Arsenal’s ‘Self Financing model’ again. So what’s changed?

‘The Self-Financing Model Will Remain”!!! by Dan Smith

When the future of Arsene Wenger was dividing the Emirates, my stance was always ‘things change yet stay the same’. In other words, no matter who the manager the problem of ‘who owned us’ remained. From a PR perspective, it makes sense to wait ’til the team are on a run of victories to quietly announce ‘the self-financing model’ will remain.

So, players will continue to run down contracts to join our rivals, we will put value ahead of quality in the transfer market and we won’t pay over the odds to take that extra step. What’s worse about the club’s statement this week is the use of words, ‘we continue to believe our model works’. Sorry, when since Stan Kroenke arrived in England has his model worked? We are the furthest away from being champions during his tenure. Unless he means us, being a well-run business who make money?

Then there’s the noble idea of by us only spending what we make, the new regime is respecting our proud traditions of doing things the right way. The only thing is we heard that line before. When Roman Abramovich was buying titles for Chelsea, we were commended for building a young team thanks to hidden gems found abroad. Once other millionaires invaded Manchester we learnt that while finding value in the market was credible, the game was going in the direction where you had to accept huge wages and fees.

Apart from Leicester, history shows the more ambitious your owner, the more likely to be champions. City, United and Chelsea are all willing to throw cash around until they win things. When Liverpool, like us, need a defender, look who they brought compared to us! Don’t hide behind the fact we are in the Europa League. For most of his time in North London we had Champions League under the American’s regime and that didn’t change his approach. We still don’t know if Ozil’s contract is a change of policy or a one off, with the club not wanting fans to see the German leave at the same time as Sanchez.

So, nothing will change, the same model as the last decade being used. We will continue to spend more on match days then any fan base in Europe, be part of a TV deal which increases every year while Adidas will soon be paying 60 million to have their logo on our shirts. Yet we won’t change the model? That would have scared away so many coaches from joining us.

Things change yet stay the same? Plus ca change…..

Dan Smith


  1. Okiror says:

    OT. I Like the pass lacazete made to to Ozil for assist to Auba for 3rd goal

    1. gotanidea says:

      I just remember Ozil’s sublime assist to Aubameyang

      And before that, a sharp through ball to Bellerin. It’s been a very long time since I saw him make through ball like that and I hope he doesn’t go through another barren period again

      The internal competition from Ramsey and Smith-Rowe seems to have pumped Ozil up. Similar thing happened to Lacazette’s effect on Aubameyang

      1. McLovin says:

        I don’t think Auba had that effect on Laca. Laca has always had the talent, last season he was ALWAYS subbed after 60-70 minutes and never finished a game. He still managed to score 17 goals in 39 apps which I think is fantastic for a Ligue 1 footballer on his first season in England.

  2. gotanidea says:

    At some point, Arsenal have to give Emery more budget or he would leave. It’s difficult to keep a Spanish manager with Emery’s calibre and I’m sure the board know that

    They might not give him new player in January, but they will surely have to give him huge budget after this season is completed. So no worries, we could see the incoming of more expensive players, but maybe it would not happen soon

  3. Sheet head says:

    The main problem has not been the amount to spend, but rather, who the amount is spent on. Wenger spent fairly low amounts on similar players when a sum of that expenditure could get a good needed player. In similar manner, at times, he spent on many fringe players instead of just buying one capable player. I also wont forget to mention the summer he only bought Cech!! ?
    Emery/Raul/Sven with only 50M have done a really good job, spending with a purpose.

  4. jod says:

    Most teams can only spend what they earn, Spurs have done pretty well at it over the past few years and they have a lot less cash than Arsenal. Even the picture with the teams mentioned is more complicated than the article makes out. City really do want to buy titles, its only FFP that keeps their spending in check. Chelsea are in trouble. Their owner’s billions are pocket change compared to City’s oil money, its hard to buy titles when someone else has deeper pockets. Add to that Abramovich’s problems with the UK government and the difficulties in redeveloping the ground and its questionable how long before the club is up for sale. United’s owners, the Glaziers, see football as a business. They don’t want to put money into the club they want to take it out, same as your owner really. But if they fall too far for too long their massive commercial income will start drying up. So they are between a rock and a hard place, trying to spend just enough and no more. As far as I can see buying trophies only really works for the team with the deepest pockets.

