Arsenal on course to record first financial loss since 2002

European failure starting to hit Arsenal's pockets

It's been a season of transition for Arsenal as they enter a new era under Unai Emery. The Spaniard replaced the legendary Arsene Wenger who spent a massive 22 years in North London, leading the clubs renaissance as they became one of the Premier League's most dominant forces.

The Frenchmen had a massive input in almost every area of the club, which included their move to the Emirates Stadium back in 2006. Leaving Highbury for their new home was supposed to be the step they needed to take to re-enforce their place in Europe's elite, but as time's progressed their success has dried up somewhat.

Three FA Cups make nice reading but what the Arsenal fans want is the Premier League, a competition they haven't won since 2004. Their title drought has led to the club having to sell off some of their prized assets in recent seasons, which in-turn led to a drop off in performance and a failure to qualify for the lucrative Champions League.

Last seasons 5th placed finish - when they were just a point behind fourth placed Tottenham - meant that Arsenal won't be a part of European footballs elite for a third successive season and it's about to take its toll on the clubs accounts.

Highbury Arsenal
Arsenal haven't record a loss since leaving Highbury - something which looks set to change

Figures from major football clubs often make interesting reading but matters at the Emirates are particularly intriguing. The Gunners are known for being shrewd spending despite being a very rich club, with controversial owner Stan Kroenke often making the headlines.

The American has a reported net worth of over $8bn so it must be frustrating for Arsenal fans to see the club sell players such as Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, Samir Nasri etc in recent seasons.

Losing players of that quality was always going to have a major impact on matters on the pitch and the last three seasons have proven that, with their failure to qualify for the CL hitting the clubs finances hard.

On course to record a first loss since 2002

Their failures on the pitch are set to result in Arsenal making a financial loss for the first time in 17 years - so this is very serious stuff.

The lack of Champions League football is the biggest factor in this with the Gunners missing out on significant broadcast, match day and potential prize money revenue streams. Being out of the competition also reduces their commercial value around the world.

Last seasons accounts saw their revenue fall by £29.9m (7%) which was very alarming, resulting their first revenue reduction since the 1995/96 campaign, it also saw a decrease in broadcast income (£18.4m).

Those statistics played their part in the Gunners dropping down to 9th position in Deloitte's "Money League" and it looks like they could drop out the top ten once the latest figures are published, with Tottenham ready to overtake them after their superb showing in last seasons Champions League.

Tottenham Stadium
Tottenham's move to their new stadium, European qualification for a fourth successive season and an appearance in the Champions League is likely to see them leapfrog the Gunners in the money league

Emery's men missed out on CL qualification by just a point in the Premier League and by losing to rivals Chelsea in the Europa League final. Such fine margins, but margins that are going to have significant consequences for the clubs finances.

Coupled with that, the lack of income from player sales is also going to have an impact on the their funds. Lucas Perez (£4m to West Ham) was the only major departure last summer whilst the club shelled out over £70m on the likes of Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Lucas Torreira, Bernd Leno and Matteo Guendouzi.

They're also losing one of their star men, Aaron Ramsey, on a free transfer to Juventus. A £40/50m player going for nothing, which shows how poor planning has been off the pitch. This is a move that hasn't gone down well with the fans so a suitable replacement needs to be found in the upcoming window. But despite the significant amount of money they've missed out on for the Welshmen, the pending releases of Danny Welbeck, Petr Cech and Stephan Lichtsteiner will have a positive impact on the wage budget.

Aaron Ramsey Unai Emery
The loss of Aaron Ramsey will have serious negative connotations both on and off the pitch for Arsenal

But overall this doesn't make good reading at all for anyone involved with Arsenal so it's time for Stan Kroenke to do what he's been reluctant to do and put his hand in his pocket. Despite losing money this season they're still amongst the richest clubs in the world and would be able to attract top players. Perhaps if they pushed a little harder in last summers window they would've made up that extra point in the league or beaten Chelsea in Baku.

It cannot be underestimated how important this summer is. They need some extra strength in depth if they're to break into the top four and go again in the Europa League and they've been credited with moves for a number of players. Former Atletico Madrid man Yannick Carrasco is strongly linked with a transfer to North London and recruiting him would certainly be a step in the right direction - but more need to follow.

A fourth season out of the Champions League is unthinkable for a club the size of Arsenal and it's absolutely imperative that Kroenke backs Emery in every way possible. The fans are behind the Spaniard, it's time for the man with the money to start thinking properly and invest in the clubs future.


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