Arsenal’s £392.7m problem to put pressure on Mikel Arteta after falling behind Tottenham

The Deloitte Football Money League has released its latest results and the figures make from grim reading by Arsenal fans as the Gunners fall behind Tottenham Hotspur for the first time ever.

For over a decade Arsenal were able to boast the most significant earnings advantage in London thanks to the Emirates Stadium.

It had England’s second largest capacity for a football club and the highest season ticket prices in the country. The new home that Arsene Wenger led the Gunners into was a behemoth for match-day earnings.

Arsenal now find themselves behind both Chelsea and Tottenham Hotsput in the latest results from the Deloitte Football Money League, bringing in £392.7million last season.

By comparison, the Blues brought in £452.2million while Spurs were able to lay claim to a revenue of £459.3million.

During the early 2010s Arsenal were safely ensconced in the top five of the Deloitte Football Money League, alongside the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester United and Real Madrid.

They might not have been able to access the enormous wealth the stadium was generating due to needed to pay back the costs of its construction but the future looked bright. Now that positive vision is far less certain.

In the era of super stadiums on the site of White Hart Lane, in Stratford and eventually maybe even one in west London to replace Stamford Bridge, Arsenal’s stadium no longer masks their commercial sins, as the latest Money League results reveal.

Since 2018 they have slipped from sixth to 11th in the table, earning £36million less now than they had been brining in during the final years of their Champions League sojourn. That is one fewer Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil or William Saliba a season for Mikel Arteta to sign.

Commercial revenues stagnated in the post-Emirates era. While Manchester United in particular hoovered up corporate sponsors Arsenal lagged behind, tied to long-term deals negotiated to pay for the stadium.

There are signs that that is changing. Next season’s figures will include the new £60million Adidas deal, one negotiated by Vinai Venkatesham when he was chief commercial officer.

Now managing director, the club’s portfolio of sponsors has expanded under his charge, and now numbers 23 but Arsenal are undeniably still playing catch-up.

At a time when the age profile of Arsenal’s squad suggests a rebuild must be looming large – Mesut Ozil is 31, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 30 and Alexandre Lacazette turns 29 at the end of the season – finances are tightening at a time when the purse strings at Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool will remain loose.

The latter trio in particular are opening up a sizeable gap in excess of £140million to Arsenal with two of the three seeing that gap reflected on the pitch.

It will require exceptional quality in other areas from the Gunners – coaching, scouting, analysis and facilities – if they are to overcome the impact that financial shortfall could have on recruitment.

Over the summer director Josh Kroenke said in an interview with football.london that the Gunners have “a Champions League wage bill on a Europa League budget right now”.

The fear among supporters must be that if the major investment of that period does not pay off there will inevitably have to a period of financial retrenchment, that top players could be sold off to balance the books.

If Arteta can somehow squeeze Arsenal back into the Champions League then there is hope. As Sam Boor, senior manager in Deloitte’s sports business group, noted: “The relative decline of Arsenal is a direct result of not participating in the competition for a second consecutive season.”

That means the gap can be bridged through on-field success and in Arteta the Gunners look to have a coach who could bring improvements in this department in the long-term.

However, the question is how many more years of short-term pain away from the Champions League can Arsenal manage in the meantime.

Aliko Dangote Arsenal takeover: Everything billionaire has said about buying out Stan Kroenke

Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote has not been shy in sharing his desire to takeover Arsenal.

Africa’s richest man, worth a reported £8.5 billion, has been vocal in his wish to buy the club one day, making several statement alluding to the fact that he will try and temp the Kroenke family into selling the club.

Dangote is an Arsenal fan, and has previously earmarked 2020 as the year where he could make a bid to buy the Gunners, but that seems to have now been put back by a year due to his business ventures.

But what has the businessman previously had to say about a possible takeover bid?

Here is everything that he has said over the past five years.

2015

Dangote said that he was interested in taking over the 15.9% purchased by Stan Kroeke in 2011.

“There were a couple of us who were rushing to buy, and we thought with the prices then, the people who were interested in selling were trying to go for a kill,” he said.

“We backtracked, because we were very busy doing other things, especially our industrialisation.

“When we get this refinery on track, I will have enough time and enough resources to pay what they are asking for.”

He also gave his thought’s on Arsenal’s business strategy.

“They are doing well, but they need another strategic direction,” he said.

“They need more direction than the current situation, where they just develop players and sell them.”

2016

The businessmen again spoke about his desire to buy Arsenal and how he would turn around their fortunes.

“It’s not about buying Arsenal and just continuing with business as usual,” he said.

“It’s about buying Arsenal and turning it around. I’ve run a very successful business and I think I can also run a very successful team. Right now, with what we’re facing, over $20 billion of projects, I cannot do both.

“There’s no doubt (I’ll buy Arsenal), It’s not a problem of money

“The issue is that we have more challenging headwinds. I need to get those out the way first and start having tailwinds. Then I’ll focus on this.”

VIDEO: Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote again confirms Arsenal takeover intent with 2021 vow

2017

A year later, Dangote revealed how he would tempt the current owners into selling the club.

“If they get the right offer, I’m sure they would walk away,’ he said. “Someone will give them an offer that will make them seriously consider walking away.

“And when we finish the refinery, I think we will be in a position to do that.”

He also spoke about his support of Arsenal

“I don’t change clubs. Even when Arsenal isn’t doing well I still stick by them.

“It’s a great team, well-run. It could be run better, so I will be there. I will wait. Even if things change I will take it and make the difference going forward.

2018

It was in 2018 that Dangote earmarked 2020 as a possible year when a bid could be made for the club.

“We will go after Arsenal from 2020, even if somebody buys, we will still go after it,” he said.

However, speaking to Bloomberg TV the businessman also admitted that he could look elsewhere.

“I’m very attached to Arsenal but if he won’t sell, I might have to change.”

“I’m very much a fan of football. I’ll like to have a club. I don’t have to own Arsenal.

“By the time we’ve finished [the oil refinery], we’ll be a $30bn [£22.8bn] company in terms of revenue.”

2020

In his latest statement, Dangote still reiterated his desire to buy Arsenal, but said that it could yet now be another year, as he concentrates on other business ventures.

Speaking on the David Rubenstein Show in America, Dangote said: “It is a team that yes I would like to buy some day, but what I keep saying is we have $20billion worth of projects and that’s what I really want to concentrate on.

“I’m trying to finish building the company and then after we finish, maybe some time in 2021 we can.

“I’m not buying Arsenal right now, I’m buying Arsenal when I finish all these projects, because I’m trying to take the company to the next level.”