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June 2021

Arsenal’s worth almost double that of Chelsea; Man City worth less than Tottenham


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The books…


By Tony Attwood

How much is any football team, or come to that, any company worth?

It is a question that can’t be answered, because it all depends on how you choose to value the company.

Over the years of running my company three or four organisations have come along and offered to buy the firm.  Each time we’ve danced around each other, trying to find a value of the company that we could agree on, and each time we have failed.

Did one simply take the average profit of the last three years and multiply by ten? (That has been quite a popular route).  Or did one look not at the past, but at what was in the pipeline?  Certainly a business that has a strong dependence on the creativity of one or two people in the company, tends to be affected by any way in which those people can be persuaded to stay.)    I guess most firms have had the same experience at different times.

So when we hear that accountant Tom Markham has come up with a new way to value clubs, well, that’s par for the course.

The new approach uses

  • Income
  • Profit or loss
  • Assets less liabilities
  • Stadium utilisation
  • Amount spent on wages against total income

This set of analyses is then applied to all the clubs in the Premier League.

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Releasing the figures Mr Markham said, “In recent weeks Arsenal was rumoured to be the target of a £1.5 billion offer by a Middle Eastern consortium which turned out to be a hoax. So where do these club valuation figures come from and which can be trusted?”

Interestingly I think it was Untold Arsenal that first put forward the view that the £1.5bn offer was a hoax… those media outlets and blogs which had run the story as real however failed to correct the impression given before that the offer was real.  Instead the story just died.

Still it is nice to know that some of our views turn out to predict the future.

But back to this table.  In this analysis Tottenham is worth more than Manchester City and Liverpool.  We come second behind Man U.  Thus the table has no real recognition of history, with Tottenham having won the league twice, I believe, while Liverpool has won it 18 times.

Manchester City is reduced a little, because it doesn’t own its own stadium, and the ground they use is only 79% of the size of the Emirates.  And they have spent a lot on transfers and have a very high wages bill compared to income, which reduces their worth in this approach.

Liverpool’s lowly position is the result of dropping out of Champions League money and seemingly having no good way of getting back there, and having a stadium which is not only smaller than the top clubs, but also built in such a way that it can’t generate high revenues, as Arsenal can from Club Level.

Liverpool is said to get £1.5m per match day, Arsenal get twice this, and  Manchester United get £3.7m.

Twelve clubs in the Premier League changed owners between 2005 and 2010, and just over half are now owned by non-UK citizens.

Now in all of this I think it is interesting what is not included – which is potential and location.  Liverpool has potential if they can get their new stadium built.  Arsenal has potential because its earnings have been restricted by the deals done to get money in quickly once the stadium was opened.  These deals are now ending and new deals are a lot more exciting financially.  Tottenham have potential with their new ground proposals, as presumably do West Ham.   Tottenham and Arsenal both have potential because they are in London, where marketing sales tend to be easier to get.

On the negative side, Man City and Chelsea might have difficulties under the Financial Fair Play regulations.  So it could all change, but meanwhile, here’s  what the new approach makes of it all…

Rank Club Value (£m)
1 Manchester United 1,060.4
2 Arsenal 942.9
3 Chelsea 510.5
4 Tottenham Hotspur 436.3
5 Manchester City 401.1
6 Liverpool 352.2
7 Newcastle United 275.8
8 West Bromwich Albion 126.9
9 Sunderland 121.8
10 Everton 112.3
11 Fulham 108.7
12 West Ham United 104.3
13 Aston Villa 102.5
14 Stoke City 94.9
15 Norwich City 90.1
16 Swansea City 64.8
17 Queens Park Rangers 59.9
18 Reading 58.0
19 Southampton 57.5
20 Wigan Athletic 42.8

38 comments to Arsenal’s worth almost double that of Chelsea; Man City worth less than Tottenham

  • SA gunner

    MU shows that having a lot of money should not exclude one from winning trophies… if the money is spent correctly! Not in the bargain basement and then lend the players to other clubs recuping half the salalries one pays.
    Being second in the value/money list and going downhill in the supporters stakes because of totally ignoring their plight for success and the substantial contribution they make, does not enhance its future.
    We shall see if they spend this summer and do the excercise all over again. Winning clubs attract supporters – supporters attract sponsors with big money.
    So please listen absent minded professor Wenger – Bring back the glory days for the supporters and the shareholders will automatically get their pockets filled.

