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STATS: United’s Spending vs Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, City…

Whilst credit has to go to the manager for buying so well, you can’t help but wonder just how successful we might have been since 2005 if not held back by the Glazers.

United are the “most valuable sporting franchise” in the world, according to Forbes, so why is that 13 teams in the Premier League alone have larger nett spends than us? You can only imagine how many football teams there are across Europe with larger nett spends, then across the world.

A point often raised is the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo, which I struggle to get my head around. We signed a teenager this country’s press and rival fans dubbed a “one trick pony” then we turned him in to the best player in the world. We made £67ish million on him because of that. Regardless, any other club who made that amount of money on a player would then go and spend it. The fact that United haven’t emphasises the point regarding the Glazers and how they have held us back.

Money spent

Manchester City have spent £291,370,000 more than us. Their nett spend is £366,670,000 more than ours.
Liverpool have spent £88,940,000 more than us. Their nett spend is £34,510,000 more than ours.
Spurs have spent £66,000,000 more than us. Their nett spend is £81,750,000 more than ours.
Chelsea have spent £35,200,000 more than us. Their nett spend is £84,250,000 more than ours.

We’ve spent £79,150,000 more than Arsenal. Our nett spend is £41,300,000 more than theirs.

Trophies won

United: 4 league titles, 1 European Cup, 2 League Cups.
Chelsea: 1 league title, 3 FA Cups, 1 League Cup
Liverpool: 1 FA Cup
City: 1 FA Cup
Spurs: 1 League Cup
Arsenal: Nothing

It’s good to see us splashing the cash this summer, it’s long overdue. With three European Cup finals in four years, we can only dream of how many more trophies we could have had to our name if not for the constraints put on our spending by our owners.


All stats from

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Ash says:

    I agree with King Eric this blog has hit its all time low because of some worthless trolls.We should still be celebrating our 19th tittle and talk about our future success but No There are some guys who spoil our party.
    I have been following this blog for almost 3 years and then everyone used to talk sense but now it has become a battle field.
    I bet all these swede bill bob etc won’t appear when the season begins.So I say lets keep our unity and Forget about these guys.

  2. Fred says:

    Re: takeover – My hunch is that the takeover is very much on and we will soon be the richest club in the world once again, free from the crippling burden of debt.

    Re: Liverpool bid for Jones – Phil Jones is our player, but Liverpool have made a huge mistake by trying to throw a spanner in the works the way they did today with their £22m bid. It shows how far LFC have sunk that they are reduced to stunts like this, that you would expect more of Man Citeh. Embarrassing behaviour. I wonder if they’ll put in a 13th hour bid for Ashley Young too. :D Give it up, guys; they don’t want to sign for you! :lol:

  3. Ash says:

    I agree with you jones has been signed.Everyone including their team mates have said that he has signed for us.
    Well what can we say about loserpool?Lol

  4. kel says:


  5. sachu says:

    i hope jones deal is done
    but if fuckerpool have made abid of 22 million dont the venkys have the right to sell him to liverpool
    afterall jones hasnt signed the contract

  6. Samuel - united WE stand says:

    This jones shit really is baffling, what the fuck is going on? those venkys are corrupt cunts anyway, i’m not suprised the deal ain’t running smoothly.

  7. sachu says:

    its quite simple
    player wants to come here
    but i think the venkys have the right to sell to the highest bidder
    so if fuckerpool have made a 22million bid then its intresting
    telegraph says we will get him today and mail says deal is in tatters
    has anyplayer signed for another club after having a medical

  8. Balaji Sivaraman says:

    @sachu, From what I understand, if it is a Minimum Fee Release Clause which I think it is (no reason to think otherwise), they have no right to reject an offer at that price. They are bound by the contract to accept any offer at the price stated in the release clause.

    Can anyone tell me on thing though, once a club triggers the release clause and the player has completed some formalities, is it possible for the parent club to accept a higher bid price even though the release clause has been triggered? Isn’t the purpose of the release clause to negate exactly that kind of situation?

    So, I really don’t understand what the fuck is wrong with those guys. Anyways, I don’t see a lot of point in talking about it by listening to gossip from papers. I expect that David Gill knows what he’s doing. I know that Sir Alex wants Phil Jones and I know that the player wants to only come here, so I expect the deal to be sealed soon.

  9. man_utd_19 says:

    All this Phil Jones speculation is getting under my skin.

