It used to be the case that a large amount of football’s top-paid superstars played their football in the Premier League – but that’s changed significantly in 2023.
The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar are earning tons more than even the highest-paid Premier League stars, but that isn’t to say the cream of England’s top flight are counting the pennies.
GK: Alisson – €9.1million
The Premier League’s highest-paid goalkeeper is also one of the best in the history of the competition; Liverpool would be shadows of themselves without him.
I still can't figure out how the hell Alisson managed to save this shot!
God forbid Alisson ever leaves us, he’s had to bail us out of so so much… pic.twitter.com/t6cYssNAeK
— Zayn (@pant_peak) August 29, 2023
RB: Reece James – €15.2million
Chelsea have tended to sell their most highly-valued homegrown stars in recent years, raising almost £200million in recent years to help with those pesky FFP regulations.
But James retains the faith of Todd Boehly, signing a bumper six-year contract extension last September and being named club captain for the 2023-24 campaign.
CB: John Stones – €15.2million
Having been transformed into a free-wheeling midfield-stepping playmaker by Pep Guardiola, it’s no real surprise to see Stones being extremely well-paid by Manchester City.
CB: Raphael Varane – €20.6million
Varane is the highest-paid defender in the Premier League and only second to the man who replaced him at Real Madrid, David Alaba, in all of Europe.
And that’s not surprising considering his assured performances at the heart of the Manchester United backline.
LB: Josko Gvardiol – €12.1million
He’s a centre-back by trade, but Gvardiol’s early Manchester City appearances have come at left-back as part of Guardiola’s latest brain wave so he goes in our XI on the left of the back four.
Having impressed in the Bundesliga with RB Leipzig, and shining at last year’s World Cup, the 21-year-old Croatia international cost City £78million and receives a wage to back his reputation and potential.
Still thinking about that Gvardiol turn… 😮💨 pic.twitter.com/YAtdghHE5X
— Manchester City (@ManCity) August 28, 2023
DM: Casemiro – €21.3million
Having joined United last summer, Casemiro quickly became an integral part of Erik ten Hag’s midfield with his driving performances.
While the extremely well-paid Brazilian has faced criticism for his below-par displays in United’s first three matches, Danny Murphy said in his defence: “I think he’ll get back to last season’s form.
“I wouldn’t worry about that, but I think he needs some legs around him to help him. Especially as there’s been an injury now to [Mason] Mount for the next couple of games, I think you’ll see [Scott] McTominay come in and play alongside him to give him some legs and give him some help.
“I think he’s a notoriously slow starter anyway, he tended to start slow at Madrid. He looks leggy when he’s not at it, but I don’t worry about him for the next year or two. He’s a super player.”
CM: Kevin De Bruyne – €24.3million
De Bruyne is the Premier League’s top-paid player and Manchester City’s talismanic Belgian playmaker will be hoping to bewitch supporters on a weekly basis once he recovers from his long-term injury.
CM: Bernardo Silva – €18.3million
Having been linked with a move away from Manchester City for a number of years, Silva recently signed a one-year extension to his contract at the Etihad.
“I’ve had six incredible years at Manchester City and I’m delighted to extend my time here,” the Portugal international said.
“Winning the Treble last season was extremely special and it’s exciting to be part of a squad where there is such a hunger and passion.
“Success makes you want even more, and this club gives me that opportunity to keep on winning. I love the manager, my team-mates and the fans and hope we can share even more great memories in the coming years.”
RW: Mohamed Salah – €21.3million
Despite reports Saudi Arabia wishes to make Salah an offer he can’t refuse, Liverpool’s talisman remains at Anfield with a wage packet that complements his timeless ability.
LW: Jadon Sancho – €21.3million
Perhaps a surprising inclusion in this XI, Sancho takes home a substantial wage every week despite producing little in his two years at Manchester United.
“On the wings, you look at Jadon Sancho, Antony and Alejandro Garnacho,” Graeme Souness wrote in his column for the Daily Mail before United’s win over Nottingham Forest.
“I don’t think any of them are good enough to be United players long-term and take the club where they want to go as a giant of world football. They are ordinary.”
While many will agree with Souness, we reckon Sancho has the potential to kickstart his United career this season.
ST: Erling Haaland – €22.8million
Look, goal-scoring Nordic robots don’t come cheap. And at least there’s a chance Haaland will score enough goals to eclipse the amount of pounds he takes home from Manchester City each year.
Erling Haaland goes back home to visit his farm, meet some local children in football training and reminisce about a certain bakery… 😅🥐 pic.twitter.com/DfAqQ3kwk7
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) August 28, 2023