The truth behind Arsenal’s £50m “war chest”

Yesterday morning’s hit gathering headline comes from the Daily Telegraph, who reporting that the new Arsenal manager will be “restricted to a £50m summer transfer budget”. As with anything Arsenal, fans have thrown their toys out of the pram.

The reaction from Arsenal fans, the bitching and moaning, is not to be unexpected. When even the most average player like Granit Xhaka now costs £35m, £50m is just not enough.

“We need to spend £150m this summer” one said to me on the news. And yes, this is true, we do need to spend big. But we also need to look at the bigger picture. Because the fans moaning about having just £50m to spend are complaining without having the full knowledge.

To quote one of the Arsenal Fan TV lot, it is about “net spend” not total spend. So Arsenal might have a transfer budget of just £50m, but this is actually a big chunk of cash. In fact, only twice in the clubs history, have we spent more than £50m.

So it pretty much is a non-story that Arsenal “only” have £50m to spend this summer, as over the last 8 years, we have a net spend averaging just £16m. So the real story could be New Arsenal Manager Has 3 Times As Much Money To Spend.

And now this is where it gets interesting…

So if we spend £50m net this summer, it will actually be twice as much as we have spent on average over the last 5 years. I will also be superior to Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool.

It still leaves us massively behind the likes of Manchester United and Manchester City, but this shows the gulf in finances.

Can we expect to be spending the same as Man U when they have a turnover of nearly £200m more than us? Or the same as Man City who are unlimited funds through their owners?

Now we could all moan that Stan Kroenke should put his hand in his own pocket, but I prefer the Manchester United or Liverpool model of being self sufficient, not a rich mans play thing.

For Arsenal to spend more, they need to make more.

I have been a long term critic of Ivan Gazidis and the commercial revenue team.

We have behind Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool in terms of commercial income. The boost we get from stadium income is lost through poor shirt deals, no sleeve deals, and not getting enough money from Puma.

Some new deals are in progress. Our sleeve deal is expected to bring in £15m, and the new deal with Adidas/Puma/Nike will add an additional £25m in revenue. But more needs to be done to bridge that gap between ourselves and those above us.

We showed a half yearly profit before player trading of £20m in our accounts. It is from your profit that your transfer budget comes from. So how can we expect to have a £200m transfer budget if the club only makes £40m? That would leave us losing £160m.

Football is a business, at the end of the day. Unless you want to put the club in massive debt, you should only spend what you bring in.

So we have established that £50m for incoming transfers is OK, about level with other sides above us (excluding the Manchester 2). To allow us to spend more, we have to maximise player sales.

Selling the likes of Davis Ospina, Calum Chambers, Shkdoran Mustafi, Joel Campbell, Lucas Perez, Chuba Akpom, Carl Jenkinson would raise up to about £80m. If all that money is made available for the new manager, suddenly we are looking at having well over £100m to spend on new players.

As I wrote earlier, we have at least 10 players that are expected to leave. These will both raise additional funds and save on salaries.

Understand how things work, rather than just read the headline.

On a final note, lets be honest, any talk about budget is just made up rubbish.

We are in April. A budget will not be set until the new manager is appointed, until we have (or have not ) secured Champions League football, and until season ticket sales come in.

And then you need to take into account the amortisation of the transfer fees, wages, signing on fees, agents fees and much more. Any head line about transfer budget is literally made up.

So if you are sitting and moaning about us only having a £50m budget, well done for being dumb, well done for:

  1. Not understanding how it compares to previous years
  2. Believing made up newspaper articles designed to create hits and outrage

Have a good evening



Arsenal players enter new relationship

When Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang handed the ball to Alexandre Lacazette when on a hat trick against Stoke City, the Gambion got some grief from some attention seekers.

Here was a striker, who should be hungry for goals, already with 2 (including 1 penalty) handing the ball over to a team mate. One fan, who must have had some good betting information,  had stuck a fiver on him getting a hat trick was especially angry.

But what it showed was Aubameyang’s awareness of a fellow striker who was going through a bad patch.

Before he joined the club, Aubameyang had been highly criticised in the press. Egotistical. Self-interested. Flashy. A big time Charlie. A poor team mate.

The majority of these comments were by people who did not know him. Had not followed his career. Had probably never had dealings with him. They saw the flash cars, the jewellery, and his skin colour and judged him. Like they do with Raheem Sterling.

That day against Stoke City, Aubameyang showed exactly who he is.

He saw Lacazette through his own eyes as a striker. His team mate had scored 1 goal in 13 games. Had an injury. Had not really settled at his new club. Every striker will recognise another striker struggling. The simple chances get skied or put wide. The confidence is not their for one on ones. The offside flag gets raised more often than not.

Aubameyang’s two goals against Stoke City had made it 5 goals in his first 7 games for Arsenal. He could have easily made it 6 in 7 and walked off with the match ball. Other strikers (Harry Kane) would have done. They would have been greedy. Even if it was at the detriment of their team mates.

