Tag Archives: Finances

HA HA I AM LAUGHING AT YOU

Get a calculator: Mourinho has spent £200m for 4 major trophies, Wenger £110m for 9

By Tim Todd, Chief Transfermarkt Analyst

In the summer of 1996, Newcastle were the biggest spenders in the Premier League, buying Alan Shearer for £15m. In fact, from 1996/97 to 2002/03 there were six different teams who topped the transfer spend list. That all changed in the summer of 2003/04 when Roman Abramovich “parked Russian tanks on our lawn and started firing £50 notes at us” as Arsenal’s legendary chairman David Dein once said.

For the next four seasons Chelsea were the top spenders: firing out £293m from Abramovich’s tanks. Jose Mourinho inherited a team which had spent £117m buying such illuminaries as Duff, Crespo, Veron, Mutu, Scott Parker, Wayne Bridge, Joe Cole, and Glen Johnson. Yeah, I only gave the British players first names, you’ll get over it.

Mourinho saw the state of that team and went on a spending spree of his own, plunking down £175m over the next three seasons on transfers. The result of Abramovich’s net spend (£293m) under the first Mourinho era was two League titles, an FA cup, 2 League cups, and a Community Shield. For those of you counting, that’s £100m per major trophy or £50m per trophy if you count the Charity Shield, and counting the Community Shield is very charitable indeed.

I wonder if Mourinho saw the writing on the wall before he left Chelsea because the season he left, Man City spent £60m on players and took over the mantle from Chelsea as top spenders. City would emulate Chelsea’s model to a T: buying whoever they could in the first season (ROBINHO!) and paying whatever they had to pay to get him in the door just to signal intent. And from there City spent £462m over the next five seasons. For the money they spent, they won 2 League titles, 1 FA Cup, 1 League Cup, and 1 Community Shield. Just the major titles cost City £142m each and even if we include the League cup and Charity Shield (it’s not a trophy, folks) that takes their total spend per trophy to £92m.

All totaled, through the Abramovich era (from 2003/04-present) Chelsea has spent £498m but admittedly all of that spending has paid off in a lot of trophies: 4 League titles, 4 FA Cups, the most disgraceful Champions League trophy ever, and a Europa League title. That’s 10 majors at a cost of about £50m each. That’s not bad, folks.

Man City has been by far and away the most wasteful club in football history. Since they started spending money on transfers in 2007/08 they have never once turned a profit in the transfer market and have spent £619m on transfers. And they have only won 3 major trophies. That’s £200m per major trophy.

Manchester United are the surprise big spenders of the last 4 years, taking over from City after Financial Fair Play rules limited the amount that City could just throw away on players. Sir Alex Ferguson went out with a bang and spent £43m in his final season at United winning them their last major trophy in the process. Since 2012/2013, however, United have spent lavishly, throwing down £257m and topping all the transfer records since. But, United only have the one major trophy to show for their spending, meaning that trophy cost them £257m.

Fergie was the most successful manager in terms of total trophy haul. Which you already knew unless you just started watching football five minutes ago. Just counting from the Wenger era (1996/97) to his retirement two seasons ago Fergie won 14 major trophies with Man U which includes two Champions League titles, something Wenger and Mourinho haven’t done yet with an English club. Fergie wasn’t exactly thrifty but he also wasn’t overly profligate. He spent the most money of the three managers, £247m, but the trophy returns, winning 25 titles, more than makes up for his outlay.

As for Arsenal, I like to go back to the summer of 1996/97 to track Wenger’s spending. The reason I do that is because according to legend, Wenger told David Dein to buy Patrick Vieira that summer so, I credit Wenger with that transfer season even if he wasn’t actually the boss.

Throughout Arsene’s entire history with the Arsenal, he has spent just £113m. From 1996/97-2005/06 Wenger spent “lavishly” by his standards and plonked down £58m. In that time frame, he won 3 Premier League titles and 4 FA Cups. That’s 7 major trophies at a bargain cost of £8m each.

Wenger then went through a period of selling from 2006/07-2012/13 and generated a net profit of£43m. It’s no surprise, then, that in that time Arsenal made it to two League Cup finals and ended runner’s up both times*.

