Clearing Up Some Arsenal Myths

Paper beats rock every time - Shaun Botterill

(ED. NOTE: This excellent piece of work was written as a FanPost by Steakballer, and we felt that it was a solid enough read that it should be on the main page since it'll get more eyeballs that way. I added a few links and commas here and there, but otherwise the piece is unchanged. Thanks, Steakballer!)

There are a lot of well repeated statements about Arsenal Football Club coming from various media members and "fan" groups. Let's take a look and see how accurate some of them are.

Arsenal don't spend any money!

- That's flat out incorrect, Arsenal have spent £145,700,000 on transfer fees alone in over the past 5 seasons.

But Arsenal sell all of their top players!

- Mr. PDB broke down Arsenal's player sales in this post. In short, most players not been better or even as good as they were at Arsenal.

But Arsenal profit on player sales!

- Yes they have. Over the past 5 seasons, Arsenal have a Net Profit on player sales of £36,700,000.

Arsenal should replace quality with quality, they shouldn't make money on players!

- Cesc is one of the 3 best midfielders in the world, and the other two were already at Barcelona. RVP is in a class with Falcao, Cavani, Zlatan, and that's it. Those others would cost close to £50m each.

But Arsenal have all this cash they are not spending!

- Arsenal have cash reserves of around £150m. There are many reasons why this is not all available to be spent. A few are that the stadium debt requires certain cash balances as terms of the financing. Cash was also kept as an assurance that the club could meet it's obligations for a number of years if Champions League football was missed.

Well why doesn't Silent Stan put some money in the club!

- Arsenal does not have a single owner like Chelsea or Man City do. Arsenal is owned by shareholders, much like any corporation you are familiar with. Stan Kroenke owns around 60% of Arsenal. Our good friend Usmanov owns about 30%. If Kroenke were to put £100m into the club who does that benefit? The club? Yes. Stan? Over time, probably. Usmanov? Yes very much so, his asset appreciates and he didn't have to do anything!


By the way: there is nothing stopping Usmanov from putting money into the club right now. Except for the fact that he would not do that unless he was the sole owner and it would only benefit himself.


Well Arsenal need to show ambition by spending money!

- Yes because like all good teachers tell their students, ambition is how much money you spend. Liverpool have Net spending of £68,600,000 over the past 5 years, and are about to miss the CL for the 4th straight season. Ambitious. Stoke, Aston Villa, and QPR have Net spending of £80,175,000, £71,750,000, and £67,600,000 respectively. One of them is relegated and the other two still very much could be. Ambitious. Tottenham (as much as we all hate them) have really improved their squad in recent years, some might say they have been ambitious. Their net transfer spend for 5 years? Only £7,650,000 total.

Arsenal only want to make the top 4 though!

- That's the most absurd thing that I keep hearing. What does that even mean? Does the team go out and only try to win a few of the games? Are they thinking "we probably should just draw this match, because we really don't want to get to close to the title." Has anyone who has ever played any level of sports ever played a game and not tried to win?

There are huge advantages to making the CL with a top 4 finish. Just because this is a goal for the club does not mean it is the only objective.

Well Arsenal will never spend on good players so they will never be title contenders again!

- The lean years are coming to a close, with new the new Emirates deal starting this next year and a new shirt manufacturer deal coming the next season. Add that to the new Premier League TV revenue, stadium match-day revenue that is 2nd highest in the League, and Arsenal's spending power will be much higher than what it has been since the move to the Emirates. If FFP and Premier League spending controls have even a minor effect, that will only help Arsenal.

Sports clubs often deserve criticism, especially regarding management decisions. But before throwing stones, ensure that you know what you are complaining about. Arsenal's wage structure, for instance, is terrible. They pay role players far too much, which means they are impossible to sell to smaller clubs who can't afford those wages, which means those players take up money that could go to better players. Arsenal don't have a flawless transfer record, especially on the purchase side, with a number of questionable buys. At the same time though, Wenger has a history of getting good value buys.

Arsenal are in really good shape to compete next year and going forward, thanks to brilliant moves by management and ownership. They are not perfect, but no club is. (Except for Bayern, they are unstoppable.)

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