Where does Arsenal stand financially in relation to the other top clubs?

By Tony Attwood

As I noted in my last article, for the financial year 2016-17, we have one club that hasn’t filed its accounts and has been threatened with a winding up order (Crystal Palace), two clubs that made a loss (Chelsea and Sunderland) and 17 that made a profit.

Clubs don’t have to report their figures in exactly the same way as each other, but I’ve taken three figures that all the clubs report and done a little chart comparing the top six.

And just so we don’t lose track of what happened in that year, Leicester, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City were the Champions League teams.  Manchester United played in the Europa and Chelsea didn’t bother with Europe at all – which goes some big way to explain their loss.

As for the league it finished like this

Pos Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Chelsea 38 30 3 5 85 33 52 93
2 Tottenham Hotspur 38 26 8 4 86 26 60 86
3 Manchester City 38 23 9 6 80 39 41 78
4 Liverpool 38 22 10 6 78 42 36 76
5 Arsenal 38 23 6 9 77 44 33 75
6 Manchester United 38 18 15 5 54 29 25 69

The point about these preliminaries is that Chelsea lost money by not being in Europe, but used their free time to focus on the league which they won by seven points.   But that League trophy didn’t bring in much extra money – all grounds are sold out anyway.

The figures are of course in millions of pounds… and they are for 2016/17

Arsenal Chelsea Liverpool Man C Man U Tottenham*
Turnover 427 368 364 473 581 306
Wages 199 221 208 264 263 127
Profit 45 -14 40 0 57 58
Debt £47m £1.47bn £202m £1.5bn £213m (£15m)

The final row (debt) is the odd one in that the figures vary enormously with Manchester City and Chelsea around the one and a half billion pounds worth – which spelled out is £1,500,000,000 – while Tottenham say they have no debt but actually have £15m in the bank.

But there is an asterisk by their name because their accounts also note that they have a £400,000,000 bank loan facility which was taken out in May 2017 to fund the stadium programme of which at the time of completing the accounts for the year £152m had been borrowed.

The figures as they stand make Tottenham the most profitable club, which comes about because they had not engaged in any stadium work during this period, had no debt to service in terms of buying anything to do with the stadium, and once again had made a profit in terms of the buying and selling of players.

£1m behind them is Man U, who own their ground, and indeed have the biggest league ground there is, and are very popular when it comes to being selected for TV showing.   In third place was Arsenal, who were also third in terms of turnover.   Arsenal were however fifth in terms of money spent on wages.

So what might happen next time around in the next set of accounts that we will see in one year’s time and which will take into account the season 2017/18 which has just finished.

Arsenal will have a lower turnover, having not been in the Champions League in the season just finished.   But expenses will be up a little because of the money spent on transfers, although we have to recognise that transfers are accounted for over a period of years, not just in the year in which the player was bought or sold.

Chelsea’s figures I imagine will leap up because they were back in the Champions League.  Man U will suffer a set back also by not being in the Champions League.

So I would imagine Chelsea will show in one year’s time, a return to profit.  But for them thereafter the issue is one concerning Mr Abramovich, and what happens to the debt that is accrued.   As long as Mr Abramovich is at Chelsea there is no problem concerning the debt, unless he suddenly wants it repaid to him, which seems unlikely.  He might sell the club, but write off the debt himself, or he might sell it with the debt in place, which would perhaps be a little difficult.

Very, very roughly a team that gets to the round of 16 in the Champions League will make around 25 million euros.  I have not been able to find exact figures for the Europa league but I think Arsenal would have got around 7 million euros from getting to the semi-final of the Europa, so that might be a drop of about £15m on income last year.

And as a postscript we might note that 19 of the 24 clubs in the Championship made a loss in 2016/17, according to Deloitte.

Makes you think.


13 Replies to “Where does Arsenal stand financially in relation to the other top clubs?”

  1. Generally speaking then, the teams that pay the highest proportion of their turnover on player wages (and I would guess transfers) are the same teams who have huge debts and made no money but are bankrolled in order to buy trophies.

    Meanwhile the team that makes the highest percentage profit against turnover and has paid down most of it’s debt (we can’t include Tottenham in that really) having built a fantastic stadium also has the lowest percentage paid on wages.

    Financial Fair Play in any way shape or form would have had AW and the Board winning a Nobel Prize for economics let alone the league title on several occasions. But I guess the bloke down the pub knows best…………

  2. “Man U will suffer a set back also by not being in the Champions League”. Really? Or you are kidding?

