Arsenal are towards the lower end of the big-six wage bill rankings, according to a Global Sports Salaries Survey released this week.

SportingIntelligence put out an annual survey on teams in 18 different leagues, released in November. This year’s report puts Arsenal in fifth place in the Premier League, as you can see in the ranking below (via Football.London). The figures provided are the average annual wage per player:

  1. Manchester United – £6,534,654
  2. Manchester City – £5,993,000
  3. Chelsea – £5,020,004
  4. Liverpool – £4,862,963
  5. Arsenal – £4,853,130
  6. Tottenham Hotspur – £3,515,778

Despite ranking fifth, you can see that Arsenal really aren’t that far off Chelsea or Liverpool. Manchester United and Manchester City are way ahead though, and Tottenham Hotspur are just as far behind.

In all honesty, it’s probably better to have a higher wage bill right now. With all the TV money flowing into the game, it’s not as if the likes of Arsenal will struggle to afford it. Financial Fair Play wage restrictions mean you can only increase your wage bill by a set amount each year. If you aren’t taking advantage of the full increase then you’ll get left behind.

When Tottenham’s current squad eventually move on, they won’t be able to offer big wages to their replacements. They’ll be lucky to attract top quality players on their current wage budget when their rivals are paying so much more. It’s a disaster waiting to happen, and Arsenal need to avoid ending up in that same situation.

Of course, there are negatives to a budget as high as Manchester United’s too. When everyone knows you’re paying more than any other club in England per player, they’ll negotiate bigger contracts for their clients. Then you’ll end up with players you can’t sell because nobody in their right minds would match your wages.

To sum up, Arsenal need to keep increasing their budget every year, but they need to do so wisely. Hopefully, Raul Sanllehi, Vinai Venkatesham and their team are up to the task.