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Mr Wenger is worth between £100m and £400m to Arsenal

By Tony Attwood

Arsenal are the only leading club in the Premier League to make money from buying and selling players during the years of foreign ownership (which we take to mean since Roman Abramovich at Chelsea).

Since 2003/04, Arsenal have received £21 million more than they have spent, and this is a figure that will get higher next year because of sales this year – unless Arsenal spend a mega fortune on players in the next transfer window.

Meanwhile Chelsea and Manchester City have each spent well over £400 million and their spending looks likely to continue.

Again over the same period, Tottenham, Liverpool, and Manchester United have all spent around £100 million.

The extraordinary thing is that despite all this extra money the distance between the clubs has not got to the proportions of the distance between Ranges/Celtic and the rest in Scotland.   Nor that of Spain – although the dominance of the top 2 is being challenged by the clubs newly acquired by overseas interests – although curiously it is Levante at the moment who are separating Bankrupt Barca and Real Mad.  Last season for example, Chelsea, with all their spending, still managed to have a collapse of monumental proportions, after (according to the pundits) having the league sown up by October.

During the period in question (2003 to 2011) Arsenal has stayed in the top 4 throughout, while Liverpool and Tottenham have not.

This doesn’t mean that the money in question has no impact – of course it does, but rather that to a large degree managerial ability is also worth a lot.  And from this we could perhaps work out just how much money Mr Wenger has been worth to Arsenal.  Certainly at least £100m since overall we have at the very least kept up with Tottenham and Liverpool, and that’s the amount they have spent.

Since we’ve also won the league three times, one might say the figure is somewhere between £100m and £400m.

Of course there gets to a point where the spending by a manager of more modest ability will overtake our income plus the value of Mr Wenger – but where ever that amount is, the amount is enormous.

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Quite how we find another manager worth between £100m and £400m when Mr Wenger retires or is forced out by the dual forces of the media and the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal, I have no idea.

Now however we have new game, as Liverpool, utterly desperate to try and get back into the top four after being pushed out of the Champions and Europa Leagues, and watching the $1bn court case against them begin its journey, are proposing that the clubs should each negotiate their own TV deal.

The current TV money is £2.1bn for UK rights, and 50% goes to the clubs as an equal part, plus 25% according to where a club ends up in the league, and 25% “appearance money” for each live game.  Manchester U got the most last season with £42.4m last season, Blackpool got £21.2m.  Everyone gets an equal share of overseas rights – £17.9m each last year.

Of course this is about to change because of the lunatic court case run by the league to stop a pub landlady showing matches relayed from a Greek satellite TV system.  Now everyone can watch anyway.  In a poll in the Guardian 75% said they would get such a system.

In a new system, four clubs would dominate: Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United, with (to a lesser degree depending on league position) Chelsea.

Of course a simplistic answer to my thesis here would be “how can Mr Wenger be worth this when he can buy…” and then you fill in the name of any player you don’t like.   But of course every club has some bad buys, and that isn’t the point.  The point is that rather than take us £100m or more in debt in order to have had our long run in the Champions League, we have had Mr Wenger.  Seems like a good deal to me.

Who knows where any of this goes – the answer is no one.  But, what we can be sure is that it will be hard to find anyone who is worth as much equivalent in the transfer market as Mr Wenger.

With over 2000 followers: Untold Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal


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25 comments to Mr Wenger is worth between £100m and £400m to Arsenal

  • RedGooner

    Tony Id say he is worth even more to Arsenal over the time spent with the club.
    Last season in champions league revenue I think we made around 28 mill from the TV rights and overall performance multiply that by 14 and then add the cup runs league wins and profit in players Id say it could even be more than you mentioned.

  • RedGooner

    Tony PS you might be selling wenger short there 🙂

  • RedGooner

    Here is an extract of a report online for last season.

    That would mean a total so far of £43.7m Champions League revenue for Arsenal this season (£26.2m distributed from UEFA plus £17.5m match day directly generated by the club).

  • Vinay

    Thank you so much for writing this. I have my own facebook page and i will post this article in it if you permit, the page is called bangaloregunners. Wenger’s greatness will not be understood by all and sundry. He has been the nucleus around which we have the team revolving around. If he goes we very well may not collapse but we definitely would be shaken pretty bad. Wenger is priceless.

