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Does The Arsenal Way Make The Gunners A Selling Club?

Ivan Gazidis spoke on a variety of issues at a meeting of sports business leaders in London earlier this week and he made some interesting comments about the Way.

First Gazidis said:

“We as a Club are operating in a self-sustaining way and are concerned about value. It may frustrate everybody but we have to be.”

Then later, talking about the Gunners owner, silent Stan Kroenke, Gazidis added:

“[Stan Kroenke] is very supportive of the self-sustaining model and Arsène Wenger,”

So two references to Arsenal’s self-sustaining model there from Gazidis. A quick look at a dictionary defines self-sustaining

“as maintaining or able to maintain oneself or itself by independent effort”

which is Arsenal’s case means that the football operations run at a profit. The revenue in from ticket sales, media, commercial partnerships is greater than the expenses out for transfers and players wages.Basic acconting. But does that mean that the Gunners are now a selling club?

Since Arsenal have moved into the Emirates, transfer funds have been limited and Arsene Wenger has funded purchases with the sales of players like Kolo Toure and Adebayor. Here is a breakdown on Arsenal’s net transfer spent heading into this summer’s transfer window (data from Talksport.co.uk).

NET PROFIT ON REPORTED PLAYER TRANSFER FEES BY ARSENAL SINCE 2004: £20.56m*

2004/05 net spend: £2.55m profit
Players in: Arturo Lupoli £0.2m, Manuel Almunia £0.5m, Vito Mannone £0.35m, Emmanuel Eboue £1m
Players out: Giovanni van Bronckhorst £2m, Martin Keown Free, Ray Parlour Free, Kanu Free, Francis Jeffers £2.6m, Igor Stepanovs nominal, Sylvain Wiltord Free, Rami Shabaan Free.

2005/06 net spend: £5m loss
Players in: Nicklas Bendtner undisclosed, Alexander Hleb £11.2m, Vassiriki Diaby £2m, Emmanuel Adebayor £7m, Theo Walcott £5m, Mart Poom undisclosed
Players out: Stuart Taylor undisclosed, Jermaine Pennant £3m, Patrick Viera £13.7m, David Bentley £3m

2006/07 net spend: £0.7m loss
Players in: Tomas Rosicky £6.8m, Fran Merida free, Alexandre Song £1m, William Gallas swap, Denilson £3.4m
Players out: Robert Pires free, Sol Campbell free, Pascal Cygan £2m, Ashley Cole £5m (swap), Anthony Stokes £2m, Lauren £0.5m, Sebastian Larsson £1m

2007/08 net spend: £19.9m profit
Players in: Lukasz Fabianski £2m, Eduardo £7.5m, Bakary Sagna £6m, Lassana Diarra £2m, Luke Freeman £0.2m
Players out: Fabrice Muamba £4m, Jeremie Alaidiere £2m, Thierry Henry £16.1m, Arturo Lupoli free, Fredrik Ljungberg £3m, Jose Antonio Reyes £6m, Matthew Connolly £1m, Lassana Diarra £5.5m

2008/09 net spend: £20.75m loss
Players in: Aaron Ramsey £5m, Samir Nasri £15.8m, Amaury Bischoff free, Mikael Silvestre £0.75m, Andrei Arshavin £15m
Players out: Jens Lehmann free, Mathieu Flamini free, Alexander Hleb £11.8m, Gilberto Silva £1m, Justin Hoyte £3m

2009/10 net spend: £31m profit
Players in: Thomas Vermaelen £10m
Players out: Emmanuel Adebayor £25m, Kolo Toure £16m

2010/11 net spend: £6.44m loss
Players in: Kyle Ebecilio £0.58m, Laurent Koscielny £9.7m, Sebastian Squillaci £3.3m
Players out: Eduardo £6.34m, Jay Simpson £0.8m

Still not convinced that Arsenal is a selling club? Well look at the data from Sportingintelligence. After the sale of Samir Nasir to , and before Arsenal’s panic spending free on deadline day, Arsenal had a net transfer income of £4,224,000 over the last decade.

Only Blackburn, with net income of £45.8m in the same period have also made money among the Premier League’s 20 current clubs.

So is this the way that Arsenal will go in the future? Will the Gunners sell Van Persie, Walcott or Song next summer in order to free up funds for the club to sign new players because that it was it sounds like Gazidis is saying.