View From The Sphere

Spend money and extract value

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Following our Annus Horribilis start to the season, our ‘panic buys’ on deadline day and our subsequent transformation, Arsene Wenger’s tenure has again been put under the spotlight.

With the January window fast approaching, questions are being asked about Arsenal’s willingness to dig deep and splash out on the big-names to aid the big push to end our six year drought.

Since taking over the helm at The Arsenal on 30th September 1996, Wenger has overseen, arguably, Arsenal’s most successful period in its history.

Premier League Winners: 1997/98, 2001’02, 2003/04. FA Cup Winners: 1997/98, 2001/02, 2002/03, 2004/05. This record includes two doubles in 97/98 and 01/02, and ‘The Invincibles’ season of 03/04. Add to this runners up in both the UEFA Cup and Champions League in 2000 and 2006 respectively and never finishing outside the top four during his tenure, you have to say the boy done good.

During this period money has always been the hot topic of conversation and while The Arsenal ‘spent what they earned’ and built a 60,000 seat state of the art stadium, the other members of the top five have opted for different approaches.

Brand United have marketed their way to millions and then associated themselves with the Glazier’s and the debt of a Southern European country.

Chel$ki and Middle Eastland’s have taken the sugar daddy approach, which may buy you trophies but doesn’t by you love, history or class.

Liverpool had some Americans in charge, spent their money, sold Torres and then spent even more.

However, Wenger’s much maligned transfer policy of ‘spend money and extract value’ and alleged salary cap, is now looking to be the right one.

With UEFA’s ‘transfer cap’ imminently upon us, the landscape for the big clubs must change.

Over the 15 year period that Wenger has been in charge, the top five have spent a total of £2.629 billion and recouped a total of £1.274 billion in sales. This breaks down as:

Manchester City: players in: £635 million, players out: £153 million, balance: -£482 million.

Chelsea: players in: £706 million, players out: £212 million, balance: -£414 million.

Liverpool: players in: £523 million, players out: £318 million, balance: -£205 million.

Manchester United: players in: £450 million, players out: £280 million, balance: -£170 million.

Arsenal: players in: £315 million, players out: £311 million, balance: -£4 million.

Add into the mix the latest turnover and salaries of all the five clubs and the cost sheet rockets:

Arsenal: £382 million/ £111 million (29%).

Manchester United: £286 million/ £132 million (46%).

Liverpool: £185 million/£115 million (65%).

Chelsea: £213 million/£175 million (82%).

Manchester City: £125 million/£133 million (106%).

In this period, only United have a consistently better record and only The Arsenal virtually have a positive balance sheet.

Break it down into millions spent on transfers per trophy and the balance sheet highlights the issue even more:

Arsenal: £0.57 million/trophy.

Manchester United: £10.63 million/trophy.

Liverpool: £34.16 million/trophy.

Chelsea: £37.6 million/trophy.

Manchester City: £241 million/trophy.

(This stat is a bit harsh on City, but proves how much they’ve spent in the past 3 years!!!).

This shows that one club, and one club alone, has been run the right way, the Arsenal way.

People knock Wenger for his frugalness with the coffers, but this will show its worth in the next few years when UEFA’s spending limits bite and money dissipates away.

One club will be left standing and that club will be The Arsenal!

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  • Anon says:

    I can’t see us buying anyone… which does not spell doom nor does it mean we will not get into europe.

    But it does mean we are not realistic about winning the title or even perhaps pushing all the way in europe.

    We are short in areas and lacking in strength in others but i do understand that january is not ideal for buying players.

    Who is there that is available and for a good price?

    A couple additions would signify we are not ok with settling for a 4th spot and want to show ambition but if nothing happens we will still be strong enough to secure a top four spot… its just a shame that seems to be enough for the board.

  • Zabed says:

    But can the financial rules be enforced as bigger clubs can break away to form their own euro league. Or teams can find loopholes such as man city’s controvercial sponsorship deals. But if it is enforced effectively i see the sheicks of man city, psg, malaga all leaving for good.

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