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Gunners are a BUYING club

An article in the NOTW uses some quotes from Wenger, the context of which is unattributed, to give the impression that Arsenal needs to sell players because of the financial burden of the stadium.

It is the sort of stuff you might expect from a tabloid, especially one as downmarket as the NOTW, but as is often the case the article contradicts itself in order to make a story fit together. The substance of the story is that by selling Adebayor for £30m and buying Huntelaar for £18m the club will make a £12m profit in order to meet the £24m annual cost of the stadium. Yet in the article itself it reports that operating profit, before exceptionals and player trading, is up by almost £40m - in other words the stadium is paying for itself without relying on profits from player trading.

It takes a quote "The strategy of the club is to sell every year and to buy less expensive players" as a declaration that the stadium debt forces the policy on the club. Yet it is something that Wenger has done almost every year for the last 10 years ever since Anelka was sold very profitably before stadium finance became an issue. Strategic sales and strategic purchases just indicate that a strategy exists. In any event selling any resource and buying more expensive ones that don`t give a better return is not a viable strategy for any business.

Wenger is alleged to have said in these quotes of unattributed context "We manage at Arsenal to maintain all our football ambitions — national and European — while having to free up - for 17 more years - an annual surplus of £24m to pay for our stadium." and "The club`s strategy is to favour the policy of youngsters ahead of stars and to count on the collective quality of our game." That sounds more like someone boasting about their financial and tactical acumen rather than the frustration that might lead to Usmanov taking over as the article threatens. It is also very similar to statements of policy that have been made over the last 5 years or so.

Other clubs have other debts, in many cases much larger than ours, to service. To suggest that debt management is unique to Arsenal is sordid, sloppy and mischievous journalism. The context of the quotes are not yet apparent. Arsenal ARE a selling club AND a buying club as are all football clubs. It is just one that buys and sells better than others and one with an unerring knack of adding value to players rather than detracting from them. Something supporters should take comfort in when looking for enduring success.

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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday July 6 2008

Time: 10:16AM

Your Comments

agree with you 110% Amos.
I have issues with this article, I mean it all sounds logical, but NOTW ***** stirring? Surely not??!!
Little Dutch
It occurs to me that I should have used the picture of the girl with NOTW emblazoned across her tits to illustrate the story. That would have been rather apt.
Don't buy the Sun. NOTW or Times/Sunday Times - SOGAT 82 Support the Printers! Wapping 1986! 22 years later still wouldn't touch the scab rag!
Bergkamp was a Myth
Like I've said before, if you believe everything the media says without question, then you deserve to be unhappy.
Little Dutch
Thankfully a few other blogs are picking up this more reasoned view. Whilst le grove is predictably whingeing like an emo girl on the blob, goodplaya, a cultured left foot, arseblogger and 'holic have all seen through the *****e. Well played!
Little Dutch
Actually thet quotes themselves aren't anything out of the ordinary, just facts and the usual youth policy. Only that NOTW doesn't tell you when and where Arsene said that, and then they add their own interpretations and more importantly headlines, something that have been picked up by others like Sky and Telegraph. That's when the juicy bit "selling club" comes in. And yeah most Arsenal fans in the blogosphere can see through that. I dare say most Arsenal fans in general too.
Lou the Gunneress
You have more faith in people than I do Lou. The person is smart, but people are stupid and panicky. The blogosphere tends to attract 'people' generally speaking if you get my drift. The blog with the most posts this morning is the nauseating Le Grove. Whilst the sites I mention above draw considerably less comments. The intelligence of the average football fan has probably never been lower than it is now.
Little Dutch
Haha see blog posts/articles for "person", see crazy comments for "people". I didn't really pay close attention to the fans' comments other than in Vital just now. Now I see what you mean! I can also tell you that fans outside of England aren't as sensitive to these things as they don't read these tabloids everyday. To many of them, English papers are English papers. Some don't even know what a load of crap NOTW, People, etc. are. They only know the famous Sun lol..! So the picture gets even more distorted once crap like this goes beyond England. And wait until they get translated too lol.. you know the drift too!
