Premier League clubs spent a staggering £117 million on the wages of injured players in the 2020/21 season, a new study has found.
Research, conducted by hot tub and hydrotherapy specialists, Jacuzzi, with data provided by Premier Injuries, revealed the players and clubs with the highest rates of injuries last season, as well as how much was spent paying players who were unavailable for selection.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, clubs and players had to contend with a shortened preseason, with far less time to recover from the previous season and gradually build match fitness.
It may come as no surprise to Liverpool fans that it was the Reds who had the most injury-hit season, spending over £22 million on injured player wages, with squad members missing a combined 1,477 days (the equivalent of over four years) due to injury.
Across the city, Everton also had their own injury crisis, with 13 players missing a combined 710 days through injury, costing the Toffees over £9.5 million in wages – the second highest total in the league.
Interestingly, Crystal Palace spent the fourth highest amount on the wages of injured players, paying approximately £9 million over the season, just behind third place Manchester United who spent £9.2 million.
Despite having a smaller wage bill than some of their rivals, the Eagles saw 15 players miss a combined 1,300 days through injury, the second highest for both days and number of players, behind Liverpool.
At the opposite end of the scale, newly promoted clubs Leeds United, Fulham and West Bromwich Albion, spent relatively little on the wages of injured players, likely due to their new Premier League status and comparatively lower salaries.
Virgil Van Dijk, who missed 261 days due to a serious knee injury, was the single most expensive player, with his wages adding up to £6.7 million whilst out with injury – one which not only cost the then reigning champions a large sum of cash but potentially also their chances of retaining the title.
Fellow Liverpool defenders Joel Matip and Joe Gomez also missed over 200 days each, with their wages during these periods totalling £6.3 million.
However, it was Jack O’Connell, centre back at Sheffield United, who missed the most time through injury. He was injured for 287 days due to a knee problem that required surgery, costing the Blades over £1 million in wages.
In terms of new signings, it was Liverpool again that paid the most wages to an injured player, with Thiago Alcântara, bought in the 2020 summer transfer window from Bayern Munich, missing for 74 days, and costing the club over £2.1 million.
Nathan Ferguson, who joined Crystal Palace from West Brom in July 2020, was the new signing who missed the most amount of time through injury.
The defender missed 208 days and did not make a single league appearance in the 20/21 season after signing for the club on a free transfer in July 2020.
Ben Dinnery, Injury Analyst at Premier Injuries, said: “Perhaps unsurprisingly, we saw a sharp rise in the number of reported injuries, especially at the beginning of the season.
However, this did taper off as the season went on, and the expected glut of injuries around the hectic Christmas and New Year period did not occur, likely due to several match postponements caused by Covid 19.”
Alex Frascina, Content Manager at Jacuzzi, said: “Premier League clubs have access to some of the best training facilities in the world, but despite this, it’s impossible to completely remove the risk of injury, especially at elite performance levels when recovery time is limited.
“It’s clear that having access to advanced recovery methods, including hydrotherapy and sports massage as well as physiotherapists and medical staff, allows teams to avoid many potential injuries caused by the stresses of a Premier League season, whether that be a typically congested fixture schedule or, like in 2020, having to effectively play back-to-back seasons.
“Whilst the average gym goer or fitness enthusiast will never put their body through the same exercise regime, it’s important to remember the benefits of allowing your body to properly recover in between your exercise sessions.”
To see this research in full, including statistics for each Premier League team, visit: https://blog.jacuzzi.co.uk