  • Joe

    But that is wengers gift to arsenal .. He will retire but he wil retire when the club is debt free, financially strong enough to go toe to toe with her rivals and have a solid foundation based on bringing on talent

    It’s a selfless act and will be appreciated when he is retired. .. Yes he could have managed any other club in the world and at the moment what he has accomplished has been overshadowed by foreign investment and the work of fergueson but mark my words arsenal fans and all sport fans will soon enough see the whole picture

  • I have said it time and time again: what Wenger did for Arsenal upto now, he is the only manager who could have done it and in a couple of years from now anybody will be able to be a successful manager for our beloved club. He will have so many talented youngsters at his disposal, strong finances, top class facilities, top class stadium etc. So to me what he did and what he is doing are just priceless!
    Remind me of the billionaire who asked his dad about the price he would put for the services he did for him since he was small. The dad jumped on his belly full speed and the billionaire replied : “do you want to kill me?” the dad replied this is one thing among a lot other you would do to me but instead of complaining I would do my best to keep you safe from falling down and injured yourself. Wenger has taken selflessly care of the Arsenal as if it’s his own and that has no price.


    ohhhhhhhhh, ohhh my GOD!!!this is incredible piece of writing!! depicts the truth of the corrupt football system!! This also exposes the weakness of the Arsenal Board who can not use Wenger’s potentials to the maximum!! if you buy good players for him, win as many cups as possible money shall be more than 100 times!! Hope they have learnt and the fans stop their shortsighted match against him

  • Digger

    So Wengers remit is, forget about winning trophies,just concentrate on making a profit?I sincerely hope not!
    If, as I assume you are alluding to Mr Wenger is pivotal to Arsenals finances can you tell me why he would sanction the kinds of salaries to the likes of Denilson,Diaby,Bendtner? In a lovely Eutopian society where all mens worth are equal I could understand this but clearly that is and never will be the case,these players do not deserve that amount of salary they are being paid by the club,whereas Van Persies worth to Arsenal most certainly is worth more than his current contract in todays premier league economy.There is a reason why players at some clubs earn £150,000 a week plus and some do not, it’s up to the players that dont to prove they do,maybe when Arsenal and Wenger realise this we might be able to attract the kind of players that SHOULD be gracing the pitch at the Emirates.

  • olat

    Thanks Tony,though i sometime criticize AW,but there is one thing i perfectly know that without him the club by now would be out of EPL,and there will be know cash available.AW has done so well for the club we fans complain now but we fail to realize what he had done in past times.I know very soon the club will pick up again we are only asking AW or rather am asking him to use those players that can perform during EPL matches not lazy and sluggish one please Park is there.More grip to your elbow La’Proff…….enjoy your stay at Arsenal we are all behind you.

  • nicky

    Tony, as someone in the twilight of life, the thread I see running throughout your interesting post is the casual reference to £s in millions due to the increasing mega-value of football and, indeed, sport in general. Following the immediate postwar years, the standard of living of many, steadily improved beyond most people’s dreams. Not so noticeable at the time, but now, when one looks back in memory.
    The trigger in sport, IMO, was the advent of television and its inevitable bedmate, Advertising.
    I well recall, as a boy, a picture magazine featuring the personal life of Eddie Hapgood, Captain of Arsenal and England.
    Eddie and his wife were shown outside quite a modest (by today’s standards) semi-detached house seeing off his son for school on his brand new bicycle.
    About that time, Arsenal paid a record fee of £14,000 for inside forward Bryn Jones from Wolves, so one could probably estimate the wages of top footballers then at something less than £2000 a year. The average annual income of a worker at the time was no more than £150.
    The trade of a professional footballer is not that long. Even if he keeps relatively free from serious injury, the end of his playing career will probably come in his 30,s and for this reason I do not begrudge him a large income and, no doubt a similar pension /investment plan.
    What is unfortunate, IMO, is the way in which the wage structure has escalated far beyond measure. Contracts are now meaningless and the introduction of players’ agents has been a thorn in the side of most Clubs. I do not forget either, the influx of foreign investors who have in many cases spawned the most obscene offers and wages for players.
    For the average fan, the spiralling cost of tickets, season or matchday, is a worry as well as the annual sale of new team shirts to trap the most dedicated supporter.
    It may well be that a return to football sanity is a long way off. Wages chasing prices chasing wages is a difficult race to halt and it will require some drastic action at the game’s top level (even a catastrophe, I’m sorry to say) before we see the changes which are so badly needed in our national game.

  • Limestonegunner

    He is worth his weight in gold. However, transfer spending is only one part of total spending. We outspend many of those other clubs in wages. If total spending was accounted for, we would be around 4th or 5th in total spending on transfers and wages even though Tottenham, Sunderland, Aston Villa, Liverpool and the oiligarchic teams have impressively overspent us in the transfer market. It is a limited part of the story. Wages are, in fact, a better index or predictor of final league position and we have never been less than 4th in that category and have usually in the PL era been 2nd or 3rd. Now with ManCity we are 4th or 5th biggest wage spenders.