Lou the Gunneress
Le Grove is for the mentally ill and those who cannot spell or need caps lock to prove a point. Their description of a fan who supports Wenger is totally dillusional. It is like a cult that does not allow other thoughts to enter. I posted one comment that stated that "AKB's" are not all idiots that naivley follow Wenger till death, we just agree with his ideas. It got removed and now I cannot post another message under the name "Goofle". Total idiots.
That happened to me also Goofle when I attempted to explain why Hleb, regardless of what you may think of his actions, is an effective player and despite providing a list of his assists my comments were constantly awaiting moderation yet he was allowed to call me a 'prat' while my responses weren't posted..just a coward
Anon 1
His comments can only make sense (that is IF he did actually say what is reported) if they are “political” comments. If you look at the footballing side of the business, the last financial year had a turnover of £177m which generated an operating profit (always a key indicator of financial strength) of £42.2m – the stadium debt repayments only amount to 13.5% of turnover so quite frankly there is no financial problem at Arsenal. Any issues with the property development business and the current property market have no bearing on the footballing side of the business so the question has to be asked is why did he make the alleged statements? There can be no spin on what he said as he is clearly saying that (in his opinion) the club needs investment. Could it be that he has become the mouthpiece of his best mate, David Dein? It is common knowledge that Dein wants a change of ownership so is this Dein's new, and underhanded, strategy? The Board of Directors cannot be too happy with his comments as they have stated the complete opposite vis a vis the finances at the club.
Wenger is not a supporter of Deins strategy. In fact the strategy that the present board is following is Wengers. Take the quotes out of the manufactured context of the NOTW article and they are no different in substance to what he has been saying for many years now..
Arsenal have lost almost all their players from the 2003/04 season and those were the players that took you to great heights. But low wages, Arsenal's unwillingness to extend contracts for players over 30, forced everyone out! This means that Arsenal don't really care if they keep their best players or not........further implying that Arsenal ARE a selling club!
United have never sold anyone? Where have you been keeping Kanchelskis, Ince, Hughes, Stam, van Nistelrooy all these years?
Little Dutch
United didn't HAVE to sell Heinze did they! It just made sense to do so. As it did with Alan Smith, Pique, Richardson, Rossi. In fact United sold 8 players all told in the year up to end of May 08 and we sold 4.
Ok first of all, Heinze we had to sell because he wanted to go to Liverpool and lost his desire to play for us because Evra was taking his spot! Little Dutch - I've never said we havent sold anyone but we still have managed to keep Scholes, Giggs, Brown, Silvestre, Soljskaer (albeit retired), Giggs and Scholes had their contracts extended even after hitting 30. Something Whinger and Arsenal will never do! So what is that implying?? They don't care if you're good and 30, no contract extension! Amos - You're mentioning fringe and reserve players, we're talking FIRST TEAMERS since the 03/04 season!
Can you name a player from the 03-04 squad we have sold who has subsequently made us regret it?
Little Dutch
Veira, Pires, Henry, Lauren, Campbell, A.Cole(I understand), Reyes, Flamini just left and I'm sure Ade and Hleb will follow. It's all about the money lads. And why won't Arsenal sell?? They buy the player for almost nothing and are able to sell for millions of profit, why won't you sell if the player's wages can't be met??
Well you're still trophyless since your lucky FA Cup win so you must be regretting those players you sold I'd presume.
The players we sold wouldn't have been much help to us. As for paying players wages our overall wage bill is not much different to yours. The players that have left are, with the exception of Flamini, who wasn't sold he was just out of contract. Much the same reason you sold Heinze in fact. Every club sells and every club buys we are just better at it than others.
