My overall assessment was that, contrary to popular opinion, Arsenal’s failure to compete with the heavy spenders in the Premier League has nothing to do with how much money is available for Wenger to spend, rather how he chooses to spend the considerable resources made available to him.
Yet, while the sum total of my wage bill estimate added up mathematically, the breakdown lacked accuracy and I’ve long been meaning to perfect it. So, armed with further information - and recent access to Arsenal’s full-year accounts, the below update should be a little more accurate an estimate of how Arsenal’s current £143.4m wage bill is made up.
|FIRST TEAM||WAGE (pwk)||WAGE (p/yr)|
|Ju Young Park||£50,000||£2,600,000|
|FIRST TEAM STAFF|
|Assistant to Manager|
|Steve Rowley (Chief)||£1,000||£52,000|
|Ken Friar OBE||£10,980||£570,960|
|Sir Chips Keswick||£480||£24,960|
|Player bonus pool||£192,307||£10,000,000|
(Note to other websites: please link to this weblog rather than publish salary statistics as the figures are being constantly revised)
The wage bill has risen by 19% from last season and is currently only £19m less than Manchester United’s and £25m behind Chelsea. All clubs trail behind Manchester City, although just because Man City have a wage bill of £174m doesn’t mean you need a wage bill of £174m to compete for the Premier League.
Money will get you so far in competing for the Premier League, but paying ridiculously over-inflated salaries to beat off the competition is not necessarily a true reflection of a squad’s overall ability or the ultimate route to success. The missing link is a management team’s ability to convert that financial outlay into trophies.
Basically, Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal have much fewer resources than Man City, but still have more than enough to field a world class first team + bench that is capable of outstripping the rest of the Premier League and winning consistently enough to mount a title challenge.
This notion can be further assessed by looking at the spend of a team such as Tottenham, who competed with Arsenal for a place in the top four despite spending £30m less in wages, while Newcastle finished just 5 points behind Arsenal despite spending £110m less in wages! The Northern club has halved its wage bill from £74m to £34m over the past two seasons, yet still managed a top four challenge.
If Newcastle can compete with Arsenal notwithstanding a £110m wage deficit, why can’t Arsenal compete with Man City, Chelsea or Man Utd for the title when the wage gap, in relative terms, is far smaller?
This evidence re-establishes the fact that Wenger’s inability to challenge for the title has little to do with being unable to compete financially, but everything to do with inefficient wage spend allied to poor player purchases and rank bad management.
Based on my salary estimates above, we can better view Wenger’s horrendous cash wastage by examining the salary spend on the following distinctly average players over a 4-year period.
Vito Mannone £6.2m
Kieran Gibbs = £10.4m
Ju Young Park = £10.4m
Wojciech Szczesny = £10.4m
Lukasz Fabianski = £10.4m
Aaron Ramsey £10.4m
Johan Djourou £10.4m
Sebastien Squillaci = £10.4m
Nicklas Bendtner = £10.4m
Abou Diaby £12.4m
Andre Santos £12.4m
Marouane Chamakh = £12.4m
From that list, Wenger has, or will have by the time their contracts expire, blown £139.3m on wages. Add another £24.6m in transfer fees = a total expenditure of £163.9m. In fact, the cost is actually considerably higher as some of those players have been at the club far longer than 4 years - up to 7 in some cases.
Some might bemoan my choice of targets to pick on, but it would only make for worse reading if I chose to include some of Wenger’s other grave disappointments such as Theo Walcott and Andrei Arshavin. Many might want to add a prize dud like Gervinho to the list, or judging by Arsenal’s abysmal defending, Mertesacker, Vermaelen or Koscielny.
The jury’s also out on new signings Giroud and Podolski, who so-far have only 3 goals between them in 10 Premier league games. Early days, but that £24m outlay doesn’t look like coming good either.
The players mentioned in the above two paragraphs have cost the club a further £86m in transfer fees, and over a 4-year contract Arsenal has either spent, or is committed to spending, at least £119.6m in wages on those players.
The question is, how many of these Wenger purchases have proven to be the absolute top quality required to sustain a title challenge or compete for the Champions League? The total expenditure on wages and salaries for all of the above players combined amounts, or will do by the time their contracts expire, to £369,500,000.
Sorry, but the idea that Arsenal is a club unable to compete due to lack of finances is utterly preposterous.
Now that we can take Wenger’s resources out of the equation, we can focus on the real reasons Arsenal has been unable to challenge for trophies going on 8 years, such as the obscene amounts of money Wenger wastes on average players, his total failure to coach defence, fundamentally flawed tactics and clear inability to motivate the squad.
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