ALBION'S value soared to £224 million in their first season in the Premier League.

It placed them 15th in financial terms – the same as their finishing position – but is still well short of the £300 million plus investment in the club by owner-chairman Tony Bloom.

The figures are revealed in a report by the University of Liverpool, where Albion fan Kieran Maguire is a lecturer in football finance.

The Seagulls' value is higher than arch rivals Crystal Palace, Watford, Bournemouth and two of the relegated clubs, West Brom and Swansea.

The report says: "Brighton, like Huddersfield (14th £231 million), made survival their objective last season in their first Premier League season. They spent more on signings in 2017/18 than in the club's previous 117 seasons added together.

"Whilst £57 million was a significant player investment for Brighton it was still modest by Premier League standards."

Only six clubs spent less and the domination of the 'Big Six' is increasing. They were responsible for £10.9 billion (74%) of the overall value of clubs of £14.7 billion.

Manchester City (£2,364 million) replaced United (£2,087 million) as the most valuable club as higher wages and lower profits took their toll at Old Trafford.

Sunday's hosts Arsenal have dropped from third to sixth, their value falling by nearly a quarter to £1,368 million due to missing out on Champions League qualification.

While revenue in the Premier League rose by £253 million, this was outstripped by a total wage increase of £356 million as several mid-ranking clubs suffered falls in their value.

The report concludes: "The Big Six clubs continue to be very valuable and their dominance of revenue streams is likely to ensure that the gap between themselves and the remaining clubs in the Premier League is maintained.

"Cost control is proving to be very difficult for all clubs in the division, especially in terms of wages and this may restrict future growth in the value of clubs especially with broadcast revenue growth slowing.

"Wages as a proportion of revenue fell to the lowest figure in a decade in 2016/17 when the new broadcast deal commenced but increased in 2017/18 and could easily exceed 60 per cent in the next season."