    The release clause has been triggered therefore terms have been agreed and accepted by Blackburn (because that’s what a fucking release clause is for!), the player has agreed personal terms, and the player wants to come to Utd. Then what the fuck is the problem?!

    Venkys should stick to chicken. They know fuck all about football. Honestly I hope Utd take them to court over all this fucking bullshit and nonsense, so that they could understand what a fucking release clause is!

    As for the scum’s 22m bid… He doesn’t want to join your filthy little club, get the fuck over it.

    Sorry for all the ranting this morning, but this is getting ridiculous now.

  10. tolumnancunian says:

    jones is ours…we are united and we do what we want..

  11. Stenis says:

    I think it’s dangerous to assume that spending more money than we’ve done on players would buy us more success on the field. We’ve been amazingly successful during recent years. Not defending the Glazers or anything, just saying.

  12. JC says:

    Seriously, why are we even talking about the Jones rumours anymore. The meaning of a Minimum Release Clause is cut and dried – an offer equal to or greater than the value of the release clause CANNOT be rejected, sure you can bid less than that and the team can still sell if they want but any bid at or over the clause (which ours was) MUST be accepted as long as the player agrees to terms with the buying team (which he has) and passes his medical (which he has).

    Done deal.

  13. SurferX says:

    I’m a gooner- so about as welcome round here as a dose, I should think. Just thought I’d thank you for that anaylsis- very good.

  14. TonyBee says:

    Scott the Red…. I think your blog is fantastic and I for one will never leave it…. but it is a shame to see such negativity from our regulars posters on here that they will actually leave because of imposters…now we know that there are a load of childish idiots out there who delight in fucking up things United ……surely there must be some way of forming a register of posters with names and addresses being held by you which would allow you to terminate any IP address that was constantly being used to offend other posters….

    please take some action as over the years I have been on here we have lost many posters….

  15. TonyBee says:

    sorry to cut and paste but I thought people might just want to see this from the Sunday People….

    United make move for Sneijder as Qatar takeover looks imminent
    Jun 12 2011 by Steve Bates, The People

    Manchester UNITED’S spending frenzy is set to ­accelerate with a final tilt for £35million Wesley Sneijder – amid growing speculation that they are on the brink of a fresh take­over attempt from Qatar.

    Football’s grapevine is buzzing with rumours that Qatar Holdings, the business arm of the country’s ruling royal family, are the real force behind a United cash spree that is set to top £125MILLION.

    That kind of transfer market spending is reckoned to be way beyond the Glazer family who bought the club for nearly £800m in 2005.

    Qatar Holdings, a division of the Qatar Investment Authority, which identifies ways to maximise the Arab state’s oil fortune, are ­believed to have had a £1.5billion offer turned down last year.


    But it has been suggested in ­business circles that a third party – thought to be the Qataris – may have funded a £250m loan ­repayment by the American-based Glazers late last year.

    That arrangement, if accurate, is thought to be a forerunner to a full takeover bid, with sources close to the Glazers saying they now value the 12-time Premier League champions closer to a staggering TWO BILLION POUNDS.

    And Sir Alex Ferguson’s eye-watering transfer splash has done nothing to dampen speculation that Qatar Holdings – backed by the emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani – are back on the scene again.

    Although on holiday in the south of France, the United boss is close to ­sealing deals for £21.3m Ashley Young from Aston Villa, teenage Blackburn defender Phil Jones for up to £20m and Atletico Madrid keeper David de Gea for £25m.

    Ferguson also has £25m Alexis Sanchez of Udinese in his sights and is determined to land a top midfielder to replace Paul Scholes – with Sneijder his No.1 choice.

    Despite claims on Inter Milan’s website last week that he is happy in Italy and sees no reason to move, United believe 27-year-old Sneijder DOES fancy a fresh challenge at Old Trafford.

    They should ­discover this week if a deal is possible. If not, Arsenal star Sami Nasri – with a year left on his ­contract – and Tottenham’s Croatia playmaker Luka Modric will ­become active targets.

    But it is the sudden release of a huge transfer war chest which has sparked rumours of a bigger picture developing at Old Trafford.


    The Glazer family continue to insist United are NOT for sale – and that being unpopular with the fans doesn’t bother them.

    But they cannot compete with the spending power of Abu-Dhabi owned Manchester City or Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea, who forked out £75m in January on Fernando Torres and David Luiz. Officials from Qatar Holdings were at Wembley a ­fortnight ago, sitting close to the Glazer family and ­senior United figures during the Champions League final against Barcelona.

