The big six transfers thus far, and who’s got more cash?

By Sir Hardly Anyone

So far this transfer window Arsenal have spent £38m and brought in £12m… a loss of £26m.  This compares with Chelsea who have a profit of £28m, Liverpool who have a loss of £39.5m, Manchester City who have a loss of £32.3m, Manchester United who have no transactions involving money recorded, and Tottenham who have a loss of £19m.

Here are the details to date…

Club Players in Cost Players out Income
Arsenal Vieira £30m Guendouzi £9m
Turner £5m Mavrapanos £3m
Marquinhos £3m Osei-Tuto Free
Lacazette Free
(Totals) £38m £12m
Chelsea Beach Free Mane £28m
(Totals) £28m
Liverpool Nunez £64m Minamino £16m
Carvalho £8m
Ramsay £5m
(Totals) £77m £16m
Manchester City Haaland £51.5m Bazunu £12m
Porro £7.2m
Fernandinho Free
Braaf Free
(Totals) £51.5m £19.2m
Manchester United Devine Free
Matic Free
(Totals) £0
Tottenham Hotspur Bissouma £25m Carter-Vickers £6m
(Totals) £25m £6m


But who can afford to keep on buying?  That is the interesting question.

According to FrontOfficeSport Chelsea appear to have a debt of around $1.9 billion.  The second most indebted club is Tottenham, which has a debt of $1.06 billion.

Of course debt doesn’t matter until either a) it has to be repaid or b) interest rates start rising.   Chelsea have overcome this problem rather easily because it is illegal to pay money to Russian asset owners at present for a UK based company.   Tottenham might be a bit more unlucky as interest rates start to rise – although undoubtedly they have some protection against that.  But those debts are pretty eye-watering.

Then there is the problem for Chelsea of how much Abramovich has put into the club over the past five years ($451m) while at the same time the owners of Arsenal (not subject to any embargo) have put $260m.

According to the Front Office website, “All the money loaned by Abramovich since 2003 has been interest-free. What this means is that the money is essentially “cheap” relative to other sources of capital.

This is what has kept Chelsea running, and of course, it is true that Abramovich can’t ask for any of his money back at the moment, although maybe one day he might be able to.

So Chelsea is able to consider the transfer market.

But, the same article tells us, “During Abramovich’s tenure, Chelsea generated about $1.1 billion in operating losses,” largely due to the problem of increasing match-day revenue (its a small stadium and doesn’t have the built-in facilities that the new Tottenham Hots stadium does, nor that Arsenal managed to build into their stadium after the move from Highbury.

And there was another issue.  Because money seemed limitless, and the owner never took any dividend, everything looked rosy despite the impossibility of earning more from match days.  So the wages bill at Chelsea escalated.

Oh yes and there is that funny old thing about the ground being owned by a non-profit company that refused to sell itself to the previous regime.   Improving and upgrading Chelsea’s ground is thought to involve costs of around £2.5bn.   Which even in these days of oilgarch insanity is rather a lot.

Tottenham has its ground to pay for, and Chelsea has a limited income with its ability to sign anyone wanted now removed.  These are the factors that we might see influencing the financial arrangements of the “big six” in the this transfer window, and possibly maybe for seasons to come.

3 Replies to “The big six transfers thus far, and who’s got more cash?”

  1. Might want to update that table…
    Pretty sure Mane played for Liverpool, not Chelsea!

  2. Spurs debts are largely in bonds, fixed rate and fixed term repayable over various periods up to 35 years. Its how you finance a major capital project. Given the stadium will probably last 100 years a 35 year repayment period is not a problem. So quoting numbers with no context tells you absolutely nothing. To actually figure out how much Spurs have to spend on transfers you would need to look at the cash flow, what’s coming in and what’s going out on an annual basis. I suspect the situation at Chelsea is more complicated but again cash flow is key. The numbers for City are of course totally meaningless, with the backing of an oil state they will never run out of cash. I always hate it when people who appear to know nothing about finance start talking about it.

  3. jod
    Speaking of knowing nothing… “the stadium will probably last 100 years”???

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