The facts about Arsenal’s transfer kitty

Arsenal’s Real Transfer Budget By An AST Source via the OnlineGooner

It’s a lot more than the £50 million headline figure

This analysis, provided by the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust is based on figures in the last published AST summary from March 2018…

The new “head coach” appointment has been accompanied by much talk about funds available for transfer activity, before any player sales. Ivan Gazidis even said “go look at our accounts, it is all very transparent”. The Arsenal Supporters Trust have been analysing the club accounts for 15 years and provide below a short summary of the current position. The club’s financial year end is 31st May 2018 but we won’t see these numbers until late September 2018.

Arsenal reported cash reserves at 30 November 2017 of £136m – with further cash of £23m held back to guarantee debt service requirements. This was a modest decrease on cash reserves held in May (£180m total – £144m net of debt reserve) and reflected the net proceeds from transfer dealings over the summer (£9m) offset by instalments due on past player purchases (previously believed to have been £20m). These cash reserves are available for transfers and wages over the following 12 months assuming the revenues and costs stay the same, but also include outstanding instalments due on past transfers in the year ahead as well. It is estimated at £20m from 30/11/17.

The club has said little about amounts still due on player purchases at 30 November 2017 and provide no detail in the notes to the accounts for us to make educated estimates. We know from May 2017’s accounts there should be a further £23m to pay on player purchases plus the combined impact of the summer and winter’s business which was considerable but very little on a net basis, although there may well be considerable provision for agent fees due on the life of new player contracts in long term provisions. Payments to agents over the past season will be have been quite high. These are paid when players are signed (and sometimes when they are sold) or a new contract is agreed. The figure for this is likely to be around £12-£14m and this will be an ongoing cost going forward. This impacts the amount available for players this summer, as does the estimated £10 – £12 million cost of paying off Arsene Wenger and a number his staff due to the termination of their contracts.

In autumn 2017 we estimated spare cash before the impact of the summer’s transfers at £83m and believe this is a cautious estimate of free cash at the end of November 2017 too. Looking forward to May 2018 we estimate that the residual (free to use) cash available will grow in the second half of the financial year, which contains the bulk of TV revenues together with Platinum and Gold Season Ticket renewals to somewhere in the region of £100m come 31 May 2018 and the headline cash figure to somewhere in the region of £170m. The club will benefit from the likes of Cazorla and Mertesacker not being on the wage bill any longer, although increases on existing deals (such as Aaron Ramsey) will bite into this. The end of May 2018 figure could also be lower if a large number of season tickets holders renew late, although this only effects the accounts, assuming they do pay up at some point. The £100m figure for the transfer budget would include increase in wages and agent fees, although in reaching this figures we have already taken account of the payments to Arsene Wenger and his departing staff.

£100m is a lot of firepower and the summer and winter’s frantic transfer activity has done nothing to diminish the cash still available to invest in the team. (The purchase of Aubameyang was largely funded by the sales of Walcott, Giroud and Coquelin). Wage capacity exists too but the Board will have an eye to annual operating free cash flow before transfer payments and receipts which is down at around £30m pa – which is in effect the long term sustainable level of net transfer activity until the new sponsorship deals kick in in 2019. This £30m is an annual surplus, and goes towards other available cash which can be used for transfer activity. If the club were in the Champions League this figure would be larger.

The briefed £50m transfer kitty is a conservative figure. As Ivan Gazidis himself said in the press conference introducing Unai Emery, because the club’s figures are reported, they are indeed transparent. This is due to the ownership model of the club, which includes small shareholders who must be kept informed. Were Stan Kroenke able to take the club private, we would not be privy to the information relayed above. What we cannot judge is the mentality of the decision makers at the club. Might they be thinking of holding back some of the available funds as an insurance against not qualifying for European football at the end of Unai Emery’s first season? Without that, there would be no annual surplus at the conclusion of the following campaign.

One other thing to note. This month also sees a personal landmark for CEO Ivan Gazidis as it will take his gross payments from Arsenal over the £20 million mark.

