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Which Premier League club has the highest wages bill?

The champions have the highest wage bill

The champions have the highest wage bill

Chelsea’s latest set of annual accounts have been revealed….and it confirms the Premier League champions have the highest wage bill in English football.

The Stamford Bridge club have embarked on a cost-cutting plan in recent years, with the sales of Juan Mata (£37.1m to Man Utd) and Romelu Lukaku (£28m to Everton) evidence that their free-spending days have been diluted a little.

Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho suggested the club's eagerness to embrace UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules forced them to find ways to trim their budgets, yet they are still paying huge wages to their star names.

A bumper new contract for midfielder Eden Hazard in 2015 contributed to a rising wage bill that totalled £215.6m, putting Chelsea well ahead of second placed side Manchester United (£203m).

Chelsea's accounts show that the estimated value of their playing squad has dropped from £349.7m from £353m, with modest activity in last summer's transfer window likely to reflect in healthier accounts for the 2015-16 business year.

Profits on player sales in these accounts were generated by the exits for Lukaku, Andre Schurrle and Ryan Bertrand, with the accounts also confirming that Blues owner Roman Abramovich put injected £46.7m into the club of his own cash.

Overall, Chelsea recorded a £23m net loss for the accounting period, but their costs are well under control compared to the early days of the Abramovich era at Stamford Bridge.

Here is a breakdown of the biggest wage bills in the Premier League:

1. Chelsea (£215.6m)

2. Manchester United (£203m)

3. Manchester City (£193.5m)

4. Arsenal (£192m)

Some of today’s transfer rumours are hard to believe

Hazard and Mata reunited at Old Trafford? It seems unlikely

Hazard and Mata reunited at Old Trafford? It seems unlikely

The January transfer window rumour mill in whirling in overdrive mode…..and some of the stories in today’s newspapers are very hard to believe.

The Daily Star seem determined to link a star player with a move to Manchester United every 24 hours - and today’s shining star is Chelsea’s Eden Hazard.

It seems increasingly likely that Hazard will be the subject of transfer interest from Real Madrid next summer, as they look to reshape their team following the probable departure of Cristiano Ronaldo.

As new Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane is a noted admirer of Hazard, links with the Belgium are predictable, yet the notion that he could end up at Old Trafford seems a little less likely.

Hazard already turned down an offer to sign for United when he moved to Chelsea from Lille back in 2012, so we don’t see any chance of the Blues selling their reigning Player of the Year to a Premier League rival any time soon.

Meanwhile, The Daily Telegraph are running the story that Real Madrid want Tottenham's Harry Kane (below) to replace Ronaldo at the Bernabeu next season.

Links with Real Madrid will probably be welcomed by Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, who did a remarkable job of draining a world record £86m out of the bank balance of the Spanish giants when he sold them Gareth Bale in the summer of 2013.

He would probably be willing to do business again if a similar amount of cash was thrown onto the negotiating table.

Fresh reports are suggesting that Chelsea will renew their bid to sign Everton defender John Stones, even though we understand that there is no chance of the England defender leaving Goodison Park unless a huge offer is lodged next summer.

Meanwhile, the Daily Express are running the story that Arsenal could be successful in a move for Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this month – if they offer £60m for the French forward.

Take your pick on which of those transfer will become reality, but none of them seem too likely any time soon.

Video – Mata and Herrera play a game of ‘most likely’

Mata and Herrera team up off the pitch

Mata and Herrera team up off the pitch

Manchester United stars Juan Mata and Ander Herrera have cemented their best pals act after taking part in a new Youtube video together.

Mata's eagerness to embrace social media have been evident during his time in English football with Chelsea and United, with this latest video certain to be a hit with his fans.

Check out this video as United's Spanish duo answer some questions about themselves: