If reports are to be believed, Arsenal were offered Edinson Cavani on deadline day for £50 million. However, Arsenal rejected the opportunity as they were reluctant to shell out that sum of money for a 28-year-old, knowing that if Cavani failed to adapt to life in London or life in the Premier League, then they would have to stomach a massive loss in re-sale value.
So is this the kind of business sense that is being encouraged by financial fair play or is this just the Arsenal board having short arms and deep pockets ?
Back in May 2014, Manchester City fell foul of the Financial Fair Play regulations, and as a result they were heavily fined, had their champions league squad reduced and were restricted to a maximum spend limit. Fourteen months later, they satisfy the regulations and have those restrictions lifted, resulting in them blowing a staggering £154.2 million pounds during the summer transfer window.
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How can that happen?
Well, Raheem Sterling was signed for £44 million on a five year contract. City don't report that as a net spend of £44 million. They report £8.8 million per year for the next five years (44 divided by five) hence why you will see the bigger value signings committed to longer term contracts.
So let's assume that all the City signings this year were on five year contracts, and then remove the income from player sales (£52.3 million). This leaves them declaring £20.38 million, every year for the next five years. In addition to all the transfer business since FFP became relevant.
Where does the money come from?
It is alleged that the current sponsorship with Etihad is worth £80 million per year. Compare this to the other top three teams. Chelsea- £40 million per year with Yokohama, Arsenal -£30 million per year with Emirates and arguably the biggest club team in the world, Manchester United, scooping £47 million per year from Chevrolet. This income will exclude money from shirt sponsorship, advertising etc
What is clear is that Arsenal's sponsorship is not as lucrative as the others. But the question has to be asked, why are Etihad prepared to put such a huge sum of money in to Man City, when one of the biggest clubs in the world can only muster just over half of that ? Is that exceptional negotiating from Sponsorship gurus or has there been significant influence from the Middle Eastern owners ?
So the conclusion is this : Yes, Arsene and Arsenal are tight with their money but they do not want to fall foul of FFP. This had consequences for Man City but City had major investment to bail them out. Regrettably,this is not a luxury that Arsenal can rely on.