  • I don’t know why people think those defending strong financial structure don’t care about trophies. There’s a reason Man U, Chelsea and ourselves battle for the top honours while the likes of Fulham, Wolves, West Brom fight to stay up. There’s a price for top honours and Wenger has helped us a lot staying around the top while working our way into equality with the football financial powerhouses. Had we been spending the same amount of money as our rivals all these years we would be heading for pure troubles. As things are heading we will soon be able to compete with the likes of Real Madrid and United in spending abilities.

  • Limestonegunner

    Really Ibrahima, how is that?

  • Notoverthehill

    In the EPL the stadia are not all equal. The training facilities in the EPL are not all equal.

    ManIOU have the largest stadium and therefore the highest number of employees, both full-time and part-time. ManIOU do their own catering, The Arsenal and also Everton do not. I have not checked the catering for Bolton for example or that lot down at the wrong side of town.

    The Emirates requires more full-time and part-time staff than that stadium in White Hart Lane. The Emirates also exceeds both Chelsea and ManCiteh stadia of course, more employees.

    ManIOU Financial Reports disclose that the Glazers bought peace in their time by increasing the salary bill in that year by over £20 millions. That is the reason why the gap between Arsenal Holdings and Red Football Limited has narrowed slightly.

    Football is a team game and therefore inequality of salaries, will cause disruption. If, for example, RVP shirts outsold all the other shirts sold for the squad, then that differential should be ackowledged. Without the ball RVP is depending on a team-mate to do the necessary. Why are defenders worth less than attackers? Why are goalkeepers the lowest paid, generally?

    Football is a team game and lesser teams than The Arsenal have proven that again and again. As captain RVP is worth a differential, because of the supposed responsibility. RVP is worth the differential because of the time he has spent with The Arsenal. RVP is worth the differential because this next contract will be his last as he will be over 30, when the next time comes around. Yes, RVP should be paid far more than any other player at The Arsenal, at this moment in time. For his years at The Arsenal, his last major contract arriving, his importance to the squad and the captaincy, RVP is well worth £130,00 per week for his next contract. That figure will be a benchmark for Wilshere, Frimpong, Ramsay etc., to show that loyalty to the club, importance to the squad., etc., have a monetary value in excess of the norm!

  • Dan AKA The Truth

    Yet more pro-Wenger nonsense… you’ve failed to report how Arsenal’s profits have plummetted from £40m to £10m in the space of a year, which will easily become a loss without Champs League revenue next year. You also gloss over the fact that Wenger lavishes average, unproven or injury prone players with long term, lucrative contracts… oh, and you also omit the fact that Arsenal fans endure the highest ticket prices in England.

    Yes, long live Lord Wenger.

    I cannot wait for the old fool to be gone and for you lot to realise that ARSENAL FC is more than some deluded old stubborn fool!!!

  • Mandy dodd

    Who would you rather have had as our manager over recent years then dan? Remember to keep it realistic and consider the financial restraints wenger has been operating on. Presumably he will be a manager who has acheived more than wenger, and is able do so on a budget. If as your name suggests you personify the truth, I await an impressive answer! Please do not disappoint me by coming out as one of the martin o’neill brigade, I expect far better!

  • Gooner Gal

    Thanks for this article Tony, I totally agree. We are incredibly lucky to have him as manager. If he decides this is his last contract with Arsenal in a couple of years, clubs and countries will descend into a frenzy as they try to secure his services. A reported £5m a year is a poultry amount to pay a man that has added such value to our club over the past 15 years.

    A nation like Nigeria, needs an Arsene Wenger figure and I am sure they would probably pay £15m a year as a starting neg point. I am sure the English FA would wet themselves if the rubbish written in the press about Wenger becoming the next England manager was even half true. So people that think he couldn’t get a job elsewhere or think he has nothing left to offer the club should think again.

