The 2020/21 Premier League season was a challenge for many teams, with a shortened preseason meaning that clubs had far narrower window to get players rested, recovered and then fit again to hit the new round of 38 games without the risk of injury.
To crunch the numbers and find out how much injured players really cost their clubs, we worked with Premier Injuries to calculate the number of weeks missed, the players’ salaries, and which players missed the most time.
The impact of such an accelerated preseason was profound: a total of 198 players missed games through injury, amounting to 13,609 collective days on the sideline. The cost? £117.6m, equivalent to the third most expensive player ever.
Liverpool had the worst season from an injury perspective, paying more wages to injured players (£22.2 million) than any other team in the league. Their players also missed the most combined days due to injury (1,477 days). Additionally, the Reds also saw the most expensive injury in the league (Virgil Van Dijk, £6.7 million), as well as the new signing who cost the most whilst injured (Thiago Alcântara, £2.1 million).
Not to take away from Manchester City’s dominance throughout the season, but for Liverpool to top our injury table so emphatically will almost certainly have hampered their attempts to compete for the title.
At the opposite end of the scale, Arsenal experienced the fewest injuries, with only three out-of-action players costing them £3.5 million. Having had such a lacklustre season by their standards, finishing eighth on 61 points, it’s clear that other factors of their game – players, tactics and strategy – must be scrutinised rather than being able to lay the blame with injuries.
Despite suffering 10 injuries, West Brom spent the least on injured players’ wages, at only £1.9 million, reflecting the tight salary budgets they operated with having been promoted from the Championship the year prior without spending big on new transfers.
To see how your favourite team faired, check below:
Most expensive injury: Thomas Partey (thigh injuries) – £1.5 million
Longest injury: Thomas Partey – 67 days
Most expensive new signing: Thomas Partey – £1.5 million
Most expensive injury: Jack Grealish (shin injury) – £1.4 million
Longest injury: Kortney Hause (foot and groin injuries) – 154 days
Most expensive new signing: Ross Barkley (hamstring injury) – £857K
Brighton & Hove Albion
Most expensive injury: Solly March (Knee cartilage injury) – £651K
Longest injury: Tariq Lamptey (hamstring injuries) – 201 days
Most expensive new signing: Danny Welbeck (knee injuries) – £216K
Most expensive injury: Ashley Barnes (thigh injury) – £459K
Longest injury: Kevin Long (Achillies injury) – 108 days
Most expensive new signing: Dale Stephens (hamstring injury) – £272K
Most expensive injury: N’Golo Kante (hamstring injury) – £1.2 million
Longest injury: Thiago Silva (thigh injuries) – 56 days
Most expensive new signing: Thiago Silva – £840K
Most expensive injury: Mamadou Sakho (quadriceps injury) – £2.5 million
Longest injury: Nathan Ferguson (Achillies and thigh injuries) – 208 days
Most expensive new signing: Nathan Ferguson – £1 million
Most expensive injury: James Rodriguez (calf injuries) – £1.9 million
Longest injury: Fabian Delph (tendon and thigh injuries) – 123 days
Most expensive new signing: James Rodriguez – £1.9 million
Most expensive injury: Tom Cairney (knee injury) – £713K
Longest injury: Tom Cairney – 185 days
Most expensive new signing: Mario Lemina (knock) – £557K
Most expensive injury: Diego Llorente (groin and muscular injuries) – £899K
Longest injury: Diego Llorente – 121 days
Most expensive new signing: Diego Llorente – £899K
Most expensive injury: Harvey Barnes (knee cartilage injury) – £1.1 million
Longest injury: James Justin (ACL injury) – 145 days
Most expensive new signing: Timothy Castagne (hamstring injury) – £517K
Most expensive injury: Virgil Van Dijk (ACL injury) – £6.7 million
Longest injury: Virgil Van Dijk – 261 days
Most expensive new signing: Thiago Alcântara (knee injury) – £2.1 million
Most expensive injury: Nathan Ake (muscular injury) – £1.1 million
Longest injury: Nathan Ake – 77 days
Most expensive new signing: Nathan Ake – £1.1 million
Most expensive injury: Anthony Martial (knee injury) – £2.5 million
Longest injury: Anthony Martial – 99 days
Most expensive new signing: N/A
Most expensive injury: Callum Wilson (hamstring injuries) – £979K
Longest injury: Ryan Fraser (groin and hamstring injuries) – 104 days
Most expensive new signing: Callum Wilson – £979K
Most expensive injury: Jack O’Connell (knee injury) – £1 million
Longest injury: Jack O’Connell – 287 days
Most expensive new signing: Oliver Burke (broken foot) – £157K
Most expensive injury: Theo Walcott (hamstring injury) – £1 million
Longest injury: William Smallbone (ACL and quadriceps injuries) – 218 days
Most expensive new signing: Theo Walcott – £1 million
Most expensive injury: Giovani Lo Celso (hamstring injury) – £1.1 million
Longest injury: Japhet Tanganga (thigh and ankle injuries) – 105 days
Most expensive new signing: Matt Doherty (muscular injury) – £381K
West Bromwich Albion
Most expensive injury: Robert Snodgrass (back injury) – £483K
Longest injury: Branislav Ivanovic (hamstring injury) – 93 days
Most expensive new signing: Robert Snodgrass – £483K
West Ham United
Most expensive injury: Andriy Yarmolenko (MCL injuries) – £957K
Longest injury: Arthur Masuaku (knee injuries) – 152 days
Most expensive new signing: N/A
Most expensive injury: Raul Jimenez (fractured skull) – £3.1 million
Longest injury: Raul Jimenez – 218 days
Most expensive new signing: Fernando Marcal (groin and calf injuries) – £675K
With a more regular finish to the 2020/21 season and a proper off-season break for most players, clubs should hopefully have more time to ease their squads back into action more gradually, mitigating any accumulated strains and niggles from the previous campaign. That said, any players who competed at Euro 2020 may well need special treatment and a bespoke pre-season plan to ensure they are properly rested before setting foot on the pitch once more. As is clear, the cost to both them and their clubs has the potential to be higher than ever.
Whilst most people will never put their body through the extensive stresses and strains of a Premier League season, giving your body time to recover from exercise is essential for avoiding injury, especially if you’re training regularly. One way to help your body recover is through hydrotherapy. You can find out more about our hot tubs and hydrotherapy products here: https://www.jacuzzi.co.uk/hot-tubs
*Data based on the top 250 injuries resulting in missed time. Salary information courtesy of Salary Sport. Salary data does not include injury clauses or settlements.