Manchester United tipped to beat Real Madrid and Barcelona as richest club in the world

Real Madrid and Barcelona claimed the top two spots based on 2014/15 revenues

Manchester United are expected to overtake Real Madrid and Barcelona to become the world’s highest- earning football club over the next 12 months, despite their failure to progress to this season’s Champions League knockout stages.

Based on 2014-15 revenues, United have slipped one position to third in the 19th edition of the Football Money League, published today by Deloitte.

But while Real and Barcelona occupy the top two positions with 2014-15 revenues of £439m and £426.6m respectively, Deloitte is tipping United to claim top spot in the Football Money League for the first time in over a decade next year.

This is because United’s coffers will be swelled by the £75m-a-year, 10-year deal with kit manufacturer Adidas which began at the start of this season, and a similarly lucrative £53m-a-year shirt-sponsorship agreement with Chevrolet.

For 2014-15, United are one of nine Premier League clubs to claim a place in the top 20, with West Ham United climbing into Europe’s money-making elite for the first time, with a total revenue of £122.4m during the 2014-15 season.

United’s annual revenue dropped from £433.2m in 2013-14 to £395.2m due to the club’s absence from the Champions League last season, but Tim Bridge, senior manager at Deloitte  was confident about their future. “Despite a reduction in revenue year-on-year, the fact that Manchester United remain in the top three of the Money League demonstrates the underlying strength of the club’s business model,” he said.

“The return to Champions League football, as well as the commencement of a number of significant commercial partnerships, will only strengthen the business in 2015-16. With this in mind, it would not be surprising to see United top next year’s Money League for the first time in 12 years, with the club forecasting revenues of around £500m.”

According to Deloitte, the 20 highest-earning football clubs in the world generated €6.6bn (£5bn) of revenue last season, an increase of eight per cent on the previous year. Real, who face a worldwide transfer ban for the next two transfer windows, top the table for the 11th year in succession. But the growing financial might of the Premier League is borne out by five clubs – United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool – claiming a place in the top 10, and Bridge predicts that the upcoming round of broadcast deals will see more Premier League clubs cementing their places in the top 30.

Despite dominating German football and becoming a Champions League powerhouse alongside Real and Barcelona, Bayern Munich have dropped from third to fifth place in this season’s Deloitte list, with French champions Paris Saint-Germain climbing above the Bundesliga leaders.

Although Juventus held on to a top-10 position, with Roma entering the top 20 for the first time, Internazionale and Milan both slid down the table, with Inter dropping to 19th position having generated just £3m more in revenue than West Ham.

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