And there are other points to question in the report. Tottenham have been aided by three years of Champions League football – goodness knows what financial impact a season or more with just Europa income would do for them. With Arsenal and Manchester United we already know because they have both done it, and both are debt free. Tottenham as we know are overwhelmed by debt.
The report on Tottenham sees the new stadium as a great bonus to the club, talking up its size and income, but as we’ve shown in a number of articles, most clubs that have got a new stadium in the past 30 years have do struggled thereafter, and certainly the cost of the repayments on the debts can have a debilitating effect on the club.
For Arsenal Mr Wenger managed the situation well, keeping us in the top four and balancing the books without being tempted away. Tottenham may not find that their manager is able to do the same so easily especially with other clubs waiting with offers for players and for the manager himself.
The fact that no naming rights have been revealed for Tottenham’s Newhl stadium (they have so far only said that they have persuaded the railway company to change the name of the local station) suggests that the club want to secure the top four place before selling the name. If that is the case, it is a high risk strategy – if they don’t get the Champs League next year the naming rights could be worth a lot less.
Meanwhile Chelsea, now banned from signing anyone, although that is under appeal, have finished outside the top four three times in the past seven seasons, which suggests they can survive such upsets, but it seems Mr Abramovich has not turned up at Stamford Bridge since losing his work visa application, and the new stadium project seems to have been cancelled. That doesn’t really look like enthusiastic ownership.
Arsenal’s problem is that they are only able to invest what they generate themselves – and maybe not all of that. So Champs League entry is vital for progress. Without it we ain’t going to have much money to spend in the summer. That doesn’t mean Arsenal must sell players but it does mean that what we need to do is find some more bargains like Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi. But the club has been helped by the recent Adidas and Emirates deals being signed before the season is finished showing the sponsors’ faith in the “brand.”
So to summarise, Arsenal need top four to be able to recruit new transfer targets. Another Europa season will mean modest purchases. Manchester United are financially immune, such is their income from worldwide marketing, and a season outside the Champs League won’t affect them. Chelsea are in a state of limbo. If the owner gets his visa back the project could be back on. Without his engagement, they need a new owner fast – especially if they slip out of the top four.
Finally Tottenham. I see them as being at the greatest risk if they don’t get top four. They need the top four to be able to pay for the stadium, and they need it also to secure the continuance of their manager. Without the manager they might struggle to find cheap new players and keep the ones they have. And if the curse of the new stadium hits, they could be in real trouble.