With footballers’ wages as high as they are, sick pay for Premier League clubs is on another level.
While the majority of employers are unlikely to notice their staff taking a few days off with a bout of man flu, the price of illness and injury is no small cost for teams in the top tier.
According to new research by Sick Notes, injuries have cost the Premier League’s top sides a staggering amount of cash – calculated over the last three seasons, all of the top six have lost tens of millions on wages paid to players unavailable through knocks, bruises, breaks and scrapes.
Top of the list of wages lost to injury are Manchester United, who have spent a gargantuan £52,514,709 on wages to injured players in the last three campaigns.
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Those players include Phil Jones – currently out with a nagging calf injury which resurfaced while on England duty – and Luke Shaw, who is eighth on the most-injured players list having missed 449 days in that time.
The most-injured players list is topped by Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez, who has spent 549 days out over the last three seasons.
The top five is completed by Curtis Good, Stephen Ireland, Jon Flanagan, and Daniel Sturridge, who according to Sick Notes have been out for 501, 494, 492 and 468 days respectively.
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In terms of the cost of injuries, Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool aren’t too far behind Manchester United. City have paid £48,376,000 to injured players over the last three seasons – no doubt inflated by their superstar wage packets – while Arsenal have lost £43,932,589 and Liverpool have spent £40,057,806.
Chelsea and Tottenham have managed much better in terms of costly fitness issues, with the Blues spending £23,861,866 and Spurs a mere £19,963,550. In an accumulative sense Chelsea players have missed the least time through injury, so props to the medical staff at Stamford Bridge.
In happier news – despite the enormous outlay on wages for players on the sidelines – the stats suggest that enforced absences are managed better each season.
Days missed through injuries have fallen year on year, from 31,228 days in the 2014-15 season to 12,907 in the 2016-17 campaign. That’s a decrease of 59%, so at least clubs seem to be getting a grip on all those twisted ankles and hamstring tweaks.