Arsenal get money’s worth as Brighton ripped off: ranking every club by best-paid player’s impact

Matthew Stead
Mo Salah tries to get past Arsenal defender Takehiro Tomiyasu

Some Premier League clubs might feel short-changed by the effect their highest-paid player has had on results. Arsenal will be among those happy enough.

The numbers in brackets represent PPM (points per match), the first being the club’s overall figure so far this season, with the second being the personal record of said best-paid player.


Newcastle (1.81) – Bruno Guimaraes (2.15)
Considering Newcastle are yet to win a Premier League game in which Bruno Guimaraes has not featured whatsoever since he signed, they can certainly be said to be getting their money’s worth for the wonderful midfielder. Even with the investment to come, the Magpies will do phenomenally well to beat the value of both the fee and his wages.


Arsenal (2.46) – Gabriel Jesus (2.69)
It is true that Arsenal have done remarkably well not to have their title challenge derailed by the loss of their star striker, marquee summer signing and – at least until Mikel Arteta poses with his arm around Bukayo Saka – highest earner for more than three months, but the outlook could have been even brighter had Gabriel Jesus been available. Arsenal have only dropped points in two of his 16 appearances: a defeat to Man Utd in September and the draw with Southampton the following month.


Nottingham Forest (0.96) – Keylor Navas (1.11)
It is at least slightly weird that Nottingham Forest’s two best-paid players are goalkeepers. Keylor Navas (0.71) claimed the permanent crown when he joined in January but the Tricky Trees agreed to cover Dean Henderson’s Man Utd wages when taking him on loan and up until his injury they were given no reason to regret that decision. And no, Jesse Lingard isn’t on £200,000 a week.


Leeds (0.96) – Rodrigo (1.10)
While 188 players have more Premier League minutes to their name this season, only six rank higher than Rodrigo for goals. Leeds have won only one of the seven games he has missed through injury in 2022/23 – and that was a 1-0 win at home to actual bottom club Southampton.


Crystal Palace (0.96) – Wilfried Zaha (1.04)
Wilfried Zaha has missed 38 Premier League games for Crystal Palace since the start of the 2015/16 season; the Eagles have won 26 points from those fixtures. Roy Hodgson will probably remember where he stored the bubblewrap.

Roy Hodgson Wilfried Zaha


West Ham (0.92) – Lucas Paqueta (1)
“I didn’t want him to get sent off because then he’d be suspended for future games,” said David Moyes after Lucas Paqueta stormed down the tunnel – for there is no other way of navigating an artificial passage as a substitute – during a draw with Aston Villa. There is good reason as to why the manager doesn’t want to lose his £51m club-record signing.


Brentford (1.56) – Ben Mee (1.62)
First off, a Premier League club having 33-year-old Ben Mee as its best-paid player is absolutely stunning work. Then again, the centre-half has missed one game this season and Brentford happened to lose that 4-0 to an Aaron Danks-inspired Aston Villa. Double his wages.


Fulham (1.44) – Bernd Leno (1.48)
The £5m worth of clauses involved in a deal which took Bernd Leno from Arsenal to Fulham for an initial £3m seem likely to be activated. The Gunners are due £1m contingent on the keeper making a certain number of Premier League appearances, and another £2m if the Cottagers avoid relegation; Leno has played all but two matches for a team 15 points clear of the drop with 11 fixtures remaining. Fulham will know better than anyone not to make any assumptions about the final £2m, a payment dependent upon the club staying in the Premier League for a second straight season – something they haven’t achieved for almost a decade.


Bournemouth (0.89) – Jefferson Lerma (0.92)
The £25m transfer Eddie Howe sanctioned for Levante midfielder Jefferson Lerma in summer 2018 remains Bournemouth’s club-record signing. And the five-year contract the Colombian penned then has not been altered since, meaning these stand to be the last couple of months he spends on the south coast.


The highest earners at five different Premier League clubs have not missed a single game this season, meaning there is obviously no differential in PPM. Here’s to Leicester (Jamie Vardy), Liverpool (Mo Salah), Man Utd (David de Gea), Southampton (James Ward-Prowse) and Tottenham (Harry Kane)


Chelsea (1.41) – Raheem Sterling (1.37)
Beloved and respected by his teammates
though he is, Raheem Sterling has been technically and marginally detrimental to Chelsea’s output since joining from Manchester City for £47.5m. Tough to fault the England forward in the Champions League, mind: three goals and an assist in Europe has dragged the Blues to the quarter-finals.


Wolves (0.96) – Raul Jimenez (0.92)
The truth is that Wolves have not had nearly enough of an opportunity to rely on their best-paid player for years, such have been Raul Jimenez’s numerous physical ailments over a sustained period. An assist against Fulham in February was the Mexican’s only goal contribution so far this season.


Aston Villa (1.41) – Lucas Digne (1.35)
Steven Gerrard really did a number on Aston Villa during his relatively short reign as manager. The club’s three highest earners were signed by the former Liverpool midfielder – and Lucas Digne is stuck behind Alex Moreno as deputy left-back under Unai Emery.


Manchester City (2.26) – Kevin De Bruyne (2.20)
Pep Guardiola called Kevin de Bruyne out recently for not mastering “the simple things” and you can see the Spaniard’s argument. Manchester City would be a further point behind Arsenal if they followed the Belgian’s personal trajectory. The Premier League’s leading assist provider is at least pulling a fair proportion of his weight as the division’s biggest breadwinner, on a contract he negotiated himself no less.


Everton (0.93) – Jordan Pickford (0.85)
That new deal signed in the midst of a relegation battle – Sean Dyche must be the world’s roughest-voiced smooth talker – is said to have dragged Pickford beyond Yerry Mina, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Alex Iwobi on the Goodison Park pay scale. Considering the state Everton would likely be in without their keeper, it ultimately seems fair enough.


Brighton (1.68) – Adam Lallana (1.56)
Tony Bloom and his team have barely put a solitary foot wrong for years but sticking bit-part Lallana at the tip of their wage structure was a choice. Perhaps a one-year contract extension included some revision of his terms. But it is worth pointing out that Brighton have only lost two of the 14 games Lallana has missed this season. And both were against Fulham, six months apart.