Italian clubs have reduced their wage bills to the level of four years ago, according to an investigation by the Gazzetta dello Sport.
UEFA’s Financial Fair Play initiative and the global economic crisis are both contributing to a reduction in the amount of money Italian clubs are willing to spend on players, although back-to-back Scudetto winners Juventus are still bucking the trend, paying over 10% of the wages of the entire Serie A.
Their wage bill -- an estimated €115 million -- is the highest in Italy, where a total of €912 million is spent on players’ salaries.
The total has fallen below €1 billion for the first time since the 2009-10 season, with AC Milan and Inter Milan having both significantly reduced their wage bills, although the possible takeover of the latter could release funds to propel them back into the Bianconeri’s category.
Juve have reinvested much of their recent prize money on the likes of Carlos Tevez, Angelo Ogbonna and Fernando Llorente as they seek to translate their domestic success into European glory.
Though Juve’s heavy investment in wages has translated into league titles over the last two years, the same cannot be said for Roma, who have the league’s highest-paid player among their ranks but missed out on a place in Europe this season. Daniele De Rossi is on a reported €6.5 million a year -- €1 million more than the next biggest earner, Gonzalo Higuain, Gazzetta claims.
Inter, another side without European football this season, continue to pay €5 million per annum to striker Diego Milito, who spent much of last season out injured and has yet to return to action this campaign. He still earns €500,000 a year more than Tevez.
Even Fiorentina and Napoli -- who both spent big this summer -- helped balance the books with the sales of Stevan Jovetic and Edinson Cavani respectively. Their wage bills, in spite of the arrivals of the likes of Mario Gomez and Higuain, have largely remained unaltered.
The trend is clear: Serie A is adapting to a more frugal climate and, at a time when Gareth Bale’s transfer from Tottenham to Real Madrid has broken the world record, it is losing ground on other top European leagues.