Is Arsenal really paying £50m for White, or is it just that he is English?

By Sir Hardly Anyone

So it looks like we are finally buying the Brighton full back Ben White in the coming weeks.  The price is widely quoted to be around £50m.

So what impact might Ben White have on the two clubs?

Of the two clubs Arsenal had a better defence through last season as we can see in comparing the teams – but only by seven goals.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
8 Arsenal 38 18 7 13 55 39 16 61
16 Brighton and Hove Albion 38 9 14 15 40 46 -6 41

But we’ve often reported that Arsenal’s season was a year of bits and pieces.  Here’s the division between the first 14 games and the last 24 games of the season…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
Arsenal 14 4 2 8 12 18 -6 14
Brighton and Hove Albion 14 2 6 6 16 22 -6 12
Arsenal 24 14 5 5 43 21 22 47
Brighton and Hove Albion 24 7 8 11 24 24 0 29

Now what is interesting is that it is quite clear that in the last 24 games of the season not only did Arsenal get its attack together, in those last 24 Arsenal had a much, much better defence.

In the first 14 games Arsenal scored 0.86 goals a game.  In the last 24 Arsenal scored 1.79 goals a game. Thus the scoring ability doubled in the last part of the season.

Meanwhile, in the first 14 games of the season we were letting in 1.5 goals a game.  But in the last 24 games of  the season we were letting in 0.87 goals a game.   So we had really shored up our defence as well as improving our attack.  Even without buying a £50m defender.

If we look again at the table for the last 24 games of the season you can see we had the second best defence in the league.  We let in just one more goal than Manchester City, let in the same number of Manchester United, and conceded fewer goals than everyone else.

Which again raises the question, why do we need an expensive defender?

P Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 24 20 0 4 62 20 42 60
2 Arsenal 24 14 5 5 43 21 22 47
3 Manchester United 24 13 8 3 43 21 22 47
4 West Ham United 24 13 5 6 41 28 13 44
5 Chelsea 24 12 6 6 29 22 7 42
6 Leicester City 24 11 6 7 42 33 9 39
7 Liverpool 24 11 5 8 32 23 38
8 Tottenham Hots 24 11 4 9 43 31 12 37

There are two reasons.  One is Brighton’s awful financial position and the other is we don’t have nearly enough English players.

First, the money.

Brighton and Hove Albion borrowed £37 million last November secured against future TV money.  Exactly the messy situation Wolverhampton got themselves into and they are still struggling to work out how to get out of it.  Brighton’s losses for the last year for which accounts are available were £67.2 million, all guaranteed by the chairman. Interest rates on this sort of borrowing are quoted at around 15%.

As for the reason for their poverty (which is a bit odd since they have a ground that is full for every game), it is the money spent on transfers.

  • 2020/21: Expenditure £25.65m; income from sales: £18.5m.  LOSS £7.15m
  • 2019/20: Expenditure £67.45m; income from sales: £7.6m.  LOSS £59.85m
  • 2018/19: Expenditure £78.50m; income from sales: £12.6m.  LOSS £65.90m
  • 2017/18: Expenditure £59.85m; income from sales:  under £1m  LOSS £59.00m

Figures from TransferMarket – which I know people often say are wrong, but they are the best I can find.

Although most the Premier League regulations on money are now circumvented by the spending clubs, there are a few left concerning losses.

In short a sale of one player to Arsenal for £50m will primarily go some way to repaying the debt caused by the advance of £37m from future TV income.

The other factor is the wretched home grown regulation.   Last season Arsenal couldn’t fill up its 25 player list because it didn’t have enough home grown players – and so kicked out  Mesut Ozil and Sokratis.  Now if Hector leaves, we will be in an even worse situation.  So if we are going to buy in order to replace Hector, it has to be a home grown player – and because they are in short supply, their costs are much higher.   We are not getting a £50m player, but a player who is home grown, and thus worth more because of the artificial home grown regulations.

At the end of last summer our 25 man squad consisted of 22 players because we only had five home growns.

  1. Bellerin, Hector
  2. Chambers, Calum
  3. Holding, Robert Samuel
  4. Macey, Matthew Ryan
  5. Maitland-Niles, Ainsley

Sine then Macey went north, Maitland-Niles went to WBA – and in the end we boosted our squad by the use of the under 21s.  With Hector going, Macey gone and possibly Maitland Niles going, we are again struggling.

But at least as the under 21s reach maturity, there will be a place for them.

So when you see these websites listing all the foreign chaps we are buying, remember we can only have 17 of them and at the moment we already have more than 17.

The enemies of Arsenal and how they are trying to destroy our club


8 Replies to “Is Arsenal really paying £50m for White, or is it just that he is English?”

  1. Just a tiny point . White is primarily a centre back not a full back
    Helpful artićle though pointing out the reason for ‘ the English premium ‘ a reason why we are likely to pursue Ramsdale in goal .

  2. “Brighton and Hove Albion borrowed £37 million last November secured against future TV money. Exactly the messy situation Wolverhampton got themselves into and they are still struggling to work out how to get out of it”

    The irony is that on 20 May 2020 Arsenal borrowed a minimum of £120 million from Barclays Bank and as documents readily available on Arsenals record on the Companies House Website that the Bank have taken significant security including all property assets and also future monies from central PL funds which for clarity is mainly made up of future TV revenues

  3. As I suspect you know perfectly well Mike T the issue is how likely the repayments are to be made and how much of the money is being drawn down.

  4. Tony

    The extent of the loan isn’t known although it was widely reported it was as a minimum to repay the £120m loan repayable to HM Government . We will know a bit more when the next set of accounts are published.

    In terms of where the information is lodged:

    Go to Companies House Website
    Where it says Search for a company or an individual information put in Arsenal Football Club
    Select The Arsenal Football Club PLC
    Click on Charges
    You are able to view a 39 page document detailing details of the fixed and floating charges taken by Barclays which as you will see is a chunk of security

  5. Thank you Mike, but I think there is some information lacking here. The government backed low interest loan scheme was only available to organisations of a certain size, and so what the larger clubs did was take advantage of its incredibly low interest rates which meant they did not have to disturb other funding to see them through the pandemic. I think (might be wrong but I think) Brighton are too small to get that and so were Wolverhampton, hence their borrowing against further TV money. Southampton ran into difficulties too as I recall and sold their ground to an investment company which loaned them money again at 15%. I do think the matter is a lot more complex than you mention.

  6. Tony

    The bulk of Brightons debt, which is considerable , is what they call soft loans from their owner Tony Bloom. Their latest published accounts show that they lost circa £67 million and no doubt the next set of accounts won’t make good reading.
    A number of PL clubs have borrowed against future TV monies and indeed and yes Southampton have a history of doing this is as have Leicester, Everton and more recently Wolves. I doubt very much the pandemic helped but it has become normal practice prior to the pandemic albeit in my mind a very dangerous practise. Leicester alongside Palace have a history of borrowing against guaranteed transfer income
    Turning to the loans to larger companies that you are talking about COVID Corporate Financing Fund was only available to companies that hit a couple of standards from what I read only Spurs and Arsenal took advantage of the facility. Spurs borrowed £175 million and Arsenal £120 million both have now been repaid.
    Spurs borrowed £250 million and swept up the debt to HM government alongside other bits and pieces of debt
    Arsenal borrowed monies from Barclays to repay that £120 million and it’s thought although nothing will be confirmed until the next set of accounts are published
    The charge Barclays have against Arsenal is as comprehensive as any charge I have ever seen and whilst I very very much doubt the loans are hugely expensive in interest terms but they are certainly more than the 0.5% HM Government was charging

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