Arsenal released their financial results on Friday, showing (once again) their rude financial health
Arsenal’s latest financial results revealed a cash balance of £226.5million.
That total is more than the balances of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich combined.
It still, however, leaves them behind Manchester United, whose latest results showed a balance of £229m.
While the balance seems high, the club, when releasing the figures, were at pains to point out that a lot of that money was ring-fenced for debt servicing while the total was also inflated due to the time of year.
Arsenal director Sir Chips Keswick said: “Our cash reserves at the end of the year stood at £226.5m and this figure will doubtless attract the usual speculation from fans and commentators.
“That being the case, it is my duty to point out that after excluding debt service reserves and amounts owed to other clubs on past transfers the balance reduces to £149m.
“This figure is in itself inflated, due to the seasonality of our cash flows, by advance sponsorship and season ticket receipts for the new season.
“Against the underlying balance of available funds we have, as mentioned above, invested strongly in player acquisitions during the summer at a total transfer in cost of more than £90m with additional significant commitments to player wages, agent’s fees and performance related contingencies on top of that.”
“Whilst we have spent strongly we have not over stretched,” he continued. “It would have been bad business practice not to have retained some small degree of flexibility to allow us to invest again in the right player and/or to maintain the current squad as and where we want to offer improved and extended contracts for key players.
“We make our investments on a prudent and reasoned basis which is something the Club does well and which is even more important in a competitively inflated marketplace.
“This approach has served us well and it will continue.”
Although the club’s latest figures from Arsenal Holdings plc show a drop in overall group profit before tax from £18.2m to £2.9m, there has been a significant increase in turnover from football, up to £350.6m from £329.3m over the same period in 2015.
Significant additional broadcasting revenues have been supported by improvements in the Gunners’ commercial activity, all of which has allowed manager Arsene Wenger to again further strengthen a squad which finished runners-up to Leicester in the last Premier League campaign.
As a result, though, wage costs continue to rise, at £195.4m, while income from player sales is down as the club remain determine to keep key men on board.
With the only debt related to long-term fix-rate payments against the financing of the move to the new 60,000 stadium from Highbury in 2006, Arsenal’s “cash balances” show at £191.1m, which is slightly down from £193.1m in 2015.
Gazidis said in his chief executive report accompanying the results: “We are in a strong position to continue moving forward at every level of the club.
“On the pitch we have an outstanding squad. Off the pitch we have developed our infrastructure across all aspects of our operations to ensure we have the right assets and skills to progress.
“I am confident this progress, coupled with strong underlying values, will bring the success we all seek.
“Our ultimate ambition is clear: to win major trophies and make Arsenal fans at home and around the world proud of this great club. Proud of our values, proud of the way we act and proud of our team.”