But since 2013/14 Wenger has been given a large chunk of money to spend on players and in the last three seasons has spent £98m. If you’re paying attention, you’ll note that Wenger has only spent £113m in his career, with £98m of that coming in the last three years! In the time that Wenger has spent £100m, he has won 2 major trophies: back-to-back FA Cups at a cost of about £50m each.

Jose Mourinho urged reporters to get out a calculator and look at the last three years. Then, he said, you’ll see some interesting results. He’s right, Arsenal have long been associated with frugality and Chelsea with extravagance so it’s kind of ironic that Arsenal have spent the third most money in the transfer market over the last three years and Chelsea have basically broke even! If you rank the top six teams (average Premier League finish) by net transfer spend over the last 3 years it looks like this:

1st: Man United £214m
2nd: Man City £142m
3rd: The Arsenal £98m
4th: Liverpool £80m
5th: Chelsea £6m
6th: Tottenham -£16m

Jose is right, Chelsea have been very astute in the transfer market over the last two years. They managed to dupe PSG into giving them £35m for David Lulz, Everton into giving them £25m for Lulzkaku, £22m for Andre Schurrlulz, and got a clearly desperate David Moyes to stump up £31m for Juan Mata-lulz. In fact, Chelsea might be able to break even in the transfer market for quite some time. They have a massive stockpile of players out on loan around the world and at any point could cash in on those players if needed.**

But as usual, Jose is also wrong and is twisting facts to his liking. Chelsea have spent an incredible £569m on transfers during the Wenger era, making them the second most profligate spenders over the last 20 years.

1st: Man City £673m
2nd: Chelsea £569m
3rd: United £462m
4th: Liverpool £326m
5th: Tottenhams £206m
6th: Arsenal £113m

Moreover, Mourinho himself has outspent Arsene Wenger by nearly double and hasn’t won Chelsea as many trophies as Arsene Wenger has for Arsenal. Mourinho’s transfer cost per major trophy while at Chelsea is almost £50m. Wenger’s cost per major is just £13m. Even if we count the little ticky-tacky trophies like the Charity Shield and the League Cup, Wenger has 14 trophies for Arsenal and Mourinho just 8 for Chelsea.

1996-Present Arsene Mourinho Fergie
Spend (millions) £113.00 £193.00 £247.00
Major Trophies 9 4 14
Minor Trophies 5 4 11
Total Trophies 14 8 25
Cost/major £12.56 £48.25 £17.64
Cost/trophy £8.07 £24.13 £9.88

The facts are, if you get a calculator, you will see some interesting results, just like Jose predicted. You will see that Jose Mourinho has spent almost twice as much money as Arsene Wenger and has less than half of the silverware to show for it.

Qq

**It’s also important to note that I’m including this transfer window in my calculations and I have no doubt that Chelsea will spend the £20m they have earned in transfer profits so far this season, which will change their net spend over three seasons.
*Once to Chelsea in Wenger’s first Cesc season and the last one to Birmingham City in Cesc’s last season. Birmingham City didn’t outspend Arsenal but Arsenal’s threadbare and injured squad were missing key players in that match. Players who would have made a difference.

(All transfer data from TransferMarkt.co.uk)

 

Image and phrase "Cesc la Vie" copyright 7amkickoff.com and Tim Bostelle, no use without permission

Follow up to yesterday’s Liverpool-Arsenal article

Yesterday’s article has sparked a lot of debate, some name calling, and an interesting reaction from Arsenal fans on both side of the supposed divide. I want to follow up on a few thoughts.

1. The release clause: I think the Liverpool fans’ absolutist position on Suarez not having a release clause is based solely on the PFA interpretation. But it’s important to remember that the PFA ruling is just one interpretation. The other interpretation is that John Henry has bragged that Suarez had a release clause, Suarez and his team of lawyers believed they had a release clause, and Arsenal and their team of lawyers believed he had a release clause. What never happened was an actual test of that clause, through the courts, which Henry knew that Suarez wouldn’t do in a World Cup year. So, based on my evidence, I firmly believe there was a clause and that Liverpool refused to honor that clause. Based on the other side’s evidence, likely the PFA interpretation, they say there was no clause. Since we will never see this tested in court I can stand by my interpretation and be correct and so can they.

