The Manchester derby will be the most expensive game ever played

Manchester City's Raheem Sterling, right, celebrates with team-mate Fernandinho. Photo / AP.
Manchester City's Raheem Sterling, right, celebrates with team-mate Fernandinho. Photo / AP.

Saturday's Manchester derby at Old Trafford is set to be the most expensive game in history, with United and City boasting sides worth a combined total of more than £600million.

With new bosses on both sides of the city, United manager Jose Mourinho and City chief Pep Guardiola both splashed the cash this summer in a bid to earn bragging rights over their rivals and challenge for the Premier League crown.

The spending splurge, which has seen the likes of Paul Pogba and John Stones move to the red and blue sides of the city respectively, means hundreds of millions of pounds worth of talent will take to the field for what is undoubtedly the biggest game of the season so far.

While both managers may yet make some late changes, Pogba's expected presence in the United midfield following his £89m switch back to England means Mourinho's side will be worth a total of £328.1m.

That far exceeds the value of City's possible team, with six of Mourinho's likely side having cost the club £30m or more when they arrived at Old Trafford. Former Chelsea boss Mourinho has never been afraid to splash the cash and after taking over at United this summer, he's done so again in a bid to return the club to the top.

Pogba's move - the deal is worth up to £100m with agents' fees included - was the dominant story of the summer window but Eric Bailly's £31.5m arrival from Villarreal was another transfer brokered by Mourinho.

Luke Shaw is another £30m man expected to line up in the United defence, with the attacking trio of Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Anthony Martial having cost the Premier League giants a total of more than £100m.

All three are expected to start behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic, another summer arrival who moved to United on a free from French side Paris Saint-Germain.

United's stellar cast list of names has seen the stardust return to the club but City aren't exactly short of talent either.

Guardiola forked out £168m on Stones, Leroy Sane, Ilkay Gundogan, Gabriel Jesus and Nolito in the window just closed as he stamped his mark on the Etihad squad.

England defender Stones, a £47.5m arrival from Everton and Nolito, who has hit the ground running in England, are the two men to have gone straight into Guardiola's side following their arrival at the club.

Both are likely to start at Old Trafford, with £13.8m man Nolito in contention to begin the game up front in the absence of suspended star man Sergio Aguero.

Raheem Sterling, who cost City £44m when he joined from Liverpool in 2015, is another contender to begin in the lead attacking role following his stunning start to the new season.

Wherever he plays, Sterling is an almost certain starter with £54.8m Belgian international Kevin De Bruyne the most expensive player in the City side.

De Bruyne has proved money well spent for City so far but alongside Fernandinho (£30m) and David Silva (£25m), the former Chelsea man is likely to be part of a City midfield worth just shy of £170m.

The £600m total figure, of course, doesn't take into account the value of the respective men on both benches, including £26m United winger Henrikh Mkhitaryan. It's worth noting too that the absent Aguero, who cost £38m, would have been a certain starter had he been available.

It all adds up to a game worth serious cash in terms of the talent on display, once again showcasing the Premier League as the richest league in the world.

- Daily Mail

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