management this season, leaving the club relying on expensive imports.
Louis van Gaal with two of his summer signings: Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw
As our table below demonstrates, United have spent in excess of £10m on no less than 18 members of their current squad. (Transfer fees from 2012-13 season and before taken from Soccerbase)
And with Manchester City and Chelsea's summer transfer work believed to be basically done - bar a couple of comings and goings - on September 2, United could boast a squad which costs nearly £100m more than their Premier League rivals'.
The huge value of their squad only serves to further highlight their rank underperformance in the past year, and means United really have no excuse for their current failings.
- Sports & Recreation
- Manchester United
- Manchester City
- Angel Di Maria
- Ander Herrera