There has been considerable annoyance over the News of the World article which claims Wenger said that Arsenal will have to sell two top players a year to pay for the mortgage.
The actual line was: “If we sold two top players a year for the next 20 years, that would pay for the mortgage on the Emirates Stadium.”
The maths shows exactly the game we can see where this goes. Supposing the players were Hleb and Adebayor. That would give the club a profit of around £30 million – which over 20 years would pay for the mortgage – always supposing there was no other source of profit.
But the fact is that if Arsenal performed financially as they have done for the last 10 years then the mortgage can still be paid – because the additional income the Emirates gets against the income from Highbury, is more than enough to pay for the mortgage – because of the extra capacity, the extra higher priced seats and the extra profits from shops, catering and other marketing activities.
There are however two other factors to take into account. First, nothing has been shown in the books for the sale of Highbury, which means that when the work is completed and the apartments are sold, that money will be pure profit. And secondly Arsenal are the only club in the EPL in the last couple of years to make a profit on transfers – which is additional to the estimated expenditure.
This is not the first time that Wenger has made fools of the popular press with his quick analysis of stats, leaving them floudering in a story that does not exist. But it is one of the biggest hoaxes he has yet pulled.
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