Arsenal 2nd Bottom in Transfer League Table 2003 – 2010

Transfer League Table 2003 – 2010

Just take a look at the table below, Arsenal are 2nd bottom when it comes to Money spent on players.

Is this something to be proud about?.. That the club has been able to fight at the top end of the table without spending big.

Or is this the reason to why we have not won anything since 2005?…Lack of investment and nothing to show in 5 years apart from a good set of balance books.
Since 2003 Arsenal have spent £143,050,000 on new players, Money received from Players sold £148,170,000. Thats a Profit of -£5,120,000… So on Ave Arsenal “MAKE” £640,000 each summer on Transfer signings

Now lets compare that to the other EPL teams.

The table above represents the clubs net spend per season from Season 2003/04 to date.This Season saw the begining of very wealthy club ownership with Roman Abramovich’s purchase of Chelsea .
Purchases = Money spent on Players, Sold = Money received from Players sold.
Net = Purchased minus Sold , This gives an indication of new investment on players .

The per season column gives an average of the money spend per season since 1992. Data taken from [HERE]

Debate this more on our forum



  1. Sean

    August 11, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    a loss of -£5m. Can’t it just be £5m profit. It puts a more positive spin on it.

    This means nothing anyway. Sunderland do not become a better club because they waste more money on shite players and have more debts. However Arsene, get a bloody centre half and possibly a keeper too!!!

  2. adam

    August 11, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Yes, its shows how many players are over priced and clubs poorly run

  3. Yes

    August 11, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Every premiership team except Blackburn has spent more than us, yet we’re in the top four every year. Would you rather spend as much as City and Tottenham and not win anything?

  4. Gooner1

    August 11, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    I see it as more of a good than a bad. Look at Spurs, all investment gets you is a celebration of St Totteringham’s Day every year…

    I know many Gooners want titles but I’d rather we maintain a sound financial footing first and worry about trophies later as if we heavily invest in the inflated transfer market, we might not have much of a club to support. Just ask Pompey fans.

  5. You won't know me

    August 11, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Wenger must be desperate to rid the club of all it’s debt, it’s the only reason why we ain’t spending

  6. Steve

    August 11, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    This confirms my belief that Arsene Wenger has turned Arsenal into a business. League tables based on profits are just pointless as you don’t win a trophy for it. If you see, most successful clubs spend money. Bar City and Chelsea who are financed by billionaires, the rest of the teams spend about 14m on players per season which is not a lot. Sell to buy is a poor man’s game. Arsenal are not poor, just greedy.

  7. DanJ

    August 11, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Actually we are not ‘2nd bottom when it comes to Money spent on players’, we are actually number 6 in terms of how much money we have spent. We are 2nd bottom in terms of how much money we have lost, which is 0 because we make money every year!

  8. Nik C

    August 11, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    I am not going to publicly announce that the Arsenal Board and Monsieur Wenger are an incompetent bunch who couldn’t sign their own names let alone an experienced world class footballer to join the mighty reds of Arsenal. I would however agree that it seems strange that we should be so low down in this table. Especially when you consider the success we have achieved.

    I know there haven’t been any trophies to shout about and wave aloft but the fact that we consistently qualify for the champions league and finish in the top 4 of the premier league would suggest that transfer spend means as much as having the right haircut.

    The league table you need to look at is Wages. The last 4 years have seen the team with the biggest wage bill finish 1st. Indeed the last time Arsenal won the league, guess who had the biggest wage bill?

    So what can we take from all this? Until the stadium is all paid for Arsenal won’t spend millions to get a player, instead preferring to spend millions to keep them. And as long as we do this, we’ll finish strong. The only issue we now all have to worry about, if all this is to be factored in, is How are we all going to compete with Man City???

  9. Chris

    August 11, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    No, we just want money spent on a decent cb and half decent keeper. 30 m on these at the most would hardly ruin the club and would definitely help in getting a trophy for once

  10. Mitch

    August 11, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Fantastic. The top 4-had to spend near on £ 462 million of their own money to either beat us by a few points or to keep up with us. Amazing if you think of the debts that they have accumulated going into 2011/12. I think Arsene’s right about the next generation and our position in world football come 2018 – we’re going to be untouchable. One of the biggest stadiums in the country, the most expensive pro-rata season tickets, 35,000-on the waiting list, and the naming rights coming up in the next few years – against, Roman, the Glazers, and everyone else in a changing financial climate, as well as the new tax laws and UEFA’s turnover ruling in a year after already putting in place a 25-man squad rule – can’t see how the teams who field nearly 30-international players over 21 to win the title are going to be able cope….