  5. snowden says:

    Stan Kroenke’s only interest in Arsenal to silently take money out of the club as he does with other clubs he own. If that means bankcrupting the club so be it.

    The Arsenal we love has been sold down the pocket of Stan Kroenke.

  6. GB says:

    All the other teams mentioned are now living within their means, yes even City, though they do have a few dodgy sponsorship deals going on which are bending the rules of FFP. Man U are the biggest money makers so are able to spend big. Chelsea do not now get any money from their owner and spurs are owned by the extremely rich Joe Louis who has never put any of his money in and rumors abound he wants to sell them due to the stadium debt. The point is spending what you earn wisely which Liverpool did when spending the £100 million they got for Coutinho. It remains to be seen how much of the new Addidas money Emery and his team are allowed to spend by Kroenke. Speculation that we won’t spend in January or we have a £40 million budget, is just that, pure speculation. We are doing well at present so let’s just wait and see, then start shouting if and when we don’t spend.

  7. AndersS says:

    Basically, there 2 models:
    The self sustaining model, which the majority of clubs have to adhere to or the “Sugar Daddy Model”, the likes of Man City, Chelsea and PSG.
    We were on the right track some years ago, when we were competing not only for the PL but also for the Champions League. Our global brand was growing and we were actually catching up on Man U in that respect and had that been continued, we would have been competing with them also financially.
    Unfortunately we ended ud standing still or even going backwards, and there are only 2 ways, we can come back. Continuing improving and grow our global brand again through attractive football, good results and clever marketing etc.. That is one way and the self sustaining model. The other model is a Sugar Daddy. I am not sure, I would like to see the latter.

  8. tom says:

    Dan, I have no issues if people feel the current system is not good enough to compete with the cash rich Manchester Clubs or Chelsea – but please provide some ideas on what you feel would work?

    Are you suggesting we spend money by leveraging cash we do not have, or demand our owner put in more personal money (because City and Chelsea do) ?

    This sounds like the old Capitalism of ‘cash brings happiness’. A Self-Financing-Model is a well run Club. We spend what we earn, what is wrong with that?

    Under Wenger we brought smartly, developed them and sold them at huge profit. My concern is that we will continue to think we can do this. But it might well be we buy Torriera for £22m and have him for 4 seasons and well the then 26 yr could be sold for £65m.
    I believe this is the self-financing model we speak about, unless I am mistaken – either way it is a risky business (mainly due to player power).

    People now expect foreign investment to mean we will be spending millions suddenly and buying the best players…

    Arsenal have always been a Self Financing Model and it always will be unless some crazy investor has nothing better to do then buy Arsenal and spend £300m each window for the next 5 years.

    Being further away from winning the league is partly the gap created by super richer ownership and partly because we had a void period under Wenger where he couldn’t accept this change in football – and so we maintained the status quo.

    We can’t blame club owners if other clubs have owners who simply have more money. We can’t be blamed for saying this will take 6 years to build Then 2 transfer windows with £200m + spend.

    My biggest issue is Kroene being so elusive with Arsenal fans. He was that at our AGM and he has always been that. Maybe its a cultural thing, a personal thing. Maybe he is an introvert, maybe he fears the voices already speaking out against him without seeing what they are trying to do (with the limitations against city or chelsea owners).

    Either way, he needs to come out for the night with us Arsenal Fans on a pub crawl!!