    The Qatar royal family – under the guise of the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community – are Barcelona’s shirt sponsors after penning a massive £135m deal to become the Catalan club’s first paid shirt advertisers in the club’s 111-year history.

    It is unclear whether any talks took place while the two parties were in London, but Qatar have made no secret of their interest in United as they look to bolster their sporting armoury ahead of the controversial 2022 World Cup.

    Ferguson took United to Qatar in January last year and returned on his own in November to endorse the Aspire4Sport exhibition and ­conference in Doha to help ­promote Qatar as a sporting ­destination.


    Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola was also a paid ­ambassador for Qatar’s successful 2022 World Cup bid, while Nou Camp president Sandro Rosell has been a vocal ­supporter of the Qatari football academy, styled on Barcelona’s.

    But while they are happy to have links with Barca, Qatar Holdings know they could never buy the Catalan club, which is owned by 150,000 fanatical fans.

    Qatar Holdings has a massive portfolio of worldwide property investments, including Harrods and London’s One Hyde Park – an apartment block where luxury flats go for around £30m each.

    Buying United, though, is still thought to be their main sporting strategy.

    And the anti-Glazer Green and Gold supporters were last night clinging to the hope Ferguson’s spending splurge is the signal that the unpopular ­Americans’ grip on United may be coming to an end.

  16. TonyBee says:

    Reading through this….I am hoping that the Glazers did take a 250mill loan FROM the the Qataris…..just might mean they have a foot in the door….interesting times are a foot for Utd…

  17. TonyBee says:

    Thought just struck me…… could the Qatari’s already be involved with United…. seems that we have spending money ….could they be funding it…. ‘on the quiet’….. the plot thickens…… LUHG

    COME ON CEDARS, SMARTALEX & WILLIEREDNUTS……… Don’t let some idiots spoil what we have here

  18. Passe says:

    wow, the article from the people seems like a load of bollocks.

  19. captaink9 says:

    Jones will sign the deal. Old trafford the only place to learn from the best in Sir..
    More to follow……


  20. Lloyd™ says:

    i don’t believe any word from that article.

  21. parryheid says:

    Fantasists they abound like the death and destruction boys.

  22. Sweet Fanny Adams says:

    Don’t get complacent. We crawled over the line last season becasue Chelsea had a huge crisis mid-season and Arsenal nosedived after their Carling Cup defeat. Replacing Scholes, Giggs and Van der Saar will cost a whole lot of money at a time when teams will have to balance the books. The days of sugar daddies are coming to an end. Chelsea and City will not have long to get things back into balance financially so they are not such a threat as they currently seem. But this team needs a major overhaul or it will be found out. It would have been found out had Sir Alex not been so briliant. Pride comes before a fall and too many United fans are in it for the glory alone. Old Trafford was a fortress last year and that saved us. Away we were abysmall whilst Arsenal were top. Credit where credit is due but the years ahead look very difficult for United.

  23. Wakey says:


    And here we go again with another bulshit post from you about the Glazers. You are annintelligent guy so why can’t you show it on this issue rather than repeat the crap from MUST who have never been happy with our owners and never will be until they themselves are in control.

    If the Glazers are the leaches that some like to make out then why did they leave Ronaldos fee and the almost 100mill in addition to that sitting innthe bank. They aren’t business idiots, infant they have been shown to be smart and ruthless businessmen so why would people like that throw money away. The interest rate is tiny in the bank and they could have used it to buy back more of the debt/bonds thus increasing profits or the could have Used it to invest and got a return much closer and maybe higher than the interest rate of the bonds.

    They have also regularry turned down their dividends and have never taken a dividend since taking over. The only payment they have taken is the standard management fee of a few mill a year that the PLC also paid ithe directors and most companies and football clubs pay for accounting reasons.