2. There’s a common misinterpretation that I am arguing against Arsenal spending money. This is almost certainly because I included the paragraph at the end about Arsenal’s bad luck with injuries and had earlier ridiculed Liverpool’s spending. This misconception happens because certain arguments about Arsenal and spending have become cliched. But here’s something you might not know: one can hold two beliefs simultaneously. For example, the argument that Arsenal’s injury record hurt our chances in the League is rock solid. But so is the argument that Arsenal should have bought more this summer and perhaps even in January.

The fact is that I have been calling for Arsenal to spend money for two years now, to the tune of £100m+. This is money that the club have (they don’t have to rack up debts) and with their public proclamations of newfound financial ability and dry powder have fashioned into a golden albatross to hang around Wenger’s neck. One could, then, read my lamentations about Liverpool’s spending not as a cry against spending but a cry in favor of spending because it is, it is again both.

Part of the reason Arsenal had such a huge problem with injuries in midfield was because, as Wenger himself admitted, Arsenal didn’t rotate enough. Ramsey, in particular was a huge miss and Wenger said ”Maybe we overplayed him a little bit, we should have rested him before he was injured.” Since I know how this works and that you won’t like that quote you can also go back to early December, before the injury to Ramsey, and see that Wenger knew Ramsey was getting tired. He even rested him on the 11th, just two weeks before he picked up the strain.

And there were a lot of injuries all at the same time, plus Giroud was caught with another woman, Flamini’s suspension, and suddenly things went from bad to worse. Some of that is down to luck, some of that is down to the fact that we didn’t buy a Luis Gustavo or Sven Bender in the summer, some is down to overplaying certain players, some is down to buying Kallstrom in January and having him come to us crocked. It is all of those things and spending some money would have helped a lot of them.

3. Here’s what I want to say about Financial Fair Play – Swiss Ramble thinks Liverpool will make it just fine under the FFP tests because they will be able to include their Champions League money, their increased revenue from partnerships, and their increase in prize and television money. Still, though, he was clear that they will not be able to write off the stadium planning money and that they will need to include the accounts for the last two years and their losses of £90m. We have to see how much more revenue they are bringing in with their new deals but I almost wonder if they will be able to spend a little on transfers and still break even? What they won’t be able to do is lose £50m again next season and not run afoul of FFP.

Conclusion

The reaction to this article has been interesting. I wrote it in a very open fashion which encourages multiple interpretations because that is how I feel — I see almost every side of every argument about Arsenal at the moment. This open writing allowed people to read into it whatever they wanted. For the Liverpool fans they wanted something to get upset at because that’s where their comfort zone is. For others they could read into my article a sense that financial prudence is the right way to go, or that financial prudence is the wrong way to go. But what is truly fascinating is that in over 100 comments I didn’t read a single person griping about my assertion that Arsenal should have done more to keep Cesc. It was, for me, the most controversial position in the whole piece and yet no one seemed to notice because they were too busy arguing contract law and the morality of spending money. 

But winning the League isn’t about moral arguments or arguing contract laws, it’s about having the best players, keeping the best players, and getting the best out of those players. Something that Arsenal haven’t done well for at least 4 years now.

Qq

What is the sound of one Stan talking?

Mystery buyers seek to destabilize Arsenal’s owners ahead of North London Derby

The Telegraph are reporting tonight that unnamed Qatari and UAE investors are poised to launch an astonishing £1.5bn takeover of Arsenal FC. And make no mistake about it, this announcement has only one intention: create the talking points needed to destabilize the cub ahead of the biggest game of the season.

Tomorrow morning, millions of Arsenal supporters will be getting ready for the big game, a game which should just be about football but which we all know could do much to swing the club’s fortunes from feeding at the Champions League trough to “Being Liverpool.” Those fans should all be talking about how Wenger is going to stop Bale or how Theo Walcott is going to unlock Tottenham’s defense but instead they will almost certainly be arguing the finer points of ticket prices, whether Kroenke is the right owner of the club, stadium debt, and whether Arsenal could still remain compliant under UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules should Arsenal fall into the hands of what Nick Hornby called the Sheikhigarchy.

