A Uefa report has predicted that Liverpool will break the world record for the highest net profit made in a season by a football club.
Uefa’s club licensing benchmarking report has forecast that Liverpool will post a new record high when they publish their 2017-18 accounts, which is expected to be in March. The existing record is held by Leicester City, who made an £80 million profit (£92.5 million before tax) the season after they won the Premier League title.
Liverpool’s profits could even break the £100 million mark, though the club has used the income to reinvest in players and facilities.
The club’s income has been boosted by three important factors. First, there has been a surge in revenue from player sales, notably that of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for £142 million in January last year.
Although Liverpool also spent heavily in the 2017-18 season — with Virgil van Dijk joining for £75 million, plus Mohamed Salah, Naby Keïta, Andrew Robertson and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain — only a proportion of their transfer fees will appear in the accounts for that year. For clubs’ accounts, all transfer fees are spread out across the length of a player’s contract — a process known as amortisation.
The fees for more recent signings such as the goalkeeper Alisson and the midfielder Fabinho will not be included in the 2017-18 figures.
The second important factor is the boost in income from Liverpool reaching the Champions League final last season. Liverpool earned £72 million from the competition, twice as much as Manchester United and £14 million more than the next highest English club, Chelsea.
The third factor which gives English clubs a head start over those in Europe is the income from the Premier League’s domestic and overseas TV deals. The existing deal runs from 2016 to the end of this season and has been worth a minimum £100 million to every club in the top flight, with the league winners able to earn up to £160 million.
Liverpool’s outgoings will also have increased. As well as their signings, the club’s wage bill is expected to go up from the £207.5 million figure of 2016-17. Player wages at most of the big six clubs have risen by between 10 and 13 per cent for the following year.
Uefa’s benchmarking report has highlighted the growing financial dominance of the Premier League over the past ten years. The revenues of the 20 English clubs make up 27 per cent of all the revenue in Europe’s top flights, compared to 14 per cent for Spain’s La Liga when in 2008 it was 22 per cent.
The Premier League clubs have €1.8 billion (£1.6 billion) more TV money than in 2008 and their share has increased “largely at the expense of countries outside the top ten, whose share has fallen from 18 per cent to 12 per cent”, says the report.
Leicester’s previous record came from revenue from the club playing in the Champions League for the first time, as well as it being the first year of the new Premier League TV deals. Spurs’ record profits were helped by the sale of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for £85 million in 2013.