  • Hector

    When a club fails to win trophies for such a long time, its fans become accountants! Pity!! Hahahahaha.

  • Ren Vassilliou

    And what exactly does this all mean for the supporter down the road that has supported Arsenal for the last 30-40 years and has not seen them win a title in 8 years , it’s all great news what we are worth but how about some honours to keep the cash flowing ,the supporters will get fed up eventually if something is not done to change this nightmare habit that’s going through Arsenal at present , I say it’s time for change …What do you say …???

  • WalterBroeckx

    It sometimes look as if you are giving diamonds to the pigs, Tony. 😉

  • WalterBroeckx

    And what excactly did it mean in those last 30-40 years when most of the time even 4th place looked far out of reach?

    And change will come Ren. Change will come.

  • GoonerDog

    Great news! Do we get a trophy for this?

  • mission

    This story is interesting. It shows the sympathy of the writer for Arsenal. But if he is a football analyst, then he should give the proper discription. Arsenal has more worth than Chelsea or Manchester City, But it should keep in mind that Arsenal did not won any trophy in 8 years & in this year also remains away from a single trophy. If the writer has enough knowledge about worth and supporters of Arsenal, then he also keep in mind that Arsenal made its profit by selling its best players every year & it also loses its noticeable number of supporters.

  • Gooner_Fanatic

    I agree….Change will come if things stay the way they are. It’s building up slow but surely and its a matter of time before everything goes BOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Good work!

  • Steve

    Your trying to be too positive Tony it won’t work you have to look on the negative side of Arsenal.

  • Super Singh

    Yawn!!! Trophies, blah! Blah! Blah! Try supporting a club for more than ten years and you’ll realise from what we have grown from? Supporting The Arsenal is a way of life for me, joy, cry, anger, frustration and more.
    I see good times ahead, but don’t let short term future failures get in your way? Moan is moan is a moan…..

  • WalterBroeckx

    OFF TOPIC but sad news for Diaby

    The Club can confirm that Abou Diaby injured his left knee in training on Wednesday and subsequent scans have confirmed that he has torn his anterior cruciate ligament.

    FFS for those who love trophies : if ever a trophy will be made for the unluckiest footballer injury wise I think Diaby will be the number one

  • WalterBroeckx

    And there are actually Arsenal “fans” who think this is funny. FFS…

  • Adam

    I feel gutted for the young man. So we get diaby as a 2014 new years gift. In typical fashion, Arsenal will prepare him well for the Brazillian World cup.

  • How do they figure Tottenham are worth more than Liverpool with their history and marketing, and Man City with their recent success and new stadium?

    And that’s got nothing to do with Arsenal hatred of Tottenham — although I am now standing up, because I hate Tottenham.

  • nicky

    I agree with you about Diaby.
    The guy deserves a medal over the way he has struggled to combat injury after injury. The fact that this latest setback has occurred during training is very sad.
    I only hope some miracle will keep him in football.

  • uk

    There’s something about diaby’s. For those seeking an excuse for our failures this season and next, this probably is as good any. Come on guys, let’s be “glass half full”

  • AL

    Some so-called fans are really pathetic, anything will be turned into how ‘does this translate into trophies?’. If this was the mentality all fans had then surely some clubs, like Newcastle, wouldn’t have such a large fan base, or Wigan would only be supported by Whelan and his family, and so on. Plastic fans, sad.

    Thanks for this article Tony, appreciated. And wishing Diaby a speedy recovery.

  • John

    Off the main topic, but a comment on Abou Diaby’s latest setback:

    How bad must he be feeling after this news? Let’s hope that he can make a recovery again, with the support of the clubs and the true supporters.

    Also, remember that, in all likelihood, this is still the legacy of that deliberate foul by that Sunderland player.

  • Jez

    This article is about how to value a football club which has been a very difficult thing to do accurately until this new formula had been invented.

    What this piece is not about is winning trophies or diaby’s injury. It about time you guys read an article and commented on the subject matter without bringing non relevant things into it. 20 years ago arsenal weren’t even in the top 6 for value, now we are 2nd in England and Britain we are also the 7th most valuable sporting franchise in the world and 3rd most valuable football club.