The bidders carefully leaked out the plan; double Kroenke’s money, pay off the stadium debt, fire the board (especially Gazidis), fire Arsene Wenger, and give the new manager the money to invest heavily in the squad. The knock-on effects, they say, will be to keep homegrown players like Jack Wilshere, push Arsenal back into the elite of world football, and bring back the “true fans”.

Doubling Kroenke’s money is easy, they have said that they plan to offer to pay him £20k per share and as a result will put about £400m profit in his pocket. Paying off the stadium debt, also easy, just pay it off. Or so they say, but it’s a limited time offer, act now.

The timing of this announcement isn’t coincidence. The “bidders” know that by releasing this information on the evening of the North London Derby they will set the narrative about Arsenal for the next six months. They even reveal as much in their official quotes

We will not bid for Arsenal if they go into decline. Kroenke and Usmanov will not get this kind of valuation if Arsenal do not succeed and will not get this kind of valuation ever again.

“If they go into decline” = “if Arsenal lose tomorrow, you should be worried that we will not make another bid for this club”. It’s intended to quicken the mind, focus it on the main question; Kroenke, in or out?

I have no doubt my friends will be dipping toast points in their eggs tomorrow before the game and musing over whether they would rather have Kroenke or “anyone but Kroenke” as the owner. That is precisely what this statement is intended to do. It will plant the seed in the mind of the average fan who might be wary of Usmanov taking over but who can now look at this as an “unnamed” owner. Who would you rather have, Silent Stan or Mega Bill?

Who knows whether Mega Bill is a great guy, whether he would be good for the club, whether he is a fan of football, whether he would have tea with the Arsenal Supporter’s Trust, or even if Mega Bill isn’t just Usmanov in disguise? It’s not important right now, the important thing is that they get you thinking that Kroenke isn’t the right guy.

Along the way they throw out the populist bone and remind everyone that ticket prices at Arsenal are expensive. Their solution will be to lower ticket prices. How, exactly, they plan to do that and have further money to invest in the club and not run afoul of Financial Fair Play is not revealed. But they want to bring back the “North Bank feel” and some of the “true supporters” — buzz words, PR spin and wonderfully placed to hit two major points that have been under great media scrutiny all year.

They also make their intentions over Arsene Wenger’s future very clear:

No big club can go eight years without winning anything. No manager of a big club, not even Sir Alex Ferguson, would have survived eight years without winning.

As I said in my match preview, this game always has the rare ability in the season to set the narrative for Arsenal Football Club. In lean times Arsenal fans could feel good as long as they got one over on Spurs. In fat times Wenger went 11 years without losing to them and fourth place didn’t feel so bad as long as Arsenal finished the season above Spurs. We even coined a term “St. Totteringham’s Day” as an annual celebration of our dominance.

But this year follows on a season in which Arsenal were the closest they have ever come to being overtaken by Spurs in the League Table during Wenger’s tenure at the club. Spurs are above Arsenal in the table right now and tomorrow’s match is the proverbial “six pointer”: a platform on which they could build and overtake their rivals or which could see them seven points adrift.

But sadly, before and after this game I suspect that the fans won’t be talking much about the actual football. Instead we will all be debating Financial Fair Play, stadium debt, Wenger’s future, and whether Kroenke is the right owner.

It is a perfectly crafted leak from start to finish and it hits all the major points at just the exact right moment laying out all of the talking points for everyone to mull over before and after the game. Van Persie is mentioned, ticket prices, Gazidis, lack of trophies, Kroenke’s supposed greed… on and on every point is hit perfectly.

Make no mistake about it, this is the first shot in a hostile corporate takeover. Should Arsenal falter in the North London Derby I expect to see stickers with “Kroenke Out! Nameless Rich Benefactor In!”, “We want our North Bank back!”, “Save Jack Wilshere”, and the ironic “Kick Greed out of Football” litter North London.

Qq