Arsenal have released their financial records for the six months ending on the 30th November 2016. The main takeaways are that they spent a record £110.5 million on players, while their turnover increased to £191.1 million. Furthermore, the club announced a profit before tax of £12.6 million, compared to a loss of £6.2 million last year. These show that the Gunners remain in a strong financial position, which is not surprising considering they are one of the best teams in the Premier League. Although they have been criticised for their lack of transfer business, they are beginning to spend more and supporters will be hoping for that to continue based on these results.
There has been a lot of speculation about the future of Arsene Wenger and these results show that the finances of the club are healthy. Although they have struggled to challenge for major honours, Arsenal remain an attractive club and there will be several European coaches monitoring their managerial situation. Their cash reserves stand at £100.5 million and there will be money available in the summer. It will be interesting to see what the finances look like in a year’s time as the club are facing a summer of transition with many key figures likely to move on.
Two players that could be leaving in the summer are Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. Both have contracts that expire in 2018 and Arsenal won’t want to risk losing the pair for nothing. If contract renewals can’t be agreed, then the club will have no option but to sell. Despite their importance to the team, the club won’t be giving into their wage demands, according to club chairman Sir Chips Keswick:
“Further work is required in the area of contract renewals and we will continue to invest rationally in our squad retention. As expected, increased Premier League broadcasting revenues have had a direct impact on player costs both in terms of transfer prices and player wage demands.”
‘While these are market forces that have contributed directly over time to the success of the Premier League, I would sound a note of caution in light of the very material contractual commitments to future wages that clubs are taking on.’
He mentions the need to ‘invest rationally’ and that is the correct approach. Although Ozil and Sanchez are important to the side, they can’t be allowed to threaten the financial situation of the club. It is rumoured that both players want upwards of £250,000-per-week to remain at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal need to do their best to keep their two key men in North London, but if a sensible deal can’t be agreed, then they need to move on. No player is bigger than the club.
Finally, the return of Per Mertesacker during the coming weeks could provide a timely boost, as he will add leadership to the team. He has yet to feature this season and he won’t be a regular like he has been in years gone by, but his experience could be important as the club attempt to finish in the top four and win the FA Cup. Danny Welbeck has been praising the defender and labelled him ‘the sickest guy’ at Arsenal:
“You wouldn’t expect it if you met Per Mertesacker, but he’s a top man. A sick, sick guy!”
The Gunners are often criticised for their frail mentality and lack of fight on the pitch. Although they sometimes struggle in big matches, there are some real leaders in the squad and Mertesacker is one of them. He received a contract renewal earlier this year and many doubted the decision. However, it is obvious that he is well respected in the dressing room, as shown by the above quote. He still has a major part to play at the club, even if his on-field contributions will be limited.
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