This article was first published in the OnlineGooner, but if you think this is good then you should get a subscription to the print version of The Gooner fanzine every season. A great read and a service to the fans. I love it!



  1. Xxnofx says:

    Thanks for this .i was looking myself when Ivan said that in the press conference ,but couldn’t make sense of it all

  2. Sign someone Orsin Venker says:

    A bigger transfer kitty means better players (hopefully).
    RIYADH MAHREZ anyone?

    1. gotanidea says:

      Mahrez seems to be joining Man City

      He is not the only right winger with a wonderful left foot. There are Bale, Bailey, Malcom, Janujaz, Draxler

      1. Sign someone Orsin Venker says:

        Draxler is right footed , Bale is too expensive, Malcolm is too unproven….
        Our attack desperately needs a right winger too make it elite.
        Auba / laca ( rotation)
        … Mkhitaryan ……….. Ozil …………. Mahrez …
        …………………. Ramsey……. Torreiro ……………….
        Monreal …….soyuncu……. Socrates…….. Bellerin

        1. Kedar says:

          Mkhitaryan on left is useless… He is good on right…

        2. gotanidea says:

          If I were the manager, I would ditch Ozil, get a more hardworking creative midfielder (like Seri, De Bruyne and Silva) and play Lacazette as the false nine:

          Bellerin . Sokratis . Soyuncu . Monreal
          ………Mkhitaryan ………. Seri
          ….Malcom …………………. Aubameyang

          4-1-2-1-2 false nine that can switch into 4-3-3 or 3-4-3

          1. Andrew E says:

            So Ozil’s not creative? If we had strikers who don’t need 5 chances to score 1 we wouldn’t be talking about Ozil and his workrate! Give him a full season with proper strikers like Auba and Laca, then judge him.

          2. Ozziegunner says:

            ?I hope Arsenal (Sven, Raul, Unai) are looking at Wilfred Saha as a potential wing forward option.

          3. Kola says:

            good talk

          4. ClassyGunner says:

            Glad that you are not the manager

          5. Midkemma says:

            How about asking Jose if he wants a straight swap for Martial?
            We have Mkhi who can play ACM and he is a creative player…

            Ideally I would like AFC to steal one more BvB player, Jordan Sancho.

            Youth prospects for AM lineup becomes something to drool over 😛


            They could easily be backup for the 1st team players of:


        3. Fab says:

          Deogras Costa

      2. Fab says:

        Deogras Costa is becoming a world best very soon. A serious manager must consider attempting Juve now before his class is known

      3. kev says:

        DONE DEAL!!!!
        Aaron Ramsey has signed a new three year contract with Arsenal and will earn £175,000 per week. Unai Emery also plans to appoint Ramsey as the new captain of Arsenal.

        In other news,Arsenal will sign PSG’s best academy player Yacine Adli(17yrs) after he decided not to sign a new contract.

        1. Sue says:

          Thought he was being offered a 5 year deal??

        2. John Ibrahim says:

          was hoping Ramsay leaves with Welbeck and Ozil

    2. Chris says:

      Cech is finished, we need an excellent keeper, someone like Jan Oblak
      Would be a good shout

  3. Xxnofx says:

    Thought we would ave had 20 billion to spend the way we’ve penny pinched this last decade

    1. Petit says:

      Me too.

  4. John0711 says:

    100m is not enough
    Think about it we are miles behind
    Chels and spuds

    They will ALL spend more than us so how can we close the gap? It’s not just a change of manager that will do it, even if emery makes us 12 points better we are still behind last year never mind this year. Only a fool continues to do the same thing and then expects different results
    Back the manger or get out Stan

    1. John Wick says:

      Correct John ? how about back the manager and get Stan out ?

      1. Ozziegunner says:


    2. John Ibrahim says:

      we need 500m considering world class players are at least 120m and up

    3. aukar says:

      i think wenger tactics where miles behind.. our team isnt as behind

    4. Midkemma says:

      Gazidis is our CEO, he is our problem, he is the one who has failed us for near a decade now.