Should read* the players that left were surplus to needs
True they might have been surplus to needs but you havent won anything after the 04-05 season . So again..... Wenger should've tried harder to keep them. If our wage bill is no different to yours why do none of our players leave because of wages?? I know A.Cole did and Ade was complaining about his wages few weeks ago.Also can you tell me why Pires, one of the most talented midfielders ever to grace the prem was let go because Wenger wouldn't give him a TWO yr extension! Wenger doesnt mind selling his best players
I thought that Ronaldo was looking to leave you because of wages? But it's a matter of public record. Check out the numbers yourself our annual wage bill is £89.1m and yours about £92m. Only Chelsea spend more than either of us. Ade was quite happy with his wages just a year but is complaining now for the same reason Ronaldo wants to play for Real. Pires (going on 33 when he left) wasn't sold he took a longer contract from Villareal. Personally I would have tried to keep him but he would only have been a squad player. Of those that had left he is just about the only one that might have made a difference for a couple more seasons (though he was crocked for most of the first season in Spain) but not in a role he would have been happy with.
Ronaldo doesnt want to leave because of wages at all! Its all about his "dream" to play for Real. Nothing to do with wages! Ronaldo has always "dreamt" of playing for Madrid and not Adebayor. So...I'd say different reasons . You never sold Pires but refusing him a longer contract can only mean one thing - you can leave
The promise of an £200k weekly pay packet is alsomy dream :-) I agree re: Pires, personally, I would have kept hima s back up to the injury prone Rosicky. Vieira, Henry, Lauren, Cole, Ljungberg, Reyes, Edu aren't half the players they were. Campbell's doing well, but not really on our level anymore, ditto Kanu. In fact, the only invincible we've sold who has improved is Cygan! Letting players go at the right time is an art, one Ferguson and Wenger have perfected. I thought the failure to replace Nistelrooy would really hurt United. Arsenal are no more a selling club than Chelsea who regularly sell six players minimum every summer. It's just we're good at getting value. I don't want to lose Ade at all, but £30m would be ridiculous money quite frankly.
Little Dutch
If you guys are in the mood for a bit of a joke, read this. But promise you'll chill out, it's just for a laugh:
Lou the Gunneress
So Ronaldo would be happy to play for Real for less money than he gets at United then - just to satisfy his dream? I suspect if Barca were offering him £200K a week that would be his dream team too. Pires, could have stayed - Bergkamp played 4 or 5 seasons on one year contracts - but I understand at that stage of his career a cushier number in Spain was more attractive.
Lou, I know its a joke and all that (and you know I like a joke) but it is a dismal failure. Don't give the site publicity unless it is your own. Is it? :D
Ronaldo doesnt need the money! He has endoresment deals all over so I highly doubt he'd be moving for the money. Not for less money but his motivation for wanting to go to Madrid has NOTHING to do with wages. If you believe all the tripe that you see in the tabloids then its all up to you
None of the players need the money. Most can live quite comfortably on £45k a week. If Ronaldo goes it is only because of the money. If United sell him it's only for the money. If it weren't he would have gone to Real in the first place instead of United. He had the choice then. Not believing everything you read in the tabloids is sound advice. It is advice that you would do well to follow yourself.
Its tripe when aimed at you but when aimed at Arsenal it is fact? Dude, grow a brain and realise that United are the press darlings. You may like to think that everyone hates you but it is not true.
Goof I know, I also thought it's a serious thing, till the last paragraph. Felt that's a bad joke, but the Oyster Card bit was funny, don't you think? lol I know, relax. Now I can tell: only those who really got nervous with the NOTW ***** would not find this piece funny. But no, I wouldn't have time to write that kind of stuff.
Lou the Gunneress
Didn't Ronaldo say "I want to move to Real, but only if they're really going to offer the money that they talked about" or something to that effect, just before the Euros or at the start of the tournament? So Ade's motivated by money and Ronaldo is purely 100% completely motivated by his own childhood dream of playing at Real? "His motivation for wanting to go to Madrid has NOTHING to do with wages" - FU you need to wake up. Let's just be honest and call a spade a spade (or call someone who wants more money someone who wants more money).