  • Dan AKA The Truth

    Oh come on, Mandy, that’s a ridiculous and purely hypothetical question and no matter who I mention you won’t be happy until we’re able to look into an ulternate universe to corroborate whoever the other manager is. What I can say, however, is that Wenger continues to make the same mistakes every season and I’m sorry, but in most professions, if you make the same mistake twice or three times (in Wenger’s case, 10), you’ll get shown the door. Your Lord is no exception and should be sacked… but I’ll be perfectly happy if he resigned. 😀

  • Mandy dodd

    Fair enough, however I believe there are not many managers who could have kept us where wenger has on his restrictions. Mistakes, yes he has made a few, as all managers do, however his rivals also can and do make some very expensive mistakes, and they can afford to rectify them in the transfer Market, wenger has not and does not have that luxury. All football managers make mistakes, it would be impossible not to given the amount of decisions they need to make. I happen to agree with you that some players should not be paid as they are. But, A costly mistake such as a veron or a shevchenko or who knows, possibly now a torres would be unthinkable on wengers budget. Yet other top managers have made such mistakes with impunity.
    Guess you are right in your assumption that most names you could come up with I would not be happy with. The only managers consistently more successful than wenger in the epl have been so under very different financial circumstances, remember how well wenger did against them in the days of a more level playing field.
    On another note, the evening standard reports usmanov is going for the thirty percent holding that would enable him to see the books. Hopefully, if true, that mischievous act will end to debate on the managers financial restrictions once and for all!

  • Gooner Gal

    Mandy, I don’t see anything beneficial from Jabba obtaining 30% of the club and feeding the press with news of Arsenal’s financial health.

    I have been wondering what his next move would be. Short of radiation or a poisonous umbrella, he has billions tied up in an investment where he has no seat on the board, no voting stake and makes no dividend. It’s a stand off that he cannot afford to continue. I would much rather he opens his books and clarifies how solvent he really is.

    He is such a murky character and I don’t understand how or why he was allow a loan of £1.7bn from a Dutch bank that then went belly up days later. He has obtained so many other billions through loans, that I wonder what income he actually has of own or if he is really a Russian Bernie Madoff. The worst case scenario would be creditors at the doors of Arsenal because the owner was too highly geared and Usmanov’s house of cards came crashing down.

    Jabba does not love Arsenal and see us as only a financial instrument which would allow him to get more loans, clean his money and use us a guarantor for his other dealings. He should cut his losses and just go. I am sure Everton would welcome him with open arms.

  • RedGooner

    Dan I think you are talking out your backside.
    If you dont know the financial constraints on the manager how can everything be his fault.
    To be honest I havent read so much crap here in a long time and theres been a few doozies around.

  • critic

    That still doesn’t explain his tactical short-comings.

    But he is Mr Arsenal, definitely.

  • John L

    lets all hope wenger sticks around for a long long time. i think he loves the club, and i dont get the impression hes to bothered with the whole media campaign. within the next couple years were gonna see him form his best squad yet.

  • Domhuaille

    Digger, & Dan AKA The Truth….your criticism and anti-Wenger rants are duly noted but please answer the following questions, since you base your whining on your superior knowledge of all things AFC:

    1)What exactly is the AFC compensation scale for each and every player? In other words tell us how much each one earns?
    2)Check the Swiss Rambler’s site for why AFC’s profits have declined and why they’ll bounce right back up at the next financial review in May or June. What does this have to do with Wenger anyway or did you not read the article?
    3)Show me a manager anywhere in the world who has made less mistakes and won more, while making a profit every year and keeping their team in the CL for 15 seasons straight, on a shoestring budget, sometimes dubious officiating and with injuries that are atrocious and what occasionally appears to be a media-led, plastic fanboys anti-Wenger campaign to destroy his reputation and credibility.
    4) Dan AKA The Truth,there is no such a thing as a hypothetical question since hypothesis means to question or propose in an analytical fashion. Therefore you mistakenly used the same term twice.
    Here are the 5 types of questions; Knowledge seeking, Application-defining, Analytical, Synthetical and Evaluative.
    5)Please specify which mistakes, in your exalted opinion, he has repeatedly made and their detailed impact on the Club. I am not denying he’s made mistakes but some mistakes are fatal or serious and others simply inconsequential so lets see you take on them over 10 seasons please.

    We get quite a few guys(or gals) like you who moan,groan,bitch, excrete their anger and vitriol, rant, cry doom and gloom and other very unhelpful offal over the net without ever suggesting some constructive and effective strategies, other than, of course ¨Your Lord is no exception and should be sacked… but I’ll be perfectly happy if he resigned.¨ Just parroted AAA shite like usual.

  • Basil

    Arsenals profits have come from a mixture of property sales,player sales,champions league revenues and charging ridiculous prices for their tickets.There is only 30million more to come from property,there will be no european revenues from next season and the wage bill ,which is only 15 mill less than man utds,continues to spiral upwards.Nevermind there is RVP and Wilshere to sell plus more fans to fleece.I cannot understand this idea that arsenal is well run bad times ahead