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Manchester United lead English surge in study of Europe's most valuable clubs

The Premier League's growing financial muscle is highlighted in the latest study of leading European clubs by professional services firm KPMG, with Manchester United taking top spot for most valuable club.

Now in its second year, the report looked at the finances of 39 clubs based on their popularity on social media channels, revenues for the 2014/15 and 2015/16 seasons, and success in European competitions.

The clubs were then ranked by enterprise value, an accounting measure used to assess how much it would cost to buy any given club or company as it includes a business's total debt, with KPMG using its own formula to reach these valuations.

Despite two relatively disappointing seasons on the pitch between 2014 and 2016, United's value surged clear of Real Madrid and Barcelona last year, becoming the first club to break the 3billion euros (£2.7billion) mark for enterprise value.

United not only make more money than any other football club in the world, they also have nearly half a billion pounds of debt.

Bayern Munich remain in fourth place, while Manchester City edge past Arsenal to take fifth spot, both with enterprise values of just under £1.7billion. Alisher Usmanov's recently rebuffed bid for the latter valued the North London club at £1.54billion.

Chelsea, Liverpool, Juventus and Spurs fill the next four positions, which means six of the 10 are from the Premier League.

In a statement, KPMG's global head of sports Andrea Sartori said: "The aggregate value of Europe's leading football clubs suggests that the overall value of football, as an industry, has grown.

"While this is partially explained by football's broadcasting boom, the internationalisation of the clubs' commercial operations, their investment into privately owned and modern facilities, and overall more sustainable management practices are also key reasons for this growth."

"In terms of media rights value, the English Premier League sits comfortably at the top of European leagues, although other major leagues have outlined well-defined strategies to compete for the attention of global fans."

Last year's Premier League winners Leicester City (16th) and Everton (17th) are the two other English clubs to make KPMG's top 32, with Scottish champions Celtic being among seven non-ranked "runners up".

With eight teams in the top 32, English clubs lead the way, a trend that should only continue next year as the Premier League's improved 2016-19 domestic TV deal is reflected in the accounts, as well as the increased overseas broadcast deals and commercial revenues.

For example, English clubs hold five of the top 10 positions for shirt-sponsorship revenue, too, with United in first place, ahead of Barca, Bayern, Chelsea and Real.

In fact, the Premier League would be even more dominant in an enterprise value table that did not take into account UEFA's five-year coefficient, as KPMG does to establish sporting success.

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