Arsenal is a selling club right? Year after year they have seen their most influential players, normally their captain, depart to a team that was able to offer more prospects of silverware and for some players, more importantly bags more money. At least this has been the scenario for a good few years and despite the sale of their latest captain, Thomas Vermaelen, to Barcelona for £15M, there is not the same feeling of loss this time around.
A closer look at some of these transfers, particularly involving Barcelona and Manchester City reveals some fascinating information. The Emirates Stadium set Arsenal back a cool £390M and is considered to be one of the finest sporting arenas in the world.
The frustration suffered by many Arsenal fans over the years has been clear to see as the financial muscle of the club clearly suffered a major detriment during this period. The club appear to now be free from the financial doldrums though, first with the signing of £42.5M Mesut Ozil and now Alexis Sanchez for £35M.
So, what has happened or who is it that has helped Arsenal to seemingly move into the big spenders’ bracket? Well two teams spring to mind – Barcelona and Manchester City. If we look at Barca, we can see that the last 8 players that they have signed from Arsenal brought in an impressive £135M. In percentage terms, this alone accounts for almost 35% of the entire stadium costs. Marc Overmars and Cesc Fabregas topped the list with £40M and £34M transfers respectively.
Manchester City, since being bank-rolled by the petrol-dollar has also played a massive role in helping to fund the Emirates Stadium. £71M has come into the Arsenal coffers from the high profile sales of players such as Nasri, Adebayor, Kolo Toure and Clichy. The two figures combined means that Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium has been funded by more than half (53%) by these two clubs alone.
As painful as it has been to see players of real quality leave Arsenal and the club having to rely on severely restricted ability to spend big, which has in turn undoubtedly affected the club's silverware winning potential, there is more than a degree of irony that two of Arsenal’s fiercest rivals over the last few years has helped to fund their new stadium. This in turn has brought the club back into serious contention as a big spender capable of bringing the world’s best players to Arsenal. Already the arrival of Mesut Ozil has helped the club win the FA Cup, ending their trophy drought and within 85 days of winning the FA Cup Arsenal have now added the Charity Shield with a thumping victory against who else but Manchester City!
Arsenal has played a very shrewd hand in manoeuvring itself out of a terrible hole which left them financially vulnerable. Whether you like the man or not, Arsene Wenger deserves incredible praise and respect for maintaining Arsenal as one of the Premiership’s top sides during this period. Arsenal’s Charity Shield victory performance has put down a marker for the season and their fans know that they will be in there with a great shout for more honours this season.