    RE: Takeover
    Its the same rumour that has no basis but is good for both sides so both play it up slightly. The rumours after all are based on two things
    1) The Glazers paying the PIKs
    2) the transfer spending now

    If we look at point 2 first we may not have the bottomless pit of Chelsea and City BUT it’s not like we are skint as there is150mill in the bank with a good cash profit being generated every year that has helped boost it every year despite spending most seasons. With some of the surplus already reducing the bonds (and rumours that the next quarter will show a simerlar amount knocked off) then cash profits are enough to support a decent spend, especially when finacial fair play fully kicks in

    On point 1. People think the Glazers didnt have the money to pay these due to the anti Glazer camp and the way they twisted the situation. However they have a solid, mall business that despite what Andy Green and Panorama would like people to believe turns good profits (some have struggled and made the parent companies profits look weaker but it’s why they were let to goto the wall because the liability the Glazers had in them was tiny, the liability was with the bank and to prop them up with money fro, the profitable ones would have seen them quickly spend more propping them up than their liability is for) and the finacial rules in the States along with the terms of the PIK’s allowed them to roll up the interest, write off interet against tax and then use this money set aside form interest and tax payments to invest thus making money from it which paying wouldn’t have achieved. Additionally they used the world finacial situation to buy some of the PIKs from then holders for a fraction of their value in 2008 (about £40mill of the £183mill borrowed via PIKS Which they paid under 10mill for) thus making paying the PIKs off even easier as they could just write this 40mill and it’s interest off.

    On the Quataris, They aren’t on the whole business owners, they have one business they own and thats Harrods. The rest of their investments have been small minority stakes in business’s don’t require them to concern themselves in the running. The Harrods deal was most likely a deal dome for the property. It’s a good investment that will require little input from them to keep turning a good profit while the property value will a most certainly keep rising significantly. United even if they stay out of then football matters requires a fair amount of input from then owners to keep revenues rising. I personally doubt they are up for this and even if they are now I would be worried about after the world cup is over and there is less motivation for them.

    They are IMHO more likely to take a small investment stake at an inflated price which the Glazere may go for as they would make some money personally while keeping control as the stake would be a minority one.

  24. parryheid says:


    don’t waste your time your only encouraging them,let the fantasists fantasize.

  25. FusilliJerry says:

    Wakey: Either you are a Glazer stooge paid to pose as a fan on forums, or you are one of those tiresome types whose Business Studies GCSE makes you think you possess some greater insight. Either way, you are an enemy of Manchester United.

    The argument that the Glazers have been good for United because their regime has coincided with the most concentrated period of success in the club’s history, is akin to the Nazis claiming credit for Anne Frank’s diary. The reason the manager backs them in public is because he decided his purpose is to keep the club together until the leeches have sucked enough blood and drop off the host body of their own accord – rather than spark a risky open battle with them.

  26. Wakey says:

    RE: Jones

    This may actually be good for us that this issue has arisen. Arsenal and Liverpool met his buyout but he rejected the chance to speak to them. So he clearly wants to join us. So why is it potentially good for us?

    With a buy out clause being part of his contract it’s legal binding, by even trying to prevent the transfer going through they are breaching the contract thus making his contract null and void so if the story is true I may get dragged out but we could get him for nothing. Not sure how the compensation system works in this situation but I would assume no compensation would b due

  27. Paul H says:

    Damn. Only just seen this thread as only occasional visitor these days.

    Scott, I wouldn’t make the mistake of confusing our shrewd and often inspired transfer and development strategy with being “held back by our owners”.

    We could have very easily pissed another £100m plus up the wall and won a lot less. We will never know.

    Love United. Full stop.

  28. swede says:

    I jump ship as well and leave my last post here. Thought this was a forum for United fans who never legs it but it seems we do these days. A shame you lot are like this here when in real life you are different. Stay true and be yourself is my motto.
    Heading off to other fourms now and will forget about the republik of mancuntia.

  29. drakegoona says:

    Well done is spelling your own Managers name wrong in the “manager” table!

    Great piece though!!

  30. xol says:

    FusilliJerry Spot on. Fucking cavalry.

    I’d like to correct an ealier post of mine. I said, “we might be witnessing a smooth handover where all parties have the Club’s best interests at heart” but meant to say, “smooth handover where both parties have solely money at heart”.

  31. Fred says:

    Paul H & Wakey :lol:

  32. ManchesterMike says:

    still think monkey man had it… no spending would have gotten the better of barca twice… maybe once, but now the club is in better shape for the future, especially with financial restrictions impending for the future…

  33. Wakey says:


    And you are who exactly? Getting told I’m on the Glazers payroll when I have been on this blog for years by a newbie really is hilarious. And to be told I’m an enemy of the club really takes the biscuit.

    Anyone who has spent time on this blog knows ( even if they don’t agree with me) that i’m not spouting pr bullshit fed to me from the Glazers but have put time and effort in educating myself on the situation.