      Silent Stan doesn’t micromanage all his businesses, he hires people to do a good job. Gazidis is failing to do so in the fans perspective but he has increased our share value at the cost of the clubs future.

      If you seriously think Silent Stan is up all night planning ways to drain us supporters dry then I believe you are greatly mistaken, he has many interests which require his attention and the sheer volume of them means he can not spend as much time on individual interests as the people affected by those interests would like.

      Silent Stan has shown a willingness to invest in sports, look at the stadium he got in USA to increase his wealth, investment to bump up his assets in the long run.

      Maybe it is #GazidisOut that should be done. Get a CEO who knows how to get as much sponsorship as he can at the best deals, being a leader and doubling our profits… Just like Woodward did for UTD.

      Afterall, not like Silent Stan bought AFC using AFC income as the Glaziers did for UTD. He is just a profit greedy SOB but he isn’t as bad as UTDs owners was and look at how UTD are competing and spending big… Why can’t we?

      We can’t because of our CEO, not our owner!

  5. gotanidea says:

    If Arsenal is too poor to buy new players, Maitland-Niles and Nelson would have more chances to play. Or maybe there is another unknown wonderkid from Arsenal’s academy

    I wanna see whether Emery can maximize Nelson’s ability or not, because Nelson sucked as a left winger under Wenger

    1. Trudeau says:

      I remember Nelson playing on the right last season, not the left. Was I watching my TV in the mirror?

  6. Someone says:

    Don’t trust anything media says , everyday they come up with a stupid news that arsenal wanted that star but couldn’t get it and some other team bought it , most of them are lies and part of the agenda to make Arsenal look bad our business is behind the doors and media doesn’t know S**t about it , remember everyone was almost convinced arteta is the manager because of the pathetic media.

    they are ridiculing the Sokratis transfer without considering that sokratis was average in a season where every player in dortmund were bad and frankly it was dortmund’s worst season in years , if you look at the seasons prior to the last season , sokratis has been great and under Emery i’m sure he will get back to his best.

  7. barryd says:

    Draxler is as good with his left as his right and 45 million would get it done

  8. Samuel Akinsola Adebosin says:

    Let’s be calmed and be patient. Arsenal are in transition period. With a new manager at the Ems but operating on a £50m transfer kitty this summer will not be a disaster for Arsenal but a prudent management spending by the club to control overspendings which doesn’t necessarily brings Title winning success nor CL football. Did Arsenal not spend big in the transfer market last season when they signed 2 new strikers of Lacazette and Aubameyang and a top midfielder in Mkhitaryan? But sill, we finished 6th in the table behind Chelsea 5th who also bought big than Arsenal last seas.

    I think the Arsenal recruitment officer, Sven Mislintat and the Arsenal director of football relations are working in conjunction with Unai Emery, the new Gunners boss and as well with Ivan Gazidis, the AFC CEO to identify the most pressing area in the Gunners squad that needed to be strengthened which is the Gunners defence, and are doing all that’s in their powers to sterngthen that weak area in the Arsenal squad with 2 centreback signings before the kickoff of next season’s campaign. And I believe the Arsenal midfield and striker departments will equally be strengthened too in this summer window with 2 hidden quality signings of a playmaker/holding midfielder and a top grade striker signings who are not herald in the media to alert the Arsenal 5 Premier League Title win rival clubs to attempt signing them. So, let’s wait to see and be praying for Arsenal to be very successful in their signings this summer.

    1. John0711 says:


  9. its not about the fund we have, we need three to four players. we can get a player with 25 million € and turned out to be 60 million € (after a good season) and vise versa. Look at pogba is he worth 100 million i think not. Emery should improve our current players with two or three editions especially in DMF and CB and GK. If we wont to change our whole squad it will not work, look to milan for example they brought 11 player a whole new squad and the results wass terrible. Emery need time and some quality signnings its not about numbers

    1. Phil says:

      It would also help if we could keep our key players FIT for most of the season.I take it the Wenger fitness and medical team went with him

      1. Declan says:

        Yes they did.