  9. Kenyanfan says:

    EDITED VERSION(lot of errors in my prev post)
    This is a very big problem. Motivation starts from the EXCO.we are quick to blame wenger but we never ask ourselves what kind of motivation he himself had from his bosses.A motivated manager will always motivate the players and vise versa.
    Having said that, am afraid that its just a matter of time and the same will happen to Emery.
    He will feel the same and the worst will happen. This owner is not much interested with the performance but profits. Emery will give that for sure.
    He will go and tell the board, i want 150m to buy so and so. They will say we have 30k.
    At the end of the season he is asked, why are we position 4. He will answer its because you dint give me the 150k but i managed champions league football for next season, No.4 and FA cup and books look good.They will say, we will see how much more we can give for next season but you have tried.
    Soon, he will get in the comfort zone. No pleasure. Own boss.He knows that what is important here is profit and not trophies. Champions league, no4 and a fa cup or europa league will guarantee you a job and good pay.
    The same mentality will spread to the backroom staff and eventually to the players.
    We will resume buying young talents , making them world class and letting them off under Emery.
    He will stay for 20yrs and we will get Arteta

  10. jon fox says:

    There are some on here – naive, I call them – who think that Kroenke is bound to start serious spending soon to keep his club, or rather his ASSET, financially in the top strata. Great theory maybe; trouble is he has already owned us for over a decade now. So who can tell me WHEN this naive theory will BEGIN happening? Or we can get real – realism , I call it, – and admit that it ain’t never gonna happen while Stanley Scrooge owns the club. Forget the title or cups or fourth place; the REAL war we ALL face is shifting Scrooge from our club. Compared to that, mere matches against opponents are just skirmishes, no more than that.

  11. Pires says:

    Good article Dan.
    i think when we look at the bigger picture we will find that Wenger was not the main problem even though that he was at fault.This “self-sustaing” crap is meaningless and ,at best ,a wishfull thinking,cause in real world, especially in business, you have to spend in order to get bigger profit.In the case of a football club, it’s your spending power that speaks otherwise we will never catch the likes of City…..

    1. jon fox says:


      1. Pires says:

        Thank you Jon. English is my third language so sometimes i struggle to make myself clear but it’s always a pleasure to speak to “real” fans from England who have the chance to see the team week in week out.You have ,pal, a kind of a mystic love for the club that we ,foreign fans ,can never understand.

  12. jon fox says:

    A bit off topic, though related in a way. On TalkSport today, on the Jim White show, Jim was certain we are now in the title race. What was esp intersting is that he said Gooners were lining up to say to him, (on his phone in) to be realistic. They were saying yes to top four but a firm NO to the title this season. Nectar to my ears, as one of the most arch realists on here. I thought his view rather odd , until I reflected that he is , of course , just after further publicity for his show and what better way to achieve this than to make bold, even silly, statements. It clearly worked though as this very post proves.

  13. Midkemma says:

    I’ve said for years that the board was in charge of the money.
    I got called various things along the line of being delusional cause Wenger done everything at Arsenal, the last owners couldn’t sell the club to Silent Stan without getting Wengers permission first =.=’

    I was pointing at Gazidis…

    Am I surprised that Arsenal acted tight in the transfer window after Wenger had left? Lol, no.

    I read people slating Silent Stan yet doing so without thinking why, why are they slating him? Because he hasn’t put £500 million of his own cash in the bank? Did the Glaziers do that for UTD to buy Pogba? To spend on Martial? Lol, nope. It was the board that made the money and then the board was allowed to spend the income generated.

    Sounds like the model Arsenal have to work from right?

    When run correctly the club can spend big, why wasn’t we spending big? Poor CEO.

    Arsenals biggest waste to money though has been a CEO who didn’t back the manager, Wenger may have been slipping in quality but the fact he couldn’t get the players he felt he needed was a crime to all of us supporters.
    We want Emery to be backed and to be given the best chance he can at winning… That wasn’t given to Wenger since Gazidis arrived. Gazidis constantly undermined Wenger, when he got rid of Wenger he seen his blame shield disappear so he ran as fast as he could to Milan after showing us all how tight fisted he was after Wenger was sacked.

    Gazidis has been the biggest tumor we needed to get rid off, glad that cancerous guy has gone.

  14. Enagic says:

    Liverpool are doing it successfully why Arsenal can’t?

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