  11. N7 Gooner

    August 11, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Amazing achievement – Champs’ league final and a few really good runs at the title in that time.

    It’s hard being patient – but let’s be proud of being the best run club in the world!

    Titles will come soon enough – in the meantime let’s just enjoy beating nearly every other team on that table!

  12. Nick

    August 11, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    There’s a lot of interesting stuff here — first, there doesn’t seem to be much correlation between spending and success, is there? Only two clubs have done better than Arsenal in this time period, so the big spending of City, Spurs, Villa, etc. really has amounted to nil, hasn’t it?

    Of course, there is stuff hidden in here you might want to bring out. 1) Man U would be much higher up the chart had they not sold the show pony to Madrid, which I believe Ferguson would not have done, had he anything to say about it. So they really should be number 4 or 5 on the list, if you take out the 80 million. 2) Want to know what Martin left Villa? Not a very good buyer of talent, seems to me. 3) Spurs and Villa show that if you concentrate on English players, you pay more, and get less than if you buy foreign. Pretty clear. 4) Some teams have done this mostly in a few years — what did Villa do pre-Martin? Is that really a 4-year record, not 8? And what about the relegatees and their replacements? Shouldn’t that be qualified somehow? The numbers on Portsmouth show this chart does not tell the whole story.

    Bottom line, though, shows that unless you do a Steinbrenner, which is pay high for the best (like Chelsea), spending aggressively guarantees nothing.

    Oh yes, one last thing — how many of these teams added a new stadium and millions more in match day revenue during this period? That investment will keep on giving benefits to Arsenal long after Yaya Toure’s 26 million cost is flushed down the drain.

  13. Russ

    August 11, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Interesting table but it would be a different story if there was a wage bill league table. We’d be 3rd\4th behind Chelski and Utd. Liverpool are close to us then there is a big gap to the next club.

    Thats why I hate chelski and their spastic fans. Bleating on about them hardly signing any players over the past couple of seasons. Their wage bill is £170m a year!

    I agree with Nik above. When we pay off our stadium I dont think anyone can touch us, especially if UEFA crack down on the likes of Chelski and Citeh being banked rolled an not having to worry about making a profilt.

  14. Guns & Roses

    August 11, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    The Wenger’s philosophy is debatable and I have heard for 5 years the same sentence:

    1) We must have the belief that we can win the premier league.

    2) We have a hungry young team.

    3) Please be patience.

    Will this be the last year we are hearing all these over and over again. Wenger might also think that this is his last year as Manager and he don’t give a damn whether the philosophy works or not since he is not there to answer next year.

  15. Barry Webb

    August 11, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    And if you add in (if the table doesn’t already reflect this) the money received in sell-on fees for the likes of David Bentley, Jermaine Pennant and likely Lasanna Diarra when he moved from Portsmouth to Real Madrid.

    Plus, Arsenal ** RARELY ** disclose the details of any transfer and the figures often quoted in the media are often wide of the sums actually paid.

    Factoring in both of these would put Arsenal closer to Blackburn’s exalted 20th place!

    I like the club being run like it wants to be in business for another 100 years or more. And not being a bitch to someone with deep pockets or having the likes of parasites such as Glazier, Gillette and Hicks having control of the club is also very comforting.

    But you have to wonder what the impact would have been with an additional net 10 million per annum in transfers. Would this investment plus it’s associated overhead, say 3 million over 4 years for a total additional expense of 22 million, have been offset by the returns as a consequence of more trophies? I don’t think so. Maybe $20 million in transfers plus 24 million in overhead for a total of 44 million would have made the difference. But over 7 years, that would have cost the club anywhere between 154 and 308 million. Even if we could have recovered 50% of that figure, that still leaves between 75 and 150 million which would have been simply added to the debt of the club. Thanks but no thanks.

    Just remember, not only do you have to fund the transfer, you have to pay the wages.

    What amazes me is how or why Tottenham’s owners continue to pump such large sums into the club. I’m pretty sure that a couple of seasons of Harry Redknapp will soon cure them of that!

  16. budock

    August 11, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    according to those figures the “best” ie most profitable clubs are portsmouth and where does that take us?????

  17. Truth

    August 11, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Proves the GENIUS of Wenger! something this site is blind to see.

  18. Danny

    August 11, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Proves spending millions achieves nothing.

    Spurs spent 120m, didn’t build a stadium, didn’t build a training ground, never played in the champions league, didn’t play in the european cup final, didn’t go unbeaten, didn’t win the double, never finished above us, not won the league in 50 years, changed manager 10-15 times (guess) since Wenger took over…. oh they won the league cup.

