By Tony Attwood
The latest financial figures from Arsenal show that for the year ending in May 2022 Arsenal made an operating loss of £45.5 million, down from a loss of £107.3 million the year before.
This was the season in which Arsenal (having finished eighth in the two seasons before) now ended up fifth. The season opened with media hysteria about the “worst start to a season ever” and talk of possible relegation (after three games) followed by a largely ignored recovery with a ten-match unbeaten run.
The figures also include some very important transfers inward including Ben White for €58m, Marting Odegaard for what now looks to be an astonishingly small €35m from Real Madrid, Aaron Ramsdale, for which again looks to be a singularly astute figure of €28m, and Takehiro Tomiyasu for €18.60m
But the media wanted to know none of this and even now the general comment is about the fact that the club spent over 100 million eurors and couldn’t make the top four. Oh yes and the fact that there was to be no European football for the first time in 23 years – which was odd when they failed to celebrate the fact previously that Arsenal had European football for 22 years running.
Obviously there has been a big financial shift for Arsenal following the removal of several players over time including Ozil and Aubameyang, and the return of fans to the stadium after the ban under Covid.
Costs were reduced with the sale, loan or contract end of a significant number of players, including Willock, Totteira, Maitland-Niles, Aubameyang, Chambers, Willian, David Luiz, Kolasinac, Bellerin, Guendouzi, and Reiss Nelson. Saliba went on loan and brought in Arsenal 18 million euros in loan fees – and an amazing development of the player as well as he played for the French league runners’ up.
Much was made by the media at the end of the season of Arsenal’s failure at the end of the season, by coming fifth not fourth, and as a result the entire national media universally predicted continuing failure for Arsenal – not one of them predicted that this season would get into the top four.
Indeed looking back at the situation then and now the transformation seems little short of miraculous when the league table is noted as well. Many clubs have spent far more than Arsenal and achieved far less. What’s more the players brought in have been young, meaning that not only should they continue to develop at the club, but that also their value will increase rather than decline across the coming years.
The net result is that when we run the top six table of the league, we not only find Arsenal five points clear, but that we now have a table that doesn’t include Chelsea who are eighth, while Arsenal, having totally rejigged its defence is now the best defence in the league, equal with Newcastle. We’ve conceded three goals fewer than Manchester City – something that not many commentators care to mention (a curious omission on their part!)
Only six Premier League teams have a positive goal difference (which reflects how much the top six clubs are outweighing the rest of the league). Arsenal in this regard has the second best record, at +22.
As a result we are now gaining the benefits. Here’s the difference between then and now. Seeing this comparison those purchases look rather good value for money.
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