Liverpool expected to become first club with €100m annual net profit

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Tom Morgan

Liverpool are expected to become the first club in the world to report an annual net profit of more than €100 million (£88.3m), according to new estimates.

The record finances come largely thanks to a Champions League final spot worth €81.3m (£71.7m) and the sale of Philippe Coutinho in January 2018 to Barcelona, valued by some experts at €130m (£115m).

Having failed to qualify for Europe’s elite competition in 2016-17, the Champions League run will be recorded as pure top-line growth, according to calculations by the Inside World Football website.

Big-money signings including Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are likely to be spread over the length of their respective contracts for accounting purposes.

Turnover, which reached £364m in 2016-17, could soar to more than £450m, when accounts are published by Companies House in March, according to the estimate.

The calculations come after a Uefa report on club finances hinted Liverpool have broken profits record set by Leicester City in 2017.

“Uefa Champions League prize money of €82m drove Leicester City to the highest net profit in history in FY2017 (€98m), beating the previous record of €78m set by Tottenham Hotspur in FY2014 (with Liverpool FC set to break that record again in FY2018),” according to Uefa’s European Club Footballing Landscape.

The report also illustrates the Premier League’s financial dominance of European football thanks to multi-billion pound television rights deals. Thirteen English teams feature in the 30 wealthiest clubs across Europe, with Manchester United still topping the ranking despite comparative lack of success domestically or in the Champions League.

United’s projected revenue dipped marginally to around €676m (£597m), narrowly ahead of Real Madrid’s €675m  (£596m), according to the figures.

Manchester City were listed as fifth, Arsenal are seventh, Liverpool eight and Chelsea ninth, according to the Uefa’s European Club Footballing Landscape.

“Over the past 10 years highlighted in the report, English Premier League clubs have extended their revenue advantage, growing on average by €144m per club,” Uefa said.

The figures bring together detailed comparable analysis from 700 sets of audited statements over the last decade, but only include details up to and including the 2017 financial year.

Premier League clubs’ aggregate revenue was €5.3bn, comfortably more than La Liga (€2.9bn), Bundesliga (€2.8bn), Serie A (€2.1bn) and Ligue 1 (€1.6bn).

The first year of the current Premier League TV rights cycle fuelled the biggest gain over European rivals, with television revenue increasing by 47 per cent, currently totalling £2.8 bn in global rights pay packets. The league has already raised £8.3bn alone for 2019 to 2022 and could go as high as £9bn, a 20 per cent uplift on the previous deal.

Overall, the 38 English and German top-division clubs are responsible for 40 per cent of all top-division sponsorship.

The English top flight has the highest aggregate wage bills, but the depreciation of the pound sterling and strong double-digit growth in Spain and Germany has reduced the gap. English clubs paid 2.2 times the wages of La Liga clubs in 2016 but this has dropped to 1.8 times in 2017.

Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Crystal Palace, Leicester City and Southampton featured in the top 20 clubs ranked by wages. Of the 20 highest-paying clubs, only two clubs, Crystal Palace (79 per cent) and AS Roma, recorded a wage bill of more than 70 per cent of total revenue.

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