Arsenal feel squeeze as wages rise to £125m while profits stagnate


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The Independent Football

Arsenal's wage bill increased last season to £124.4m, according to the club's latest financial results which were announced yesterday.

The figures included a £42.6m drop in pre-tax football profit, with the football business delivering a turnover increase of just 1 per cent.

In the year ending 31 May 2011, Arsenal spent £124.4m on wages, a 12.4 per cent increase from the £110.7m figure recorded the previous year, making them the fourth highest-paying club in the Premier League. The financial blogger Andy Green, known as "andersred", pointed out this was only £29m less than Manchester United's 2009-10 wage bill of £153m, and, as United paid £10m in bonuses last season, this points to a £19m basic difference. Arsenal's wage bill was 55.2 per cent of their football turnover, up from 49.7 per cent.

That proportion was likely to increase, given the slow growth in Arsenal's football turnover to £225.4m, up by just 1.1 per cent. With players' wages on the increase, the operating profit (before depreciation, player trading and exceptional items) of the football segment decreased by £11m to £45.8m.

Once transfers were factored in, Arsenal's football profit before tax was down to £2.2m. They recorded a £14.7m loss from player trading, having made a £13.6m profit last year. These latest figures did not include the money from the summer sales of Gaël Clichy, Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas.

The property segment of Arsenal returned a larger pre-tax profit than the football segment: £12.6m. The overall net debt was down to £97.8m with the group's cash and bank balance up to £160.2m. Manager Arsène Wenger was asked yesterday whether having that much money but not spending it was a failure. "The whole world is bankrupt and the one who is not is accused of not being bankrupt," he responded. "I can't understand it."