By giving the ball to Lacazette, he hoped that a goal would spark him in to life. Would shake the cobwebs. With himself being cup-tied in the Europa League, he knew that it was more important for the team for Lacazette to score than himself.

Lacazette slotted in the penalty.

And Aubameyang got it right. It did spark Lacazette into life. The Frenchman is now 5 in 6. Against West Ham, Lacazette scored twice. One of which was set up by Aubameyang.

What stuck in my mind re-watching the game last night was the celebration of the Arsenal players.

A huge fuss was made when the side looked split after Alexis Sanchez scored against Crystal Palace. It was back page news. Against West Ham, the team celebrated as one. And it was the final embrace that inspired this.

The last two to celebrate together were Lacazette and Aubameyang. A warm embrace. One which showed genuine friendship. Lacazette was delighted to have been scored, and Aubameyang looked equally as delighted for him.

It highlighted the togetherness of Arsenal’s record signings.

For Arsenal, top strikers have been like busses. We have waited a decade for a pacey, direct striker, then end up with two at once. And there has been plenty of talk about how they would fit together.

Can they play together? Will they be happy rotating? Might one end up leaving?

They might not be suitable to play together every game. With Henrik Mkhitaryan and Mesut Ozil to be added to the team, it will give the new manager plenty of food for thought on how to line up. What is for certain is with all 4, we have options. Different formations. Different tactics.

It should be remembered that for Dortmund. Aubameyang played a season alongside Robert Lewandowski. He was out wide with the Pole up top. It is a roll the he can perform.

The budding relationship between Aubameyang and Lacazette is one of the few positives from this season. And one that we can begin to get excited about next years.


10 players that will leave Arsenal alongside Arsene Wenger

The Certainties

Per Mertesacker – The big German has already announced that he intended to retire at the end of the season. He will take up a new role as Head of Academy in 2018, and will provide a good link between the new manager and the current set of senior players.

Santi Cazorla – It is with a heavy heart that Arsenal need to say goodbye to Santi Cazorla this summer.

The Spaniard has yet to play this season, having picked up a recurrence of an ankle injury damaged playing for Spain in 2013 in Champions League fixture against Ludogorets Razgrad on 19 October 2016. He also missed half of the 2015/16 season suffering a knee injury in a match against Norwich City.

23 league games in 3 seasons, and now 33 years old. He should not get a new contract, but ~Arsenal should continue their support and funding of his rehabilitation.

Jack Wilshere – A couple of months ago, Jack Wilshere had the fans on his side in his contract stalemate with the club. The majority wanted the club to offer him what  he wanted.

A mixture of the excellent form of Aaron Ramsey and his own atrocious form has led to many of his loyal followers waivering.

The lack of noise coming from the club surrounding his contract indicates that he will leave us in the summer. Reality will then hit, as he will struggle to be a regular starter for a top 6 side.

A move to sit on Chelsea’s bench is my bet.

David Ospina – A new goal keeper will be top of the recruitment teams list this summer. When you look at David de Gea, he has been worth a good 12 points for Manchester United. Arsenal barely break even with Petr Cech.

Ospina is not good enough to replace Cech, so a new man will come in. Rather than Cech leave, and Ospina remain as number 2, the likelihood will be that the Columbian exits, leaving Cech as 2nd choice keeper for the last year of his contract.

Carl Jenkinson  – It is incredible to think that Carl Jenkinson has now been at the club for 7 years. The rough diamond that joined the club in June 2011 is now about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

Chuba Akpom – Once rated as the brightest young talent to come through the youth system, his Arsenal career has never really kicked off with some very average loan moves.

Now 22, it is time for the club to focus their time and efforts on Eddie Nketiah and Stephy Mavididi

The Maybes

Shkodran Mustafi – The club’s most expensive defender, Arsenal were open to selling the German last summer. In the end no serious offers materialised and Gabriel was the one who ended up leaving the club.

He might be saved by Laurent Koscielny’s injury issues. The club are certain to buy at least one centre back, which will leave Koscielny and Mustafi competing for a first team place. If the club get in the two centre backs they need, Mustafi will be the one to leave.

Calum Chambers – He might have only recently signed a new deal, but the reality is if a new centre back is signed, he will be 5th choice.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles is also a more attacking choice at right back. His career at Arsenal could depend on Hector Bellerin. If the Spaniard stays, Chambers will not.

Lucas Perez – Has had a tough time on loan back at Deportivo de La Coruña, where he has been heavily criticised by the fans. This seemingly rules out a permanent return to Deportivo.

Our lack of width might mean a new manager keeps him at the club, but if an opportunity to recoup what we spent on him arises, he will be out the door.

Joel Campbell  – The Costa Rican became a bit of a battle ground for the Wenger argument. Many who wanted Wenger out put him on a pedestal, using his lack of game time as a reason to bash the manager.

4 years on from his good performance at the 2014 World Cup and he has certainly not developed into the talent many claimed he was. Now 26, Arsenal must regret not cashing in after the last World Cup. Like with Perez, our lack of natural wide players might lead him to stay, but it is unikely.