It’s been fait accompli for a long time now that Tottenham Hotspur just don’t pay the same kinds of wages to their players as the teams with which they are competing. In fact, it’s been a cudgel with which the media, agents, and other clubs have used against Spurs in the transfer market for years now.
The newest wage reports from Sporting Intelligence aren’t going to help matters. In fact, they pretty much confirm the above hypothesis. According to the report, which lists Premier League clubs according to how large their wage bill is, Spurs are sixth in the “wage table.”
Average first-team pay for Premier League Clubs 2018/19— fcbusiness Magazine (@fcbusiness) November 26, 2018
via @sportingintel's Global Sports Salaries Survey https://t.co/Xm7Wp7UM5G pic.twitter.com/PjGsG6PaRI
Now, I know that literally nobody is shocked by this listing. What’s more interesting is how the various factions of Spurs fandom will interpret this.
On the one hand, you’ll have the optimists — those who look at Spurs’ overall bill being closer to Everton in 7th than Arsenal in 5th and say that Spurs are doing great on comparatively meager wages. Spurs are currently third and have had two title runs in the past few years! That Daniel Levy, what a wizard, he’s done it again!
Then you have the pessimists — they look at these figures and think Spurs’ financial model is completely unsustainable and that if one notable player decides to leave to chase the money the whole thing will collapse like a house of cards, leaving Tottenham sliding towards eventual relegation to League 2. Alternately, they will look at Tottenham’s meager wage bill and failure to sign any players this summer and think If we only paid players what they were worth, we’d be able to actually make good signings, and we’d have already won the league.
The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Yes, Spurs probably can afford to pay higher wages than what they do. Yes, it’s also true that Mauricio Pochettino and Daniel Levy have done remarkable things on a shoestring budget. And yes, it’s also probably true that loosening the pursestrings might have helped Tottenham kick on a bit, both this season and in past seasons. Though, as Poch would tell you, making signings does not guarantee success.
Wages in the Premier League are kind of ridiculous anyway. West Ham’s wages, currently 8th highest in the league, are pretty much on par with that of Dortmund, and more than both Napoli and Roma. That’s wild. (West Ham has also been somewhat hilarious with both its transfers and reported wages, so.)
But if you want further evidence that Spurs are not yet sitting on the financial big boy table, take a look at the global table: Barcelona, whom Spurs will play in a couple of weeks, are not only smoking every other football club, but every other sports franchise, offering an average wage of over £10m to its players. Now THAT’S some money.