Lou the Gunneress
Ronaldo is a vain, greedy idiot. So is Adebayor as far as I'm concerned. He's a dangerous player, of course, but Wenger has a great eye for young talent and will probably work it out.
Lou, believe me, I am not concerned at all. The piece was just hit searching and not funny. And Ronaldo is a very very greedy boy.
The bottom line is that every player has his price and a combination of transfer fees/wages/injury risks will actually determine whether to retain or offload a player. As a Spurs fan, it doesn't surprise me if Arsenal are a selling club but it makes perfect business sense to sell players making ludicrous demands for salary increases. On a 5 year deal at £120K a week, Adebayor would get £30m and thats a precedent that no club should accept. If part of the money recouped goes into paying of the debts accrued for building the stadium and the club get an equally talented striker then fair enough.
The annual wage bills are as follows: Chelsea = £122.7m (74%) – United = £92.3m (44%) – Arsenal = £89.7m (51%) – Liverpool = £69m (58%) NB Liverpool accounts are up to end of July 2006 – others are latest accounts up to the end of mid 2007. % of wages are % of football trading and not Group trading. Arsenal are in a healthy financial position and they can obviously pay the high level of wages and still stay sustainable – their revenue streams are strong as is their operating profit – there is no need to sell players to fund the stadium debt as it is easily sustainable. Those are the financial facts so why is Wenger making his alleged comments? Specifically that £24m has to be found from player trading to pay for the stadium debt – it is just not true. The money men must be going absolutely crazy over his comments as he has said that for the next 17 years the club will have to make £24m p.a. via player trading to pay for the stadium debt. This has to be a political statement as the figures do not add up to his comments. Cut the peripherals away from his comments and he is saying that the club needs outside investment (which it does not need) so why is he saying what he is alleged to have said? Wenger saying that the club needs outside investment (and that is what he is saying) is exactly what Dein is saying. IMO Wenger is signalling that he now welcomes a takeover.
Wenger didn't ever say that we needed to make £24m via player trading to pay for the stadium. He simply said that we are able to meet all our footballing targets AND still generate £24m a year for the next 17 years. As you correctly point out the stadium costs are taken care of from financial resources other than player trading. Wenger has never said we need outside investment. He has always said that the long term security is only secured through self generated funds. In fact his words, the context of which are not yet known, could and probably do indicate the exact opposite to what you suggest - because we are meeting footballing objectives AND generating the funds to pay for the stadium right now there is no need for further outside investment.
GIK - your financial analysis is spot on, and thats why the veracity of these quotes are doubted. Wenger couldnt have said these things and it sounds like its been planted in the media by Dein.
Take the same quotes out of the manufactured context of the NOTW article and they really don't say much at all. Everything is in the context in which they are used.
"We have always pursued, and intend to continue with, a policy of re-investing profits and surplus cash into team development. Emirates Stadium now provides the Club with the firm financial foundations from which we will continue to build trophy winning Arsenal teams for many years to come."............."Despite the income and profits which we can expect to derive from the new Premier League TV contracts and from the Club’s operations at Emirates Stadium, shareholders should not necessarily expect future years’ accounts to report growing profits and ever increasing cash balances. This is because the Board continues to believe that the best long term policy for the Club is to re-invest profits and cash back into the development of the team. Accordingly, our business plans and budgets are prepared with a clear objective of making available to the manager the maximum possible funds for the development of the playing squad. We strongly believe that pursuing this policy of continual investment in the Club’s playing staff will provide the best platform for a virtuous circle of continued on-field success at the highest level and, consequently, growth in the Club’s support and revenues in the long term."......Those are official statements from Hill-Wood in the financial report - those statements are somewhat different from Wenger's alleged comments. IF Wenger did make the comments mentioned in the tabloids then he is clearly opposed to the club's stance. The comments are entirely the opposite of the club's strategy and that is how the BoD will view them IF they are true so it should be expected that Wenger comes out and denies them - if he does not deny them then he is backing the takeover. The BoD has softened its stance over the takeover in the last few weeks so it is entirely reasonable for Wenger to come out and say that the club needs investment (although he did not say those specific words the whole market knows what he means by his alleged comments). Wenger does not usually go head to head with the BoD so are his alleged comments the first step of informing the market that the takeover is imminent? Only time will tell but the takeover will happen at some time in the future - the majority of PL clubs are being targeted for takeover and Arsenal are no different - it will be a shame as IMO Hill-Wood is a traditionalist and does the right thing for football.
