31st December 2022; Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England; Premier League Football, Wolverhampton Wanderers versus Manchester United; David De Gea of Manchester Utd celebrates their 0-1 win

The highest-paid Premier League XI feat. Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool…

The Premier League’s highest-paid XI is unsurprisingly dominated by players from Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea.

Despite leading the table for much of the season, Arsenal don’t boast any of the English top-flight’s best-paid players. Nor do Tottenham or newly-minted Newcastle United.

We’ve been through the Premier League wages table on FBref and put together this XI, with the top earners for every position, arranged in a 4-3-3 formation:

GK: David de Gea

The 32-year-old is well-remunerated for his 11 years of service at Old Trafford. De Gea signed his last contract extension back in 2019, making him the best-paid goalkeeper in England.

For a time he was the best-paid player in the Premier League full stop, but has since fallen to second with a reported salary of £375,000 per week.

With question marks over his ability to play out from the back, some suggested that De Gea’s days were numbered under Erik ten Hag, especially with his four-year deal expiring this summer.

But the long-serving ‘keeper has adapted well and been close to his best in 2022-23 so far. He’s seen off a challenge from Martin Dubravka, recalled by parent club Newcastle, and now it appears a question of when – rather than if – United exercise the one-year extension option in his current deal, although the situation is continuing to rumble along.

RB: Reece James

The only homegrown academy graduate in this XI, James has been rewarded by Chelsea for developing into one of the best right-backs in the world, let alone the Premier League.

James has a higher salary than his England rivals Kyle Walker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben White and Kieran Trippier – his weekly wages are reportedly £250,000.

The 23-year-old signed a mammoth six-year contract in September, running until 2028. His injury setbacks have proven immensely costly for the Blues so far in 2022-23.

CB: Raphael Varane

Manchester United have proven themselves able and willing to provide a bumper payday for proven winners looking for the biggest contracts of their careers.

United weren’t quite able to get the Sergio Ramos deal done back in the day, but four-time Champions League winner Varane left the Bernabeu for Old Trafford, treading a path followed by his former Los Blancos’ team-mates Cristiano Ronaldo and Casemiro.

The Frenchman arrived in the summer of 2021 for a reported £41million fee. He signed a four-year deal, running until 2025, with weekly wages of £340,000. No Premier League centre-back takes home more.

CB: Kalidou Koulibaly

Having lost Rudiger and Andreas Christensen, who departed Stamford Bridge for nothing in the summer, new owner Todd Boehly decided to splash the cash to bolster Chelsea’s defence.

Koulibaly had established himself as one of Europe’s best defenders in recent years at Napoli. But the jury remains out on whether buying a 31-year-old for £33million, with a four-year deal and weekly wages believed to be £295,000, was an intelligent use of funds.

Koulibaly has looked far from his best during his debut season with Chelsea and he may be sold in the summer.

LB: Ben Chilwell

Technically the highest-paid Premier League left-back is Joao Cancelo. Who is out on loan at Bayern Munich. Bit awkward, that.

So to go with a player actually turning out in the Premier League, Chelsea’s other outstanding full-back makes the cut. Chilwell is said to take home a salary of £190,000 a week.

Despite struggling to remain injury-free, Chilwell recently signed a contract extension until 2027.

DM: Casemiro

Just like Varane, the Brazilian had proven everything there was to prove at the Bernabeu and moved to Old Trafford in search of a new challenge – as well as the kind of bumper contract that Florentino Perez wasn’t willing to give a 30-year-old.

So far, it looks as though Madrid’s loss is United’s gain. Ten Hag was patient with Casemiro, bedding him in slowly, but he now looks like an outstanding and indispensable member of the United first team. Well worth his £300,000 weekly wage.

CM: Thiago

We could’ve gone with a few different options here – Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante, Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes and Manchester City’s Rodri all reportedly earn more – but we figured that Thiago offers the best balance for this XI.

With weekly wages of £200,000, Liverpool’s maestro is only the 26th highest-paid player in the English top flight, but he tops the list of central midfielders we can imagine slotting in alongside Casemiro and the Premier League’s top earner…

AMC: Kevin De Bruyne

It’s hard to argue that De Bruyne doesn’t deserve to be the Premier League’s highest-paid player. He’s claimed that crown following the termination of Cristiano Ronaldo’s contract at Manchester United.

The Belgian has won the league title in four of the last five seasons and has been Manchester City’s best player over that period. No player – anywhere, ever – has made more appearances under Pep Guardiola.

The 31-year-old’s current deal runs until 2025, and we expect to see him cutting through Premier League defences for a few more years yet.

RW: Mohamed Salah

Handing a 30-year-old Salah a new contract in the summer marked something of a departure from the buy-low-sell-high strategy we’ve come to expect from Liverpool under FSG.

But with no obvious suitors willing to stump a sizeable transfer fee for their Egyptian King, it made sense for the club to hand him a lucrative new deal, making him their top earner – the Premier League’s sixth-highest salary at £350,000 a week.

To be fair, Salah could barely have done more to earn it. He won a third Premier League Golden Boot last term, with over 150 goals scored across his first five seasons with the Reds.

He hasn’t quite been at his best amid the Reds’ strugglers in 2022-23, but he still boasts 26 goals and 9 assists in all competitions. Even an off-colour Salah is still a pretty brilliant footballer.

ST: Erling Haaland

An initial fee of just €51million seems pretty cheap for the most potent goalscorer in the world.

But Haaland doesn’t come cheap. Man City reportedly pay £375,000 a week for his services, although according to Sportsmail the true figure might actually be a hefty bit more when you factor in “substantial bonuses”.

Whatever the true number is, the Norwegian is certainly the Premier League’s best-paid No.9. Never let it be said he doesn’t do what he’s paid to, having delivered goals by the bucketload.

READ: Seven PL Golden Boot winners Erling Haaland has already outscored

LW: Jadon Sancho

Things haven’t quite gone to plan for young Sancho since he signed for Manchester United in the summer of 2021.

His Premier League output is a fraction of what he produced in the Bundesliga, he failed to make it into England’s squad for the World Cup, and he went on to fall out of favour under Red Devils boss Ten Hag.

It’s difficult to argue that the forward has proven good value, given his £350,000-a-week wages after arriving for a £73million fee. But he’s undoubtedly got bags of potential and is still just 23 years old.

Ten Hag has been patient with his progress and there have been some signs of late that he can still justify United’s show of faith in his abilities.

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