    Yet sites like this would like us run exactly how they’re run. Spend big on ‘media hyped’ talent just to quench your thirst to show off to your mates. We should have bought Shevchenko or Veron for 30m, they’re really good on paper and computer games, we would have won everything if we had them. We should of bought Lescott for 25m instead of Vermaelen for 10m, Lescott is soooo much better cos ‘the sun’ said so and he gets really good on Championship manager.

  19. danny

    August 11, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    @Budock- They’re the best financially in terms of ins ‘n’ outs. What it doesn’t show is they both spend ridiculous amounts on players and most importantly wages to achieve the FA cup (pompey) and european cup semi final (leeds) and then had to sell their entire squads to stop themselves going out of business.

    Leeds were eventually relegated to league 1 and Pompey got relegated and were inches from liquidation last week (that means the club would have shutdown- done, finished.)

  20. Hans

    August 11, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    Arsenal have spend more than anybody else in that period when you add £400 for a new stadium.

  21. Steve

    August 11, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    “What amazes me is how or why Tottenham’s owners continue to pump such large sums into the club.”

    How? It’s hardly rocket science. It’s called reinvesting revenues in the team. Why? to get somewhere.

    “I’m pretty sure that a couple of seasons of Harry Redknapp will soon cure them of that”

    Don’t think so. Their turnover is double their wage bill and they are run by very shrewd investment banker. Not some billionaire who has more money than sense.

    This is what Arsenal fans have got to get to grips with. This belief that having to repay a stadium will stunt growth. Do you not see the profit margins year on year? Despite comfortably paying off the stadium loan, investment is not made to grow the team. You can’t get away with this for long. Cesc has realised it and joins a growing list of players looking for success elsewhere. Still though, it’ll confirm 20th place (possibly in more ways than one).

  22. Danish Gooner

    August 11, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    It has never been the issue of us out spending Chavski and Manure but Wenger could easily afford to spend 20 mil on a centre back and goalie but he consistently refuses to do so that is why we are left with Flapianski in goal and Kozzer at CB.

  23. jose reyes

    August 11, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    it shows 2 things 1 arsene wenger is far too tight with money and number 2 other prem clubs such as leeds,wigan and blackburn are poorley run football clubs. p.s new gk please and cb please arsene.

  24. Davi

    August 11, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    The biggest surprise to me is that blackburn not only beat us in this table, they destroyed us! I thought we would be by far and away the most efficiently run club to stay in the PL, but apparently not so.
    Does this table account for the extra fees that are a part of any transfer? Because if not, we probably arent even breaking even with our transfer dealings, which is fine.
    You do just wish arsenal would spend a little more, maybe one more player THIS season, but its been the same in each of the last few seasons as well. I dont feel it’s my place to demand the club spend more money, and I like the fact they’re efficient and responsible with how they operate, but surely they could afford that extra player every now and again.
    The only thing that really bugs me with arsene and arsenal is the treatment of theo walcott. 60k pw when he has done NOTHING to earn it. I can understand spending the money to buy him, although in retrospect it was a mistake, but when the kid is constantly underperforming, why offer him 60k pw? I bet eboue doesnt get that and hes a far better player. I dont see this as very fair or efficient management.
    It’s not JUST theo, they do seem to want to reward young players with large contracts, and get rid of experienced players a bit too early imo, but walcott is by far the worst example.

  25. dylan

    August 11, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    this is an awfully deceiving analysis.

    We’ve spent the 6th most of any club in that period for players.
    We’ve received the 4th most of any club in that period for players sold.

    We’ve been in the top four every year in that period (including winning some trophies in the period between 2003-2005.

    I think it demonstrates what a good job we’ve done bringing players in and out.

    Sp*rs have spent twice the amount as us, “lost” almost as much as we’ve spent and have finished in the top four once. That’s daft.

    So yes Proud is the right word

  26. jay

    August 11, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    who ever writes this crap is a nutjob!!!!

    The table shows how well we run are club compared to spurs and man city who have spent buckets and not even come close to winning anything in that time.

    Im proud arsenal are bottom of that table as it shows intelligent spending.
    In the future is where it will payoff as we have a constant flow of young players coming through so we dont have to buy over priced players.

    How have we got rid of experienced players early?
    Which experienced player has left us and done better than he done with us? (apart from king T)

  27. Barry Webb

    August 11, 2010 at 7:02 pm


    What amazes me is how or why Tottenham’s owners continue to pump such large sums into the club.”

    “How? It’s hardly rocket science. It’s called reinvesting revenues in the team. Why? to get somewhere.”