  3. He is talking about the 2017/18 accounts, reading the article usually helps before commenting

  4. Why does Untold open up in mobile mode on my desktop, it’s been happening for a couple of weeks. Anyone else having the same problem, is it Untold or is it my computer?

  5. Arsenal who will not spend more that £50m this summer in the transfer market to sign some senior players, but will still have a high wage bill to cope with, and will not sell any of their star players this summer to make big money are not expected to incur any financial loses but make some good gains in the club’s account.

    Cutting your coat according to your pocket is what is called prudence. Which Arsenal have been adhering to and have made it a cardinal culture at the club. Arsenal have never been in debts as a result of overspending in the transfer market. I think the only club in the PL who has the big financial muscle fiber worldwide marketing power that afford them to be spending big on incoming tranfers and be in red but without going into administration is Man Utd.

    Spending massively by a club to buy big could make the club that does this to win the PL Title but if the club has a very good seasoned manager as we’ve seen Man City has and done to win the League Cup and the PL Titles last season. And not only that, for they set a new PL Title points haulage record of 100 points during the proceess. Which I think will be difficult to be equaled by any PL club soon not to talk of to break it. So, kudos to Man City for what they achieved in the PL last season. But spending big again to buy big this summer by Man City may not guarantee them winning the PL Title again next season. For, the seasons are not the same as the PL opposition big club sides that includes Arsenal despite their spending low this summer will all give Man City a good run for their money as they challenge them tenaciously to the PL Title win next campaign.

  6. Check the settings on your PC. You might need to switch from mobile web setting to PC web setting. Helpful?

  7. So wake and bake and I designed the new UA app.

    That done went to the coffee shop, ran into an acquaintance and sat down to emails and drifted here eventually.

    I was an unfortunate who missed Eddie, thank the heavens for Arsenal Player.

    I don’t mind if he doesn’t get a mention, stay away from the media. Third choice, move over Danny then?

    The grapevine says Adli is all but wrapped up. What a coupè and indeed his preference is centre/right.

    So we are following protocol then. These two are mapped no doubt. The change will hopefully work for concluding Meyer, Sokratis can cherry that picking.

    So bench has possibility.


    And you still have


    Wonderful stuff altogether, that’s a whole team spare of quality in development, why is a question not asked often enough. Why a 34 year old!

    That brings me to Monreal, we won’t be playing compact enough to play with him, our main weakness is one of our strengths. That bench which will shortly exist is blessed with loads of pace in wide areas, not so much experience. Kolasinac can match physical elements of his game yo other players, but his speed of thought needs improving, and pace as much as possible. The former needing to compensate for the latter. Monreal, his care of the ball is often second to none on the field. But his job in our, yes ‘our’ system which makes our identity calls for him to Ashley Cole, the epitemy of LB adapted to “Wengerballl’. Gibbs could, but struggled in other areas, some similarly to Monreal.

    So setting aside the 25: let’s look at the options:















    That would account for every position on the pitch having a starter and understudy except GK accounting for 4 HG births without registering a single U21 giving you a year to consider who is aged.


    I have omitted the following players only.

    Nacho Monreal 32
    Skodran Mustarfi 26
    Petr Cech 36
    Lucas Perez 29
    Chuba Akpom 22
    David Ospina 29
    Damian Martinez 25
    Carl Jenkinson 26
    Danny Welbeck 27

    With all but Perez nd Jenkinson entering their final year I can’t see past the two tiers of these rank outsiders.

    1. They are either beyond thirty or turning 30 this year, and advanced in the years for their position at peak level.

    2. They have failed to develop to the required standard for Arsenal FC in terms of significant progression required at club level. Are able to carve out a fruitful career and return a profit leaving now.

    3. They are one one of 4/8 players who would add to the HG quota for English clubs or qualify as EU player abroad and represent a good value for money acquisition proven at premier league level or Championship.

    4. Are Skhodran Mustarfi and could be someone you could replace for a nominal fee of around €19m euros and substitute with a second signing at a similar age to Callum Chambers and Rob Holding. Bridging the gap to Mavrapnaos and Bielik.

    Personally all I can see is doubling your transfer kitty.

    In my fundementall6 real world founded fantasy football transfer list.

    You replace 8 with in addition to the 3 (1 confirmed and 2 near certain) a further 3-4.

    Getting Meyer for free would be a coupè, it’s player dependent. We are a very good option for a player with a step up to make or point to prove mind.

    Again I can’t see past getting Butland, Athletico have priced up Oblak and said £80m will get you the player, that’s £8m off his clause. Liverpool have pulled out and intensified their pursuit of Allison, ensuring that the Oblak buyer pays full wack or close to. Meanwhile they want to snap up their target as Napoli and Athletico are interested.

