Ed Woodward is the Manchester United executive vice-chairman, and runs the day-to-day operations at the club. Photo: Reuters

Manchester United narrowly pipped Real Madrid to remain the top revenue-generating club in the world as Premier League sides underlined their growing financial clout, Deloitte’s “Money League” report said on Tuesday.

It is the 10th time United have topped Deloitte’s list, with revenue in 2016/17 of €676 million – just €1.7 million ahead of Spanish giants Real.

United on Monday confirmed the signing of Chile striker Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal in a deal that is expected to make him the Premier League’s highest-paid player.

Barcelona – one of Sanchez’s former clubs – are third in the 21st edition of the list compiled by the British-based business advisory firm, followed by Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Arsenal.

Combined revenue for the top 20 Money League clubs in the 2016/17 season grew six percent to €7.9 billion, a new record.

United’s Europa League victory was crucial to their financial performance, with Real Madrid’s figures boosted by winning the Champions League and La Liga.

A record 10 English clubs feature in the top 20, generating a total revenue of €3.8 billion, helped by income from the first season of the current record Premier League broadcast rights deal.

Broadcast revenue is now the largest individual revenue stream for the Money League clubs, making up 45 percent of total revenue, and there is increasing speculation that the likes of Amazon and Facebook could become serious players, potentially giving a fresh cash injection.

“The Deloitte Football Money League has a particularly English feel this year and with the new broadcast deal and UEFA competition performance driving broadcast revenue growth of over half a billion pounds for those in the top 20, it doesn’t come as a surprise,” said Tim Bridge, senior manager in the Sports Business Group at Deloitte.

“As the Premier League is currently in the middle of its rights tender for the next cycle from 2019/20, the results of this will be crucial to determining the long-term composition of the Money League.”

A separate study released earlier this month showed Premier League leaders Manchester City have greater financial muscle than any other club in world football, with Arsenal second and United in seventh place.

The Soccerex Football Finance 100 ranked the world’s top teams based on both their playing and fixed assets, money in the bank, owner potential investment and debt.

Deloitte Sports Business Group senior consultant Timothy Bridge told AFP that the figures show the impact of the current Premier League broadcast deal, which came into effect in 2016/17.

“United’s revenue growth and their position at the top is underpinned by the uplift that all Premier League clubs benefited from, and while the Europa League might previously not have delivered the same level of financial return, winning the competition was critical in keeping them top.”

But he said the question of whether Premier League clubs could maintain their dominant position would depend on the value of the next deal, which will start in 2019/20.

“We’ve 70 percent growth the last two cycles and if this happens again then undoubtedly the Money League will become even more English-focused. However, if there is more moderate growth, then it may allow others from other countries to move into, or up, the Money League.  

“A new German broadcast deal has commenced this season, and that will have an impact as will any Spanish deals in the future.

“Also, the changes to the format of the Champions League (where four clubs from the four top-ranked countries automatically make the group stages) will likely give boosts to clubs outside of England, particularly in Italy.”

Deloitte Football Money League 2016-2017

1 Manchester United €676.3 million

2 Real Madrid €674.6m

3 Barcelona €648.3m

4 Bayern Munich €587.8m

5 Manchester City €527.7m

6 Arsenal €487.6m

7 Paris Saint-Germain €486.2m

8 Chelsea €428m

9 Liverpool €424.2m

10 Juventus €405.7m

11 Tottenham Hotspur €355.6m

12 Borussia Dortmund €332.6m

13 Atletico Madrid €272.5m

14 Leicester City €271.1m

15 Inter Milan €262.1m

16 Schalke €230.2m

17 West Ham €213.3m

18 Southampton €212.1m

19 Napoli €200.7m

20 Everton €199.2m