    Arsenal deserve respect and compliments for this. They have secured our future when many other big clubs are in financial difficulty or going going bust. Success is only around the corner and a bit of patience would go a miss. 8 years is not a long time and for those who think it is shame on you. There supporters of clubs who would kill to have our 13 league titles 10 FA cups 2 European glory’s and league cups and charity shields.

    This is a great article and people should stick to the subject matter when commenting!!!

  • GoonerDog

    I seem to recall that the only league that counts is the premier league? Never mind tune in next week for an article where we are just behind Manchester United in selling hot dogs. Still change is just round the corner and Diaby will be like a new signing in nine months.

  • @Jez thanks but you have to know that a leopard will never change its spots,those so called fans(atics) most of them a deluded. When we where wining trophies they could moan of how we used to play foreigners, i really wonder what they want.There are teams who used to be champions league materials but as of now we cannot even smell them anymore. Now some morons who are disguising themselves tend to be more supporters than others and worst of all they don’t want to know or hear how our lovely club is heading in the right direction. If you don’t know let those who know let you know.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Quite surprising where we stand and the numbers we are closer to Utd on this than I would have thought. As for quatar hoaxes, still there may be a potential bidder out there other than usmanov, but I cannot back that up with anything. But there was one pretty major hoax involving quataris and the Times, posted on the sporting intelligence website

    I can only echo the thoughts of many others, best wishes and hopefully a full recovery to abou diaby. Ultimately, an incredible talent, but A victim of crap refs, a clogger and at least one team set up to play prehistoric football, which has put English football so, so far back. Really hope he can get his career back, he is young enough but he clearly faces a fight

  • Doublegooner

    Diaby should be fit just in time for his testimonial.

  • andy bishop

    great news!!!! almost worth as much as utd and almost twice as much as Chelsea….how is it they have won ten times what we have won in the last 8 years…….come on all you gooners
    once the FFP kick in we will punch our weight in terms of trophies…or will we?

  • Stuart

    Great post Tony & well researched, shame the usual thick morons come on here and try to criticise it for not being a subject they would have written on with their extensive knowledge and literacy skills….oh, wait a minute, did I just say…..

  • Florian

    Excellent write-up, Tony, you started competing with Swissramble:)

    I’m not surprised to see Arsenal so high in the money rankings, I’m indeed stunned by the depths some clubs have gone into the mud. But after reading “Soccernomics”, it kinda makes sense, because most football clubs (and other sport franchises for that matter) are being run by less than professional managers, whose ability to keep the books is sometimes questionable at best. There is no other way to explain spendings like Liverpool did, for instance, with the likes of Carroll, Downing and Henderson. And deep pocket owners don’t make up for the manager’s lack of skills either. Long live Arsene!

    And about poor Diaby, I’m sure the medical staff are doing everything they can to help him recover. Fingers crossed we’ll see him back at his best.

  • A. Stewart

    I don’t think anyone or any Arsenal fan should find this funny, however, I don’t expect anyone to be over sympathetic beyond general concern for anyone who has received an injury.

    For perspective, far worse things have happened and continue to happen to far less wealthy people. Hopefully he recovers, but in the end Diaby will be fine, and has the resources to lead a very comfortable life.

    The irony of interjecting Diaby in this article about financial worth and comparisons with other teams that win more, is it just goes to show that we haven’t struck the balance between fiscal responsibility and competitiveness (i.e. winning) that is well within the reach of our resources/worth, where player matters are concerned. In other words we would rather “gamble” on a player (Diaby) who be it his fault or not contributed precious little, by selling a player (Song in this case) for no reason who contributes lots and ironically was always fit, and selling that player (and many top players before) to imo arterially inflate profits that ultimately contribute to that “worth” especially in recent years.

    Bar its responsibility to rehabilitate any of its employees while still under contract, imo AFC owes Diaby nothing if/when he recovers. This is football, professional football, not a charity. Wenger has been ruthless is discarding many of the players who brought him success and helped him build his reputation and status, because they were the wrong side of 30, and despite them in many cases wanting to stay, and still having lots to offer on the field, and in preparing the next generation of players. That was generally seen as good business and he was congratulated for doing things on his terms with these players (who contributed and could still then contribute, far more than Diaby could every dream of to AFC). And the time to be ruthless to Diaby has long since imo passed. No-one cried a river for Eduardo when he was moved on quickly after he recovered , and even in his short time at AFC it’s arguable that he contributed more to the AFC cause than Diaby.

