Over the past decade, Manchester United have become notorious for their extravagant overspending and inability to produce tangible results despite the large sums of money invested.
Erik ten Hag has one of the most highly-priced line-ups in Europe’s top-five leagues, with a massive chunk of the squad receiving some of the most substantial paychecks in football today.
Despite investing vast amounts of money, the Red Devils have had little to show for it, while some of their players continue to earn top-tier wages regardless of below-par performances.
Ten Hag’s arrival has been a step in the right direction, as Man United finally broke a six-year title drought with a 2-0 win over Newcastle United in February’s League Cup final.
However, a single cup title in six years is seemingly insufficient to back United’s lavish spending, though the Red Devils could still land two more trophies this season.
A quick glance at Man Utd’s top ten highest earners would show you that ten Hag’s transfer policy last summer was a resounding success, with all of his premium signings living up to the billing.
Here’s the rundown of the top-ten paid United players, according to Capology.
#10 Christian Eriksen – £150,000-a-week
Undoubtedly one of ten Hag’s smartest moves saw the Dutchman convince Man United to take a huge gamble and sign Christian Eriksen last summer following a decent half-season at Brentford.
Before picking up an ankle injury in January’s 3-1 FA Cup win over Reading, the Danish playmaker barely missed a Premier League game for the Red Devils, delivering top-class performances every week.
Although there’s no doubt he’s been an upgrade on Fred and Scott McTominay, it’s debatable whether he should be on the list of United’s top earners.
#9 Harry Maguire – £190,000-a-week
In addition to making Harry Maguire the most expensive defender in football history, Man United have agreed to pay the underperforming centre-back hefty wages, hoping to turn him into their version of Virgil van Dijk.
Besides rewarding him with a stratospheric salary, the Red Devils have seen no benefit from his switch from Leicester City apart from occasionally entertaining the Old Trafford crowd with classic blunders.
Since ten Hag’s arrival, the 30-year-old has become a fringe player and could be on his way out when the transfer window opens for business in the summer.
#8 Marcus Rashford – £200,000-a-week
Unlike the aforementioned underachiever, Marcus Rashford has gone into overdrive under ten Hag’s tutelage, going from strength to strength and in accordance with his handsome wages.
To say the quicksilver forward is doing everything he can to justify every penny would be an understatement, given his immense contribution to Man United’s resurgence in 2022/23.
Aware of his significance to United’s cause, Rashford could soon put pen to paper on a new bumper deal as the Red Devils aim to keep hold of their homegrown star for years to come.
#7 Antony – £200,000-a-week
Man Utd’s decision to part with £85 million to acquire Antony’s signature last summer was a strange call, given the Brazilian’s relatively brief career at Ajax, but it’s paying off massively.
When fit, the skilful winger is one of ten Hag’s main attacking threats alongside Rashford and one of the rare first-team stars to have earned their fat paycheques.
It’s still too early to say whether he could be one of the cornerstones of ten Hag’s project at Old Trafford, but he’s made a promising start in the Premier League.
#6 Bruno Fernandes – £240,000-a-week
Bruno Fernandes’ 2022/23 salary accounts for 6.12% of United’s weekly payroll, but there’s a feeling he’s not paid enough for his outrageous attacking output and leadership qualities.
Besides his technical and tactical prowess, goals and creativity, the Portuguese ace boasts a relentless work ethic, which has turned him into Man United’s captain in the absence of Maguire.
Fernandes’ influence in the dressing room and United’s overall on-field performances have been off the charts since he moved in from Sporting Lisbon in January 2020.
#5 Anthony Martial – £250,000-a-week
Well, this is another funny name on the list. There’s no doubt Man United signed Anthony Martial as a prodigious talent in 2015, but little did they know he’d become another Old Trafford scapegoat.
The Frenchman’s patchy form, constantly interrupted by recurring injury problems, and an apparently massive ego have seen him blow hot and cold over the past six years.
After an underwhelming half-season loan at Sevilla last term, Martial had seemed on his way to earning Ten Hag’s trust this season before a series of physical setbacks nailed him to the treatment room again.
#4 Raphael Varane – £340,000-a-week
Raphael Varane’s first season in the Premier League often induced malicious comments on his proneness to injuries after building a rock-solid reputation as a serial winner at Real Madrid.
But fast forward a year, and the 2018 World Cup winner is seemingly back to his best under ten Hag, showing everyone why the Red Devils instantly made him one of the club’s highest earners.
Varane has forged a formidable defensive partnership with Lisandro Martinez, and it’s hard to say anything other than he’s worth every dime of his lucrative contract at the Theatre of Dreams.
#3 Casemiro – £350,000-a-week
Another former Los Blancos superstar who traded Santiago Bernabeu for the Premier League in the past two years and immediately became one of the best-paid players at Man United.
Splashing out £70m to take Casemiro away from La Liga and handing him a meaty pay package had initially caused concerns among the United fanbase.
However, Brazilian has taken no prisoners while establishing himself as one of the leading characters at Old Trafford, winning over supporters’ affection from the get-go.
#2 Jadon Sancho – £350,000-a-week
Man Utd invested plenty of time, effort and money to wrangle Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund’s clutches in 2021, rewarding him with a generous income without first giving him a shot in the Premier League.
During his time in the Bundesliga, the pacey winger gained recognition for his ability to dribble past defenders, assist and score goals at will, nothing of which he’s been able to showcase at United.
Now it’s up to the club to decide how long they’re ready to wait for Sancho to find his feet in the Premier League. However, they already seem to be running out of patience.
#1 David de Gea – £375,000-a-week
As one of the club’s longest-serving and arguably most consistent performers throughout the past ten years, David de Gea deserves to be at the top of this list.
With a whopping £375,000-a-week salary, he is United’s highest earner thanks to a bumper contract he signed in 2019 after being elected as the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year three years in a row beforehand.
The Spanish goalkeeper may have had several ups and downs over the past couple of seasons, but he remains Man United’s best stopper since Peter Schmeichel, as witnessed by his stellar showings in 2022/23.
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