Kroenkes don’t spend enough on Arsenal: the evidence

By Iver Pound-Note

Caughtoffside recently wrote, “Arsenal have had so many problems over the years when it comes to contracts and extensions: The main issue has been handing out huge long-term deals to those who aren’t worth it while the contracts of their stars have been allowed to run into the final year, so there is some good news for the fans this summer.”

The evidence for this – and perhaps more importantly the comparison with other clubs – was of course zero.

But meanwhile Just Arsenal wrote “Stan Kroenke has never been one to spend too much money and we shouldn’t expect him to act too differently all of a sudden.”   Is that true?

Here is the net spend comparison in millions of pounds across last season’s top eight clubs.

Club 2017/18 (£) 2018/19 (£) 2019/20 (£) 2020/21 (£) Total
Manchester C -203.53m -18.89m -79.67m -96.88m £-397.97m
Manchester U -137.61m -46.93m -131.04m -58.32m £-373.90m
Liverpool +9.56m -126.79m -28.08m -35.51m £-180.82m
Chelsea -59.31m -112.99m +101.04m -169.56m £-240.82m
Leicester C -34.22m -16.92m -14.22m -3.80m £-69.16m
West Ham U +11.00m -77.43m -58.11m -38.37m £-162.91m
Tottenham H -17.73m +4.82m -75.60m -87.48m £-175.99m
Arsenal +4.64m -65.03m -96.08m -59.27m £-215.74m
Average £-227.16m

These figures are net spend: the amount of money spent less the amount received from selling players. Now here is the comparison with the trophies gained.

Club Total spend Trophies £ per trophy
Manchester C £-397.97m Lge x 3, FA Cup, Lge Cup x 3 £56.85m
Manchester U £-373.90m
Chelsea £-240.82m FA Cup, Europa, Champs Lge £80.27m
Arsenal £-215.74m FA Cup £215.74m
Liverpool £-180.82m Lge, Champs Lge £90.41m
Tottenham H £-175.99m
West Ham U £-162.91m
Leicester C £-69.16m  FA Cup £69.16m
Average £-227.16m

So we can see that among last season’s top eight, the average expenditure over the past four years is £227.16m – but there is a huge range between Manchester City’s £397.97m expenditure and Leicester’s £69.16m.

If we take the trophies that clubs play for in Europe and England as being equal, the most efficient club is Manchester City who spend £56.85m per trophy.

Clearly the club in the worst position is Manchester United who have spent £373.9 million across four seasons and won nothing as far as I can see (I have discounted the Community Shield incidentally, although including it would benefit Arsenal.

So we can see Arsenal are the fourth highest spending club in the Premier League’s top eight, but our return for all this money is one trophy.  

So what has Arsenal got so wrong?

Clearly it is not, as most pundits like to say, that we don’t spend money.  We do – we are the fourth highest spending club in the league across the last four years.  Clearly constantly changing managers is not good, although there’s not an absolute link between managerial changes and success.  However it is quite surprising if not actually shocking (for me at least) to see how many managers the clubs have had.  I’ve only counted managers who lasted more than one game.

Club Total Trophies Managers*
Manchester C £-397.97m Lge x 3, FA Cup, Lge Cup x 3 1
Manchester U £-373.90m 2
Chelsea £-240.82m FA Cup, Europa, Champs Lge 4
Arsenal £-215.74m FA Cup 4
Liverpool £-180.82m Lge, Champs Lge 3
Tottenham H £-175.99m 3 (+ vacancy)
West Ham U £-162.91m 4
Leicester C £-69.16m  FA Cup 3
Average £-227.16m

*Including interim managers and Moyes counts twice at WHU

So yes, spending more money can buy lots of trophies – but there are two caveats.  One is that it is good to keep the same manager throughout, and the other is, if you are going to sack a manager, do it with a clear thought about who comes next.

What we can see is that the tale that the Kroenke’s don’t spend is typical of the mindless gibberish that many drainpipes (or outlets as they like to be known) propagate.

The fact is that Manchester City have spent £182m over four years more than Arsenal, and have won six more trophies than Arsenal.  But they have also had just one manager.   Yet against this Manchester United are close to rivalling Manchester City for spending (the difference is just £6m a season, which is about one arm of a top player at current rates).  And they have had only two managers.

So it is not a simple formula.

And there’s another little contradiction to note.  Criticising Arsenal for buying the wrong players, and then demanding that the club spend ever more in order to buy more players is a Manchester United solution – and that isn’t working.

Curiously, I think the Leicester model holds a hint of the key, and I’ll come back to that shortly. It’s called tactics and these articles give a clue.


3 Replies to “Kroenkes don’t spend enough on Arsenal: the evidence”

  1. Its not what we spend but how we spend it.
    Unfortunately for every Tierney there is a Mustafi and it is often the case that the next new manager very often does not rate what the previous manager signed.
    The solution therefore is to get the correct manager in and ensure he signs the right player for the position and style of play the manager wants.
    Easier said than done..

  2. I would also like to put forth the notion that Arsenal have more fools following them as per the league average ! From the sad sack stories that emanate in the media , Arsenal seem to be the butt of most them.

    It must be a very sad precedence that alleged Arsenal fans fall for the gibberish that qualifies as football news . If only we had a Pound for each of these dolts , we could buy all the 91 players tipped to join us !

    Up the Gunners !

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