But now that their Emirates stadium sponsorship deal has been improved and their commercial interests have grown, both manager Arsene Wenger and chief executive Ivan Gazidis have pledged to the fans that there is money to spend and it will be spent in the summer.
However, should they honour their promise to Arsenal’s somewhat disillusioned, fractured and frustrated fan base, just how much would they need to spend?
The current title-holders Manchester City have won the league just once in that 5-year period, last season. In that same period they made a £316.37 million loss in the transfer market. That is broken down as -£39.12M in 08/09, -£99M in 09/10, -£116M in 10/11, -£48.25M in 11/12 (the season they won) and -£14M this season.
Chelsea won the Premier League just once in that same 5-year period, back in 09/10. Their total for the same 5-year period is a £229.2 million loss broken down as +£10.8M in 08/09, -£17.5M in 09/10 (when they won the league), -£87.3M in 10/11, -£63.2M in 11/12 (when they won the Champions League and FA Cup) and -£72M for 12/13.
Manchester United, the current leaders 12 points clear this term have won the Premier League twice in the same 5-year period. Their spending is far less it should be noted than both City and Chelsea’s, proving sometimes less is more and enough really is enough.
United still recorded a loss overall of £23.3 million but that really does pale into insignificance when compared to their two major rivals. That is broken down as -£33.75M in 08/09 (when they won the title), +£64.5M profit in 09/10 (when they sold Cristiano Ronaldo), -£13.55M in 10/11 (when they won the title), -£38.15M in 11/12, and -£36.1M for 12/13 (in which they will probably win the title).
Arsenal have recorded a £36.7 million profit over the last 5 years. In only two of those 5 years they recorded a loss and both those years (10/11 and 12/13) the loss was between £6M and £8M.
It’s broken down as a £3.55M profit in 08/09, a £31M profit in 09/10, a £6.8M loss in 10/11, a £17.55M profit in 11/12, and £8.6M loss so far this season.
I have collected my data from transferleague.co.uk in case anyone would like to check.
Whilst the likes of City and Chelsea have spent vast sums of money, Manchester United’s continued and sustained success for less proves that, as banners often read at the Emirates ‘money can’t buy class’. It can buy a title or two, for sure, and trophies galore but that is not the only way to do it.
It’s hardly controversial to assert the opinion that Manchester United’s purchase of Robin van Persie was enough to see them claim the title this season. Spending money, as Wenger often reminds us, is not the key to success; it’s how well you spend your money.
The fact that United made just a comparatively minuscule loss in the last 5 years and won the title twice and they look like winning a third means Arsenal don’t have to spend ‘silly money’, Wenger can keep his financial sustainability model and prove he was right all along.
Realistically they need to undo the damage of their £36.7M profit in selling their best players to rival clubs. Add just half of United’s overall expenditure (calculated at £11.65M) and you’ve got a total of £48.35 million.
That is, realistically what Arsenal need to spend to get back to genuinely contending for titles and trophies in general. Do they have that money in the supposed Wenger ‘war chest’? Yes, I believe they do.
image: © Tax Credits