    Seems like it could be completed with Fiminio keen to have a fellow countryman on board. United have a figure they can work with. Damian is close to leaving, but as personal agreements have been reached, Juventus refuse to pay €20m quote rightly Juventus not being in a hurry having sealed Can a key target. They need sales of squad players and a goalkeeper to push Szczesny, then more quality and one more Rugani, who they have now completely ruled out the sale of as Mandzucic near the exit door, but it appears they would rather jettison the wages and gain the value in the Higuain contract. I concur.

    No doubt Man United will be braced for a De Gea bid and will argue that if Oblak is £80m De Gea is £100m. Athletico will like the sound of this, Real strengthen, but Navas has produced at key moments anyway so with losing Griezman which seems inevitable when Messi gets involved, they will go for their favoured target Keoa who has massive potential and is likely to develop to the levels of Oblak and We Gea, that tier in the sky. It will cost just a fraction of the income from the sale and cost Real a fortune.

    Real will be aware of this outlay and may wait a little on the move. Chelsea will be hopeful of selling Courtois and PSG seems the likely destination. However with PSG almost certain to meet the FFP requirements they are in little hurry to release quality players for reduced fees, preferring to court the many player representatives. Sound thinking.

    What this continuing saga means for Arsenal is…..

    Well we can shop around for:


    Relatively calmly.

    And in fact the case may be closer to the fact we have a verbal agreement to purchase the ‘Turkish Boy’ following on from Sokratis. Has a nice balance, Koscielny to tutor Chambers and Holding. Greek on Greek, German speaker on German speaker.

    We’re that the case, then actually, we’d solely be after a DM.

    Which by my accounts; you had £70m, can make £70m.

    Get a RB free, CAN free, spend £17m on a CB Hold £35m twice for a CB and DM. Neither at the WC so no hurry.

    So you would have around £53m left.

    I think you could squeeze in Butland and Golovin.

    But first you need to sign a starlet from under PSG’s nose, highlighting the opportunities available, showcasing those with some youth players coming out over the season. If you drop down into EL again, Thursdays become development day and fight for your place day. EFL becomes, development day, fight for your place day. FA Cup is momentum day. The focus is the League. Let’s be well in contention for top 4 come January and reassess.
    Selling in January was a masterstroke.

    With the window for negotiations already open, it is likely that Aldi and Sokratis could well be announced tomorrow, when the players are able to be officially unveiled, before beginning their contracts at the commencement of next month.

    These announcements will likely signal the started guy for the negotiation of sales. I highly expect that the first sales will be less involved squad members. Carl Jenkinson, Akpom, Martinez. Ospina and Welbeck will need to prove their worth and value at the WC. With Cech and Shkordan reliant on a GK being affordable more than available and an upgrade and similarly a CB.

    If we can bank £10m from Jenkinson and Akpom we are flying. Ospina and Welbeck £20m, imperious. And if we can get £30m+ from Cech and Mustarfi, we are bang on track. And if we can generate £15m out of Perez we have interpreted an inflated market uniquely, by simply having players available that undercut the market average at intermediate level.

    Brilliant economic strategy, what kind of Genius built that?!

    So in due course you’d just need a RB, CB, AM & then CF. Probably 1 per year. Lichtstein, Koscielny, Ozil, Aubameyang. MIkhitaryan, Sokratis.

    It would repeat again in four years, Ramsey, Wishere. At CM.

    And almost a decade until you’d have to restart that. With he is emerging intermittently in th starting 11 and wider 25 or 23. With 10 players developing for ever role we have.

    In fact could you get all the players in you’d have change for a Wenger recommended Russian, a bit like buying Arshavin a few years earlier.


  8. Mick, it has been happening to a few of us. I have no “mobile” device, and have never connect to Untold over a “mobile” device, and I still get those dumb mobile pages.

  9. Mick… Have you tried a different browser? Same result?

    Try clearing your Browser cache, closing the browser and restarting.

  10. I have wondered if it might have something to do with the rate the Untold servers get requests at. If the rate is low, you get the proper stylesheets (or however you refer to these things), but if the rate is high, it can give you the wrong one.

  11. It’s being philshered and worms placed inside the network via links attached to add as the weak spot.

    Some people strangely have grey responses for grey matters which ultimately appear black and white by perpetually appearing grey.

    Interesting the attacks, conjecture.

    Shame some commenters dial to apply the decorum of that Spud girl who impromptly turned up.

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