    Moreover, there are some revisionist judgments about Diaby as though he’s proven himself to be some sort of exceptional player, and that his only problems of a player are fitness related. When there have actually been some seasons in the last 6-7 years that Diaby has had a decent fitness record (by his standards of course) and has strung many games together, yet he has never been anything remotely close to a consistent player even when fit. He was often the most routinely criticized player for his performances (slow decision making) etc even when he was fit.

    Another thing, he was undoubtedly affected and continues to be affected by his 2006 ankle dislocation/break, but Diaby even in his Auxerre days regularly struggled with injury, and iirc Wenger even mused about him having genetically weak bones/muscles etc. It seems regardless of that horror tackle, Diaby’s makeup as a player was unfortunately just, injury prone.

    And this “first name on the France team sheet” justification for keeping him, first that was and is highly debatable (and arguably limited to one manager during that time), and secondly even if (unlikely) true, so what? International football is entirely different in comparison to the rigours of performing for a whole season at club level and providing worth and value to the club season after season. For perspective Diaby made 16 NT appearances since debuting 07, Giroud’s made more than that since ’11..Therefore, I’m Not really sure that France has “built around him”, nor does that have much to do with his worth to AFC.

    As a human being I wish Diaby a speedy recovery, and good luck in the future for his career. As a gooner, and a fan of a club that preaches fiscal responsibility, I hope when he recovers (and I do believe the club has a DUTY to get him well) that he is quickly moved on, he takes up valuable money and space that could go to players that can contribute more in terms of quality, and in terms of reliability.

  • Florian

    I’d be a bit wary of generalizing. Eduardo was released because he was clearly not going to make it back to his best. Not sure about Diaby, but he actually had a good game at Swansea.

    Couple that with his performance against Liverpool, and the downturn in our Chelsea home game the moment he was subbed off, and you can see why Wenger is keeping faith in him. He may not be a spectacular player, but he works well in Arsenal’s system.

    And, more to the topic, I don’t see how showing sympathy for one’s mishaps can be coupled with his income (in a negative way), especially since that person never displayed discontent, as one Ronaldo did not very far back. Yes, he earns visibly more than the average employee in the UK or US, but I doubt his earnings qualify as ridiculously high. Arsenal is not the club prone to let that happen.

  • JohnW

    Some Arsenal fans have a delusion synonymous with most England fans, that theirs is the best in the world. And yet sometimes it’s right to acknowldge that we’re not good enough at the time. That does not mean that you don’t support. I think Liverpool fans might have said exactly the same things about ManU a few years ago, but right now they are not laughing, are they? So Arsenal will bounce back, win trophies and everyone will be happy.This will come to pass, so I don’t see why Gooners slag the club, players, everything when it’s only a matter of time before we win again.

  • Mike T

    Arsenal worth nearly as much as Man Utd….. Get Real people

    I can come up with a formula and in truth so could the 12 year old that lives next door to me the simple fact is that any asset is oly worth what someone will pay for it

    One thing I will give you is that huge chunk of cash you have in reserve will have someone licking their lips!

  • Stuart

    Mike T,
    Is it not a case that Uniteds physical value is over inflated due to the amount of debt piled on them? Cancel out this debt and I think you get the levels being talked about here.

  • Mike T


    As per the last decalred accounts Arsenal debt £259 million, Man Utds £359 million. Arsenal have cash reserves of £150

  • Mike T


    Posted before I was ready. Apologies.

    Take 2

    As per the last decalred accounts Arsenal debt £259 million, Man Utds £359 million. Arsenal have cash reserves of £150 million so shown nett debt of what £100 million.

    Man Utds turover dwarfs Arsenals, they have a bigger stadium, a more valuble squad so who knows but one thing I feel sure is that irrespective the Glazers who are already taking huge sums out of their club and Kronke who may well be doing the same at Arsenal wont be selling up any time soon!

  • A. Stewart

    @ Florian re: generalizing…:

    “I’d be a bit wary of generalizing. Eduardo was released because he was clearly not going to make it back to his best. Not sure about Diaby, but he actually had a good game at Swansea.”

