Manchester United are looking to end the 2019/20 season on a high.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men entered the recent three-month break amidst a purple patch and the Old Trafford faithful have been relieved to see that time away hasn't killed their momentum.
United still have the chance to win the Europa League and FA Cup, while their hopes of Champions League qualification are going strong as they trail fourth place by just five points.
However, not every player at the 'Theatre of Dreams' has been setting the pitch alight this season and there's still a quiet understand that Solskjaer has some tweaks to make.
While the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba have been on fire since the restart, we're not sure the same can be said of David de Gea and perhaps a few others if you're feeling harsh.
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Man Utd's 2019/20 squad
Nevertheless, we decided to take a new approach to categorising the United squad and used the data provided by spotrac to see how much money each player is earning.
From there, we've ranked the squad from 'very underpaid' to 'very overpaid' by taking the poles of wages at Old Trafford and imaging a fair world where people would be paid based on their form.
In other words, if we put a £100,000-a-week wage in 'underpaid', it's not us saying that footballers are being hard done by, rather that that player's wage in relation to their teammates' doesn't match up with their contextual importance.
Man Utd wage structure
Get it? Well, without further ado, here are our rankings of the United squad and their wages:
(Note: The wages of recent signings such as Bruno Fernandes and Daniel James remain unknown)
Aaron Wan-Bissaka - £90,000-a-week
You know, we nearly didn't put a single player in this category because, well, United have one of the chunkiest wage bills in world football and most of their stars are taking home a fat wad of cash.
But considering Wan-Bissaka has been in the top five of United's most important players this season, the fact he's only 11th on the club payroll seems a little bit harsh.
Andreas Pereira - £30,000-a-week
Eric Bailly - £80,000-a-week
'But Pereira is terrible!' we hear you cry. Sure, Pereira hasn't had the breakthrough season that many would have liked, but there's no way he should be virtually at the bottom of the pay structure.
As for Bailly, this one was a tough call. We feel as though his quality in defence makes him worthy of a six-figure pay day in relation to his teammates, though his penchant for injuries means it's a case of touch and go.
Marcus Rashford - £200,000-a-week
Harry Maguire - £189,904-a-week
Fred - £120,000-a-week
Diogo Dalot - £25,000-a-week
Victor Lindelof - £120,000-a-week
Nemanja Matic - £120,000-a-week
Jesse Lingard - £75,000-a-week
Rashford and Maguire are both in the top five highest-paid players at the club, which seems about right for any world-class side's top goalscorer and number one centre-back. No qualms from us.
The duo of Fred and Lindelof being on the middle-of-the-road sum of £120,000-a-week also feels spot on considering they're both regulars in the starting XI without ever setting the world alight.
We feel similarly about Matic, too, who narrowly dodges the 'overpaid' category by way of rescuing his United career with a string of impressive performances recently.
Lingard is far more valuable than zero Premier League goals and assists since late 2018 would suggest, but a rather paltry £75,000-a-week seems about right nonetheless.
And it's hard to disagree too much with Dalot being one of the lowest earns of the bunch as, despite undoubtedly having great talent, he's yet to live up to his billing on English shores.
Paul Pogba - £290,000-a-week
Anthony Martial - £250,000-a-week
Phil Jones - £75,000-a-week
Lee Grant - £30,000-a-week
Sergio Romero - £70,000-a-week
For starters, we're not saying Martial nor Pogba are in any way bad - they've been two stars of the return, after all - but something makes us feel uneasy about the fact they're paid sooooo far above the rest of the squad.
And should Martial be paid more than Rashford in our imaginary, completely fair world? Nope.
As for Jones, he's a much better defender than his internet meme status would have you believe, yet being paid close to what Wan-Bissaka and Bailly are pocketing makes this tier feel apt for him.
Grant on the same as Pereira despite having made a Premier League appearance for United? Hmm, maybe Grant deserved 'very overpaid', too...
Romero is arguably the best back-up goalkeeper in the world, though his wage has presumably been completely overblown by De Gea's and it seems scandalous that he nearly earns as much as Alisson Becker.
David de Gea - £375,000-a-week
Juan Mata - £160,000-a-week
De Gea is highest-paid player at the club by £85,000 every single week... let that sink in.
It might have been understandable two years ago when he was hoovering up POTY awards, but we challenge you to look through all his recent errors and say he deserves to be top dog with a straight face. No chance.
Then there's Mata, who we love, so this feels harsh. We think being the sixth highest earner is incongruous with his contribution to the teams these days, but 1% of that going to charity is something we can absolutely get behind.
So, imagine you're Ed Woodward for a second, how would you spread the wage pot if you could?
Would De Gea still be the highest-paid player by miles? Would Mata still be in the top six earners? Would Wan-Bissaka still be on five figures? There's plenty of questions to answer.
But considering their recent results for a second, we'll happily admit that their imperfect wage structure is certainly doing the business right now...News Now - Sport News