On the one hand, you have what is widely considered to be the most competitive top-flight of domestic European football, which is greatly helped by the stacks of cash pumped into each club in the competition. On the other hand, there’s a league in a nation known for throwing huge sums of money into sports but is best-known as a retirement payday for the better older players in European football.
While the Premier League is known as the biggest of big-money leagues, Major League Soccer certainly boasts its own big-money bravado: legendary names wouldn’t cross the Atlantic to play football is they weren’t getting paid hefty wages. So, which of the two leagues – one of which awards its winner the ‘World Cup’ – pays its players the most, and how do Everton’s highest-paid players compare to those of the MLS?
How well do the league’s pay?
There will always be a tremendous amount of cash at the highest level of popular domestic sports. Still, there’s a tremendous difference between the average annual pay of Premier League players and MLS players. In the extensive study into player salaries of Premier League and MLS players, a gulf in difference between the two leagues was found. For a start, Premier League clubs paid a total of $1.97 billion in player salaries in 2019/20, while the MLS only put up $288 million in player salaries in its equivalent 2019 campaign.
So, the MLS pays its players an eighth of the total of wages that the Premier League pays. But, looking closer at the club-to-club wage bills, the divide is even more apparent. At the top of the table of average annual player salaries in the Premier League sits Manchester City. The 2018/19 champions paid an average of $8.7 million per player annually, whereas the highest-paying MLS club, Toronto FC, only needed to put up $758,346.
The popularity of football in the US and UK directly influences the amount that clubs can pay, as does the global reach of the leagues, but another hindering factor for the MLS is the salary cap. In the North American league, all MLS teams have to keep their wage bills under an $11.6 million cap, which was pumped up from $8.5 million for this season. In the Premier League, clubs can effectively spend as much as they can afford.
Comparing Everton’s wages to the MLS
Earlier this year, LA Galaxy signed Mexican striker Javier Hernández in a deal which made him the highest-paid player in the MLS. Said contract earns ‘Chicharito’ a guaranteed $7.2 million annually through to 2022. This means that he’ll earn £105,845 ($138,461) per week. On the list of the highest-paid Premier League players, this wouldn’t even place Hernández in the top-50.
As shown in the list of the English top-flight’s biggest earners, to land in the top-50, players have to earn at least £110,000 ($144,454) per week, with Hector Bellerin, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Jorginho, Olivier Giroud, and Kyle Walker occupying that slot. Three Everton players broke into this list, one of whom hasn’t even been a first-team regular this season. Both Bernard and Yerry Mina take home £120,000 ($157,587) in salary each week, with André Gomes just behind with his £112,212 ($146,998) wages.
The highest-paid player of the MLS doesn’t rank too far behind the biggest Premier League earners. However, aspects like popularity and the presence of a salary cap stop the North American league from paying its players anywhere near as much as they do in English football overall.