Tell me where Wengers quotes differ from the financial statements in the year end accounts. He doesn't say that the club won't put money into the development of the team. As you point out yourself Arsenal has one of the highest wage bills in the PL. If that is not investing in team development then what is? Nothing Wenger has been reported as saying, assuming the quotes are accurate, has contradicted anything said in the financial reports.
Arsène Wenger believes Arsenal must stick to their wage structure in order to safeguard the future of the Club. With summer just around the corner, the manager knows there are contracts to be re-negotiated and signings to be made. However, despite the success of Emirates Stadium, the Club are many years from paying off the 'mortgage' on their new ground. Wenger has continually stated his summer aims are to keep his existing squad and add "one or two" new faces. But he will remain within budget. At his pre-match press conference on Friday, the manager was asked if the Club could afford to keep a tight wage structure if they want to keep players or attract new ones. “I would rather take it the other way," Wenger replied. "We cannot afford not to keep it. It is as simple as that. "We have to respect that, despite what people say, we have £360 million debt [on Emirates Stadium]. "So we have to respect the wages structure or we will go bust. Therefore it is not that you cannot respect the wages structure, we cannot afford not to do it.”.....................
What has that to do with Wengers quotes? Sure van Persie and every other player in every other club, Ronaldo included apparently, will believe they should be paid more. The same probably goes for every employee in every profession. But we either have one of the highest wage bills in the PL or we don't. You'll also find plenty of other RvP quotes telling us how happy he is at Arsenal. So what has Wenger said that is any different from the board's position?
You seem to be drifting away from your original point GIK which was that Wenger is at odds with the existing board. Now you are posting quotes that illustrate that he is very much in step with the clubs financial strategy. With a degree in economics that's exactly what I would expect from Wenger.
Wenger could not be much clearer in his stance than with my last posting. As that statement was on the official site then surely it is a signal that they are now welcoming investment in the club.
My original point was that Wenger was stating a different stance from the BoD as he clearly is - I have posted official statements from Hill-Wood that all profits will be re-invested into the playing squad (via transfers or wages) and now Wenger is saying the opposite. So, is Wenger the mouthpiece of the BoD in saying that Arsenal cannot afford the top players? The BoD has stated that it will invest in getting the top players - so who is right? The accounts show that you can afford the top players so what game is being played?
How do you reach that conclusion? It's simple common sense surely. No club can afford to spend more than it generates in revenues. Even if the club were to generate twice the current revenue it would still not be possible to exceed whatever budget you set for wages or any other cost area. the simple fact is that we already have one of the highest wage bills in the PL. As you pointed out earlier the financial background to the club is sound. Nothing Wenger has said in any of the quotes is anything more than innate good sense.
No where has the club said it will invest in 'top' or 'expensive' players. Only in investing in strengthening the team: 'our business plans and budgets are prepared with a clear objective of making available to the manager the maximum possible funds for the development of the playing squad'. Where does Wenger say that he has a problem with them? On the contrary he says "We manage at Arsenal to maintain all our football ambitions — national and European"
With respect you should read the accounts in full and you will see that Wenger is taking a totally opposite stance from the official Arsenal line. I remind you of Hill-Wood's statement - "This is because the Board continues to believe that the best long term policy for the Club is to re-invest profits and cash back into the development of the team. Accordingly, our business plans and budgets are prepared with a clear objective of making available to the manager the MAXIMUM possible funds for the development of the playing squad."...If you check the accounts you will see that the club had >£70m available last summer to be re-invested into the playing squad via transfers fees or wages - it was not used. I am not disputing that what Wenger is saying is not good commercial sense and when it comes to keeping wages under control then he has my full backing. Surely you can see that what he is saying is totally the opposite of what Hill-Wood has said in the accounts? There is money available within the accounts to do what Hill-Wood has said i.e. invest in top quality players - Wenger has not used it and is now saying that the club cannot afford to do it as it has too much debt - do you not see that? Two totally different stances.