    That’s pretty much what you did there. So you’re saying that Eduardo was released because he was CLEARLY not going to make it back to his best. Yet he was released in a much shorter period post his injury…and Diaby was injured in what, 2006? (or 07, would have to look it up to be honest), that’s going on 7 Years! Isn’t it more “clear” that Diaby is more unlikely to make it back to his “best” given the extremely long time he has had to do so since his horror injury?

    Further, what’s his best anyway? He seems like a nice guy, I wish him a speedy recovery, but he was never ever a great player for us, even when he was decently fit. His play was characterized more often by slow/poor decision making, running down blind alleys, poor passing, and mental lapses far more than it was by tearing up the pitch in spectacular style. On his day he was unplayable, but those days were extremely few and extremely far between and not just as a result of injury related problems, but because for all his athletic prowess and skill, he just wasn’t a great player.

    Re his income and sympathy. I said I have sympathy for him like any other person who gets injured, but let’s have some perspective here, far worse things happen to regular people who can’t afford them, and with AFC in particular, he’s reportedly been one of our higher earners, and be it as a result of his fault or not, hasn’t produced anything to warrant such earnings. And because we are very rigid with certain policies regarding player matters, it’s difficult for many to accept carrying a passenger who takes up space and resources that a player of better quality and reliabilty could benefit from.

    It doesn’t make one less of a Gooner or evil, to think (while wishing his a speedy recovery, and acknowleding the club has a duty to rehabilitate his so long as he is an employee under contract), that hopefully soon thereafter he’s moved on..And I wish him all the best at that point, be it in football or outside of football, and I’m sure he’ll be fine and live a comfortable life.

    I’ll take this discussion to the appropriate thread that wasn’t up when this news broke.

  • Tasos

    Interesting reading from Mr Markham.

    He values Arsenal FC as the second biggest club in English football, and quite some distance clear from the rest yet the club have won NO trophies for eight seasons (in case you didn’t know).

    During this period Arsenal have been busy building a solid structure to go forwards in order to give the club the best opportunity for success in the years to come.

    The stadium move has taken bravery, intelligence and a whole lot of time whilst testing the patience of its fan-base but Arsenal FC will reap the rewards for this bravery and hard work in the years to come.

    Arsenal could/should be further down the line in terms of competing on the pitch but where the club are now is still way ahead of the chasing pack. Many other clubs must follow the Arsenal model if they hold any hope of competing in the future.

    The next phase of Arsenal FC has the potential to excite.

  • Linz

    15th may 2009.Arsene Wenger has admitted that if Arsenal do not end their trophy drought in the next one or two years ,his strategy for the club will have failed.”If we do not deliver in one or two years i will be responsible.We are going in the right track and everybody at the club is convinced we are doing things the right way.If we do not get there next year or the year after then you can say this was not the right way”.

  • Florian

    @A. Stewart,

    I didn’t generalize, I made a comparison between two similar cases. Two players that went through injuries of a severity rarely seen, and got back playing. After the injury, Eduardo was never the same. He was backing out of tackles and partially avoiding contact with the ball by that previously broken leg. Diaby was always able to get back to the previous level. That’s why I believe saying it’s unlikely for him to make it back is a hasty statement to make – to put it mildly.

    Re Diaby’s best days are “extremely few and extremely far between”: If you had bothered to read some stats on the Internet, you would have seen that he’s actually a pretty solid contributor when he plays. He doesn’t give away the ball very much – well, he’s not perfect, but his passes reach their destination in a percentage that’s close to the others, Arteta, Wilshere and Ramsey for reference. So, “slow/poor decision making, running down blind alleys, poor passing, and mental lapses” – I really wonder on what palpable basis did you come to this conclusion, when the evidence shows otherwise.

    And “I have sympathy for him like any other person who gets injured”: Your posts on all the threads demonstrated the contrary up to this point. But you seem at least you’re trying to clean yourself up a bit with the last paragraph. What you failed to mention is giving the man a chance to redeem himself. If after a reasonable time he doesn’t make it back, sure, moving on may start seeming a viable alternative. But until then, if I were you, I’d give him all the support I can, as an Arsenal fan.