First-team players at Manchester United are earning on average half a million pounds a year more than Premier League champions Manchester City, according to the Global Sports Salaries Survey.
Meanwhile, Barcelona have become the first sports team to pay an average yearly salary of more than £10m.
Since the start of the season, the only teams they have beaten in the league have been Leicester, Burnley, Watford, Newcastle, Everton and Bournemouth. In that time, they have lost to Brighton, Tottenham, West Ham and Manchester City.
How bad has Manchester Uniteds 2018 actually been?
Clubs in the Premier League are paying, on average, more than top-flight football clubs in any other country per game, although crickets Indian Premier League and American footballs NFL top the spending on a per-game basis.
Manchester United have made their worst start to a season in 28 years and Jose Mourinhos side have scored only eight goals in eight Premier League games at Old Trafford.
Giggs urges Man Utd not to sack Mourinho: It wont change anything!
Manchester City may have won the Premier League last season, but they come in behind Manchester United this term on wages with the Old Trafford club paying an average of £6,534,654 per year to first-team players.
Citys yearly bill comes in at £5,993,000, followed by Chelsea (£5,020,004), Liverpool (£4,862,963), Arsenal (£4,853,130) and Tottenham (£3,515,778).
Everton and West Ham follow closely behind Spurs, while Cardiff, Huddersfield and Burnley make up the bottom three – the Bluebirds are the only Premier League club to come in under £1m for the year.
A 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace at Old Trafford at the weekend has left United seventh in the Premier League table, 14 points behind leaders Manchester City and seven behind fourth-placed Chelsea.
That said, despite Burnleys average annual first-team wage of £1,603,197 placing them third-bottom of the Premier League pile, the Clarets are still paying more than the likes of Ligue 1s Monaco and Bundesliga side RB Leipzig.
“The two Manchester clubs, United and City, remain clear of the rest in basic pay terms according to our calculations,” say Sporting Intelligence, who conduct the survey.
“We thought last year that whichever of the pair achieved the most on the pitch would end up with the larger of the two overall wage bills (all staff) for 2017-18.
United face Young Boys in the Champions League on Tuesday before returning to Premier League matters and a trip to Southampton on Saturday.
“In fact City won the league and had wages of £260m and United faltered but paid out £296m.”
City finished as champions ahead of United, but while Pep Guardiolas side top the league again this campaign Jose Mourinhos outfit have slipped to seventh.
Sporting Intelligence says this was largely down to Uniteds return to the Champions League, but do point out some of Manchester Citys wage bill appears under the City Football Group.
Wales boss Giggs, however, believes that there is no need to seek an alternative and has backed Mourinho to recover the situation.
Not only have Barcelona become the first sports club in the world to pay an average of more than £10m a year to first-team players, the Spanish giants have also broken the £200,000-per-week barrier for the first time.
On average, first-teamers at the Nou Camp earn £10,454,259 a year, which translates to an average £201,043 per week.
European champions and La Liga rivals Real Madrid are second on the list with a yearly average of £8,089,582, with Italian side Juventus the third-highest paying football club at £6,726,615 on average per year.
Despite Barca and Reals dominance on the pay scale, the average Premier League yearly salary remains 36% higher than that of La Liga and almost double the amount paid to players in Italys Serie A.
Basketballs Oklahoma City Thunder are the highest-paying non-football club, closely followed by Golden State Warriors, while outside of football and basketball it is Major League Baseballs Chicago Cubs who lead the way as the 30th highest-paying sports team.
With just 14 games per season, the IPL tops the charts for the average pay per player, per game at £274,624, while the NFL comes in at £138,354 over 16 games.
In comparison, Premier League teams are paying their players an average of £78,703 per match during a 38-game season.
“Two notable things happened with IPL wages in 2018: they got bigger, and the outlay by different teams got closer together,” says Sporting Intelligence.
“A new five-year TV rights deal, concluded last year for £1.96bn for 2018-2022, has come on stream. That guarantees the medium-term future of an event that has often struggled for certainty.
“Uniquely, IPL salaries are pro-rated from weekly pay to annual pay because, again uniquely, IPL players typically have multiple different professional employers concurrently.
“The vast majority of other teams in other leagues contract their players for at least a year at a time. You simply dont get NFL stars playing a season in the USA then another in Germany in the same year; or a Premier League player appearing freelance for six different teams in a campaign.”
Man Utd players were put through their paces before the Champions League fixture vs Young Boys on Tuesday night.