    But the investor (ENIC) is an investment company that would expect to be seeking an eventual sale and some form of return on the investment. Unless this is just Joseph Lewis’ hobby which makes Spurs a version of Chelsea/Man City with less calories. So, it’s Aston Villa plus a manager. I’m sure that Daniel Levy is no dummy but his comment after they bought Darren bent was telling. After Spurs paid 16.5 million for Darren Bent, he was espousing how much more he was going to be worth in a few years time. And, as we all know, that turned out to be 10 million.

    “I’m pretty sure that a couple of seasons of Harry Redknapp will soon cure them of that”

    “Don’t think so. Their turnover is double their wage bill and they are run by very shrewd investment banker. Not some billionaire who has more money than sense.”

    See my comment about this shrewd investment banker. I can foresee nothing less for Spurs than an ever increasing squad size and consequent increase in wage bill. Not only will the numbers increase, but the amount needed to attract players of suitable quality to mount a serious Champions League challenge plus a second top 4 finish in the Premier League will be financially stressful. And as Harry Redknapp has proven before, he has little or no concern for the financial implications of squad size and salaries.

    “This is what Arsenal fans have got to get to grips with. This belief that having to repay a stadium will stunt growth. Do you not see the profit margins year on year? Despite comfortably paying off the stadium loan, investment is not made to grow the team. You can’t get away with this for long. Cesc has realised it and joins a growing list of players looking for success elsewhere. Still though, it’ll confirm 20th place (possibly in more ways than one).”

    I always find it strange that the only team that people want to leave is Arsenal. And 20th place. And break the longest participation in the top flight in English football? I don’t think so.

  28. sleepinggiant

    August 11, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Dear sweet God, how can this make anyone ‘proud’ or conversely, ‘ashamed’???

    What is wrong with Arsenal fans? The gross or net spend is a means to an end only. I repeat A MEANS TO AN END, NOT AND END OF ITSELF. , It is absolutely , totally and utterly insane that that any Arsenal fan, no any human being, should feel an emotion like pride because the business side is making money. The END is what you make of your financial strenghth.

    This table is evidence of our financial strenth, nothing more, and in fairness, its just more evidence of what we know already. Be prould, if you want, that a team with fortunes in the bank does not spend it iout of caution in the the current climate and then finishes 3rd or 4th if you like, but do not make fools of yourself by saying you are proud of the net spend. I am not particulary happy (or unhappy) with these results as they mean absolutely nothing by themselves. I will be pround when we have success based on our solid foundation and this has not happened.

    For any fan of our great club, 4th is ok, it is a work in progress, but it is not success. No amount of money in the bank is success, it is just an excuse that we all use because we are not winning anything. Trophies are success – lets all back Arsenal to use the money at our disposal to take our place at the top of the table again. THAT is success. Not further confirmation that, bar Man City, it is less of a risk for Arsenal to buy players than any other English club.


  29. craigie

    August 11, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    We’re 6th in money spent and 4th in money recieved. Is it really such a bad thing that we get decent money from selling players?

    When the debt is paid we will have no debt. Either the board will steal all the money we make or sell the club or the club will be very very rich. Only time will tell.

  30. Sydney Gooner

    August 12, 2010 at 3:30 am

    I don’t think you can really talk about a lack of investment in the club since 2005 bearing in mind that we’ve built a new stadium. I wish people would remember this.

  31. Marc Beaumont

    August 12, 2010 at 8:19 am

    This strategy requires a good front man. Possibly someone with a French accent who speaks a number of languages. I speak as a season ticket holder. At Arsenal, we pay probably the highest season ticket prices for nil return in terms of winning trophies. That would be the most interesting table – value for money in terms of season ticket prices against real success. I expect we would be bottom of that league.
    In the 1970s, there was a team who played great football and produced brilliant players for other clubs and virtually never won anything – they were known as West Ham. Are we the new West Ham ? Are we merely a production line of talent for other Clubs ? How would anyone run a business that does not deliver its main product due to lack of investment, but keep promising to do so ? Answer – with a suave and debonaire PR man. Enter Monsieur Wenger. He must be very clever to get away with fielding weakened teams in the only competitions we can really win (the domestic Cups) and preventing us all voting with our feet. One more season of these deplorable season ticket prices and that is it for me after 40 years…..

  32. Andy Mack

    August 13, 2010 at 11:50 pm

    If we had not moved to the new stadium in that time then I have to admit I’d be a bit embarassed but as we have, Yes I am proud!

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  35. Mabs

    August 17, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Actully this article is good from aresnal football club prespective. Wwe spend little and still compete at a high level esspically in a market that is overpriced its player for signifacnt income profits. We dont need to sign huge players we just need to buy 3 CB that are good and a world class keeper. My estimate would be 35 million for that and we would do fine for another 3-4 years.

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