        1. Ozziegunner says:

          One thing for sure, the Arsenal squad will be fit under conditioning from Darren Burgess. Proper pre season conditioning should result in fewer injuries.

  10. 9ja Gunner says:

    Great insight

  11. Innit says:

    Another vote for Draxler
    We should also think about PL players like Gueye, Clyne and Mahrez.

  12. Dan says:

    The club is a complete joke from top to bottom this poor manager won’t be able to turn things round expect at least 5 more years with no challenging for tittle and champions league football could be double that as well!!

    1. John Ibrahim says:

      Emery can turn things around if he has the players he need….and he needs time…cant do it in 1 season

      1. Midkemma says:

        We do have to give Emery time, it takes time for players to develop as well and if we got him to maximise our current players then they will need training/coaching time… which is time we have to give him.

        I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed and eager to see if the players can improve and if so, how much.

  13. Declan says:

    Has Can gone to Juventus yet? Certainly worth a punt and he’s free.

  14. Muffdiver says:

    Yacine adli ?!

    Anyone ?

    He has rejected psg barca Bayern an real to join us

    1. Muffdiver says:

      Where was kev resource with heads up lol

      1. Rkw says:

        FFS it’s Groundhog Day all over again!!!

    2. Sammykit says:

      Kev def mentioned this earlier. I’m still trying not to believe him

  15. Nick2741 says:

    Whatch us go ,you will be surprise we are the AFC

  16. John Ibrahim says:

    This is the time for protest for more spending on quality players

    we need the protest

    1. Lance says:

      JI, you didn’t call for protest during the Wenger era. Hypocrite you are.

    2. Midkemma says:

      IMO protest to get a decent CEO, point at how Woodward has done at UTD and yell at Silent Stan that he is losing asset value in the long run by keeping that bald joke of a man.

      Most people say we can’t compete with City or Chavski…
      Maybe not…

      We should be competing with UTD, they are not backed by some mega rich individual who is happy to pump their own money into the club… No! They are owned by greedy businessmen who allow UTD to spend what they make to invest in the asset value. They got a top man in to do this and UTD fans are seeing their club act with ambition while we watch our BS to us season after season for ticket sales etc then acting like a team with less income than… Huddersfield.

      Silent Stan appears to be happy for AFC to reinvest what they make, it is Gazidis that doesn’t like to spend on players. Look how long it took him to pay for Auba, leaving how much time to get a CB which we all knew we needed and Wenger asked for as well.

  17. Ozziegunner says:

    Thanks Admin for this financial assessment; finally some clarification rather than media spin.

  18. David Rusa says:

    I am sometimes amused by some people’s obsession with the amount of money spent on transfers as if that is directly proportional to the level of success! Whereas it is true that in order for a team to be successful it has to buy quality players this should not be equated to purchase of cars whereby a Benz, Rolls Royce, BMW which cost a lot of money will do better on road than cheaper cars. We need to reflect on Leicester city in 2015/16 season. How much did they spend? Supposing they had kept that team intact they would still have been a power to reckon with. Let us not be deceived by Man City which won EPL with a record 100 points. This was a combination of both good coaching and purchase of good players. Who can doubt that Pep Guardiola is the best manager in EPL. Remember Man U for the last three years has spent more than 600 million but how many trophies have they won? The same thing can be said about Liverpool. Let us encourage our team to buy prudently rather than expensively.

    1. Malch95 says:

      In any field of data their is always room for outliers, which is what we can attribute the leciester win to but the usual trend in the last 10 yrs is the teams that invest heavily in their squad are the teams that win/contend for the title. Arsenal has been able to do neither and has regressed by being “prudent” and risk-adverse. Now it is very commendable for Arsenal to have been sustainable up till this point but the board and our financial analysts/contract negotiaters have done a very poor job over the last this cyclical period. We haven’t been able to cope with the rate of inflation. We’ve missed out on major signings over miniscule petty amounts which in the long run has costs us alot more money in brand exposure and potential prize money. Yes I agree, spending 222m on Neymar isn’t gonna win you a champions league instanteously but offering 40m +1 pound for Luis Suarez is just as, if not more stupid. 100m plus player sales can definitely help the rebuilding process but trying to do it with 50m is suicidal. So yes we do NEED TO SPEND SOME ####ING MONEY

