Josef Martinez

Biggest MLS salaries in 2022: Insigne and Vela lead the way

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Money and Soccer? Surely not. Yep, even what is a minority sport in the US is still incredibly lucrative for the players and franchises. The highest paid MLS players in 2022 are making many millions.

Highest paid MLS players in 2022

Lorenzo Insigne reminded us all of that by deciding to leave his boyhood club at the end of his contract to play for Toronto FC. Subsequently, he earned more money than Napoli could ever pay him.

Let’s trek the dollar-laden path across the top MLS salaries this season.

Lorenzo Insigne – $6.3 million

It’s no surprise that our cover boy tops this list. Estimated to be earning over 6 million US dollars a year is not just good money. It’s potentially one of the biggest MLS contracts of all time.

All soccer fans with half an eye on Serie A and the 2020 Euros know just how good he is and how he’ll undoubtedly improve what has been an inconsistent franchise of late.


The problem is that his playing time might short-change the Canadian franchise. He’ll only be available after Napoli’s season finishes around May. Furthermore, there’s a good chance that Roberto Mancini will call him up to the Italian national team during the regular season, given he played a large part in Italy’s triumph in the summer.

Carlos Vela – $6.3 million

Los Angeles FC captain Carlos Vela sits toward the apex of MLS salaries in 2022.

Unlike Insigne however, Vela has truly shown his worth in MLS. Having earned MLS top scorer with 32 goals in 2018 and recognition as the division’s MVP, this Mexican forward has made LAFC a very credible contender despite only joining the league a few years ago.

Javier Hernandez – $6 million

Across Los Angeles is another Mexican in Javier Hernandez – or Chicharito.

The former Manchester United forward became the highest-paid player upon his arrival at LA Galaxy but hasn’t been as prolific as his compatriot, clocking much fewer goals on average.


Gonzalo Higuain – $5.7 million

As Inter Miami’s top earner, Gonzalo Higuain was one of the key reasons that the new franchise soared up the rankings for biggest salaries despite playing very little football. Higuain joined from a Juventus side that hadn’t necessarily used him effectively during his four-year stay in Turin.

All involved thought a move to a club with substantially different goals to a UEFA Champions League contender would benefit the striker. Despite a slow start, he found his feet after a full season – scoring 12 times in 30 appearances.

Alejandro Pozuelo – $4.6 million

Despite a less glamourous career than those above on this list, Alejandro Pozuelo enjoyed relative fortune at Genk in the Belgian Pro League. He’s kept up similar form since joining Toronto to ensure he’s still one of the highest paid MLS players in 2022.

The onus will be on him and the present roster at BMO Field to ensure that Insigne isn’t walking into a rescue job. When he gets the chance to play in tandem with the Italian international, Toronto’s midfield will surely frighten other sides.

Josef Martinez – $3.8 million

Josef Martinez’s 31 goals in 2018 went a long way to ensuring silverware for Atlanta United as the club lifted the MLS Cup in just its second MLS season. The Venezuelan has backed up his top-earning contract with consistent goal threat as his firepower led the team to double cup success in 2019 with US Open Cup and Campeones Cup victories.

However, he may be subject to a salary review given recent performances. The franchise had a dreadful 2020 by comparison to the standard it set in its infancy. The 2021 season wasn’t much better as Josef Martinez struggled to get 12 goals when he’d normally achieve more than double that in a season.

Jozy Altidore – $3.6 million

Despite an incredibly lackluster stay in the Premier League with Sunderland, Jozy Altidore rebuilt his career from the ground up at Toronto FC. There he earned a big contract and didn’t disappoint over his six-year tenure. Yet with the influx of change at BMO Field, he’s been moved on to New England Revolution.

Given that Toronto FC is still responsible for a portion of his earnings it’s unlikely the 32-year-old has taken a considerable pay cut. The move should pay off as he reunites with Bruce Arena, the same head coach who gave him his professional debut at New York Red Bulls in 2006.

Maxi Moralez – $3.2 million

At 34 years old, Maxi Moralez had a long wait for silverware after an initial youth career which saw him succeed in the 2007 U20 World Cup and win league titles in his native Argentina. Now on a wedge at New York City, he’s a Major League Soccer champion.

He has just a year left on his current contract but is worth every cent if he renews terms before the end of the year. He proved pivotal to the Pigeons league form collecting an awe-inspiring 11 assists and three goals in the regular season and chipping in with more in the playoff success.

Victor Wanyama – $3 million

The former Tottenham Hotspur and Southampton midfielder rocked up to CF Montreal with the franchise in a state of flux. The franchise re-branded itself and has had three different head coaches in as many years.

Coupled with an over-reliance on Romell Quioto as the only major goal threat, it’s been a struggle to adapt for the defensive midfielder. He’s still on a chunky wage but hasn’t been quite as impactful as anticipated.

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