    Anyone who does this with an open mind soon realises it’s no where near as bad as MUST and the media makes out. There are some bad things about their ownership and the amount leveraged while acceptable is at the high end of acceptable but for all the bad aspects there are positives and they certainly are better than most of the owners we see in the league who buy players over their managers head, sack managers left right and centre and even interfere with picking the team

  34. Wakey says:


    I don’t believe Scott put the tables together. They look like they came from these site where they list all these stats and figure

  35. leebamber says:

    I believe this is spending from 2005, so it ommits Rooney and Ferdinand (50m). I would guess it ommitts Tevez also. Which would bring united spending to the same level as chelsea? Even without the Ronaldo sale? Just goes to show it is all about money…..

  36. Devil310 says:


    I read your analysis with an “open mind” and although some of your points sound reasonable, believing the Ronaldo is still there all nicely tugged in the bank gaining interest while SAF decides to use it, is botherline naive. You must believe in Santa if you really think we will be splashing anywhere near 80mil this summer or the next. Sir Alex said that the club will be seing 2-3 new faces this summer, and if the 3 deals that are currently being negotiated come to fruition(de Gae, Young, Jones) that would be it! (nowhere near Ronnie cash)

    I wish to believe what you believe mate, but I truly dont think that United is nothing more than a big cow, with lots of milk to feed your Glazzers

  37. DohaRed says:


    I live in Qatar, and i’ve got to tell you being taken over by Qatar Holdings may not be a good thing. They know fuckall about football, or anything really, except throwing money around. If they interfere in the running of the club they will fuck it up big style.

  38. Wakey says:


    It’s hardly naive when the accounts show the money is tucked away in the bank. Now you seem to have missed my point on the interest, the bank interest rate is awful and has been for a long time. There is just no point having 150mill of cash in the bank when interest rates are so poor and the bond rate in comparison high (interest rate is 0.5% in the uk and the bonds are 8.5%). Considering the anti glazer crowd are always telling us what leaches they are does it really sound realistic that they are letting 150mill sit there when it could be made to work better (even buying back more of the bonds would make more sense).

    If you had a house with a 500k mortgage and had 150k sitting in the bank gaining almost no Interest just ask yourself would you seriously not use it to either pay down the mortgage OR invest it elsewhere which will give you bigger returns. The only reason yo might not do so is if you had it earmarked to improve the house

    Now I haven’t said I expect the 80mill plus to be spent but that’s SAF’s choice as he is smarter than the likes of the sheiks and knows that it’s about getting a squad that blends as one rather than spending money on ‘superstars’. He will buy who he thinks we need based on what’s available, who he feels will blend and what he feels is a fair value (overpaying after all may seem worth it to many of us to get a player but there are various knock on effects this can cause down the line)

    Oh and on SAF’s 2-3 new faces needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. It was said while he was still saying he hoped Scholes would stay so there could be an extra midfielder now on the shopping list and some signings may not have been in his mind when he said it (I suspect Jones may have been one we were forced into doing this summer) and finally it’s part of being manager to keep the other clubs guessing

  39. torontored says:

    Well the interesting thing about the stats is how fucking stupid City, Chelsea and Vermin are for spending money on players who do not perform

    The comment “we can only dream of how many more trophies we could have had to our name if not for the constraints put on our spending by our owners” is falacious at best.

    Let’s see we could have bought Aquilani, Adebayor, 8 Liverpool players, Torres (twice), Crouch (4 times) Robbie Keane (8 times) etc and we would have been a better team?
    So who did we buy _ Ronaldo, Nani, Vidic, Anderson, The Twins, Smalling, Chico, VDS, Evra, Valencia – what did they cost – we won 4 titles (should have been 5 but Atkinson saw to that) / 1 UCL/ 2 other UCL finals.

    Buying players means nothing if they do not perform – who should we have bought who would have made us a better team? Outside Messi/Iniesta/Xavi cannot think of too many. (Who did Barca buy over the past five years? They just perfected a team with players they had developed)

    Only point I would make is that some of the buys – Bellion/Obertain/Bebe/Manucho (spec buys at best) the money may have been better spent on a “known” player but who??

    No point is spending money for the sake of spending.

    UNITED 20/4/12 – 2012

  40. Fansty909 says:

    There is no reason for Man United to spend tons of money on players. We have good youth players who we can develop into stars. People often complain that the reason that Man U win is cause we have so much money to spend on players, i.e. bentiz’s article on soccernet, obviously we dont spend much money. I agree with our policy of only spend money when we need to. Fergie is a genius he knows when to spend and not.


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