    2. Dalinho says:

      It’s not how much u spend it’s who u spend it on but that method only works if ur will to spend big for the last piece of the puzzle for example a CF or a DM you can see over the years with Arsenal having Alexis n ozil but only giroud to waste the chances instead spending £50mil on higuan or Suarez or having rvp, Nasri, helb, rosicky, cesc, song but only senderos n djourou in defence! This time round we have CFs but no DM or CBs so we have to spend what ever it takes to balance the team! Man City should not of been allowed to buy Jorginho bcoz arsenal should of went bid for him and Fabinho then be smart and shroud when signing CBs etc

  19. Gunnerphilic says:

    Well said David Rusa.

    1. Ozziegunner says:


  20. Jerrmy says:

    It’s very very optimistic.
    Where did the automatic self entitled spending on players come from?
    We have seen the cash balance for years without them being touched.
    Though I was hoping for some positive rebuilding, I still will not trust the miser to spend more.

  21. Midkemma says:

    I have said all along that it wasn’t Wenger being penny pinching, citing the Nasri transfer and how Wenger didn’t haggle as how Wenger would act, pay what was asked for the player as long as he had the funds to do so.

    Ken Friar has since said that the board do restrict the manager on how much he can spend, he has confirmed that it isn’t all the available cash like Gazidis has said and is still continuing to say.

    I have been saying all along that the hope I have, that AFC spends some real money, is that the new manager isn’t the head of recruitment, that is Sven. Sven hasn’t been restricted to £50 million…

    Also, if Gazidis is being honest and all the money is available for the manager then why did he hire a head of recruitment and why was Wenger left out of Jan transfers? Will Emery be given the full amount like Gazidis claims or will he be restricted and prove that Gazidis is yet again selling BS to get the season ticket sales… to do what politicians always do and over promise while under deliver?

    While I am excited at the prospect of our players actually being coached on how to defend and play with tactics… I am fully expecting AFC to act as per normal in the transfer window. Doesn’t mean I don’t delude myself with hope… But I hope to win the lottery, I hope to live forever… Hopes are just hopes when it comes to matters you can’t control.

    For everyone who is thinking about blaming Silent Stan, he hasn’t been the one putting restrictions on spending, he hasn’t been the one standing up infront of supporters and BS about how much the team can spend… He has said next to nothing which is fitting for his nickname of being Silent.

    It is Gazidis!!!!!

    Compare UTD to AFC, both got bought by Americans but UTD was bought using their own money.
    Woodward built up their income with leading sponsorship deals and now he is in the power to sanction mega purchases and he does!

    What has Gazidis done?

    Spent a decade improving his own wage to get more than he deserves, lived of Wengers capabilities and then undermined the guy to push him out… which only hurt us supporters! Wenger has always needed the ‘right’ type of players, players with the right mentality as he can not develop that side. Pre Gazidis we bought those type of players, or pinched them like we did with Sol. Afterwards though… After Gazidis arrived…

    Just have a look at how AFC went from spending well on a single player to buying multiple for average funds.

    When Gazidis arrived at AFC we was a powerful force, for many years we had (along with UTD) dominated the EPL, has he capitalised on that? Oh he got a good shirt sleeve sponsor but the guy who sanctioned it is a Arsenal supporter, wonder how hard it was to convince and Arsenal supporter spending the countries money to invest in a mega deal with Arsenal???

    Gazidis is poor compared to top CEOs, if we want to be a top club then we need a top CEO, someone who will push our income up so we can spend on the right players for Arsenal so we can win more and become a self feeding loop.

    Instead we got a CEO who appears to be able to bump up share prices and that is his main quality, not actually doing a good job for the field of football… NO!!! Increase share prices which keeps Silent Stan happy and him in a job.

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