Wenger has a problem with it because he says the club cannot afford it when it clearly can. And are you trying to tell me that Wenger would not buy top quality players? Irrespective of a player's age he will aways go for top quality.
I have read last years accounts and I have followed them closely for a few years now. Firstly let me correct you on the £70m cash in hand. That was never a transfer or wages budget. It is and was, and still is working capital and cash reserves. No business will drain it's liquid resources entirely and no financial institution will lend it money if it did. From memory total debt was £325m with nett debt £255m as a result of the £70m cash balances. Whatever you spend from the £70m therefore pushes the nett debt up. The club still has to finish some property developments over the next year or so. The £70m was never a transfer war chest as reported in some tabloids. Wenger knew that and the board knew it. They are both in step on that point. Wenger has said only that the club can afford only to use the resources that it has agreeing that "our business plans and budgets are prepared with a clear objective of making available to the manager the MAXIMUM possible funds" where do you think that Wenger believes that the funds are going if not into the development of the team? The stadium? He knows that it is the stadium that is generating the extra funds for the team as your earlier financial appraisal illustates. He knows the financial needs of the stadium because he was behind the move. I appreciate the point you are trying to make but you are barking up the wrong tree. Take all your quotes from both Wenger and the board and you will see that essentially they are saying the samething.
Amos, to be fair to GIK, the 1st line of Wenger's alleged quote to NOTW DOES contradict the current financial policy - of the stadium being financially able to repay the debts AND invest in the squad. I believe that is the main point of contention that GIK is arguing about. The remaining quotes all sound ok and in line with what Wenger has said in the past. IMO, the main point of discussion should be whether that quote was accurate or not, and not whether Wenger is now supporting a take over (I dont believe that he IS supporting one).
No it doesn't prits because he is only reiterating what he has practised ever since he joined the club in 1996. There is a danger here in assuming that Wenger makes the same mistake as the average fan in confusing 'top' players with price. Wenger already has 4 players in the current team in the PFA team of the year. Aren't they 'top' players? When has Wenger ever done anything differently even in his time at Monaco other than buy players that he thought represented good value. Of course he won't/can't compete with Abramovich and ManU/Real Madrid revenues are still higher than ours but we can compete with anyone else that we want to. In the end when it comes to it Wengers is a value based judgement not a price based one. To set these quotes as somehow indicating a split between wenger and the board doesn't stand up under any realistic examination. There is nothing in any of this that suggests that Wenger feels that it is the board that is holding things back and not just his own understanding of simple economics.
The implication in his 1st quote is clear, Amos that Arsenal need to sell before we buy, and that we buy cheaper than we sell, as we need that money to fund the stadium loans ! That clearly does not stand up to any sort of scrutiny, as both you and I know. The stadium is clearly more than self-financing, as it also generates funds for the squad. To me, those quotes seem to be planted by Dein, in order to insinuate that the club needs a billionaire investor in order to bridge the (non-existent) financial gap.
Where is that any different from any other club? Don't Barca need to sell Ronaldinho and Eto'o before they can buy? Don't even Chelsea need to generate funds from player sales - they would certainly need to if they are to break even by 2010 as they have stated. Doesn't every team have the strategy of selling at the best price and buying at the best price? Isn't that just simple player resource management? Even the NOTW article suggests that Arsenal are about to break their transfer record(s). Rather than take these quotes in isolation you have to join them up with everything else that has been said and done. If you do that you can see that these quotes are perfectly harmless statements of reality no different in substance from what has been said many times before. Their interpretation is set by the context.
Liverpool also have to sell Alonso b4 they can buy Barry

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