Chelsea's annual wage bill has soared to £172.5 million - almost £40 million more than the next highest payers Manchester City.
The figure for the year ending June 2010 is revealed in Chelsea's full annual accounts lodged with Companies House on Friday and shows a significant increase on the previous year.
In 2009, the club spent £165.6 million on wages but that sum included pay-offs worth £12.6 million to sacked manager Luiz Felipe Scolari and his assistants. Excluding the pay-offs, the rise in wages is £19.5 million and represents a 12.7% increase.
Manchester City's wage bill is £133.3 million, Manchester United's £131.7 million and Arsenal are fourth with £110 million spent annually on salaries, according to their most recent accounts.
Chelsea's wages are 82% of their turnover - more healthy than City's 106% - but way off United's level of 46% and Arsenal's of 49%.
The figures also confirm that Chelsea reported losses of £70.9 million compared to £44.4 million the previous year. The club indicated earlier this week that they believe they will halve their losses in the next financial year.
The latest accounts also reveal that Chelsea will be liable for £3.8 million extra in National Insurance contributions if HM Revenue and Customs succeeds in its legal case that image rights payments should be taxed as income.
If that is proved, the players themselves would be liable to pay any tax individually in relation to image rights.