16 Aug 2012

LFC vs. Arsenal: 21 year Gross/Net transfer spend comparison (1990-2011)

In comparison with Premier League rivals Arsenal, how much money have Liverpool FC spent on transfers during the last 21 years? For the first time ever, either online or offline, here is a comparison of each club's gross/net transfer figures from 1990 until 2011, and as you will see, the overall results highlight the inherent ridiculousness of the net spend argument.


* The figures include all transfers up to and including Kenny Dalglish's activity in the transfer market.

* The figures come directly from Liverpool and Arsenal's official financial accounts, i.e. the only factual, irrefutable source.

* Adjustment for inflation is not necessary here. I am merely presenting the facts, not making a comparison between managers, or with today's monetary values. Inflation does not change the totals spent by each manager, or the amount paid out by the club for transfers at any given time.

LFC vs. AFC: Transfer Spending 1990-2011 - Main Table

Liverpool vs. Arsenal - Transfer Spending Comparison 1990-2011

LFC vs. AFC: Transfer Spending 1990-2011 - Grand Totals

Liverpool vs. Arsenal - Transfer Spending comparison - 1990-2011 - Grand Totals


* Since 1990, Arsenal's net spend on transfers is 68% less than LFC.

* In the 2000s, Liverpool also spent 44% more than Arsenal on transfers (Gross)

* Only 4 times in the last 21 years, have Arsenal had a higher net spend than Liverpool.

* In the 2000s, Arsenal averaged a paltry 2.5m net spend per year, yet still managed to win the league twice.

* Conversely, LFC's net spend in the 2000s was 85% higher than Arsenal's, yet the club failed to win the league. This result alone makes a mockery of the (false) contention that high net spend = more chance of winning trophies.

* Under Arsene Wenger, Arsenal have had a negative net-spend six times, yet they've still qualified for the Champions League every year during the Frenchman's reign.

* Since 1990, 45% of LFC's available transfer funds have been spent by Benitez.

* Despite only 18 months in charge (second spell) Kenny Dalglish spent close to 20% of LFC's available transfer funds for the last 21 years.

* Since 1990, 66% of LFC's available transfer funds have been spent by Dalglish and Benitez.

* Arsenal's total net spend over the last 21 years is 68% less than Liverpool's.

These figures emphatically underline the difference a brilliant manager can make at a football club, and given the financial constraints under which he's operated, Arsene Wenger is clearly a superb manager.

The figures also make a mockery of overwrought complaints of the Pro-Benitez Cult, who repeatedly moaned that Rafa Benitez did not have enough money to spend at Liverpool. Consider the following:

* Benitez: Net Spend 2004-2010 = £63m
* Wenger: Net Spend 2004-2010 = -£9.9m

There would've been blood on the streets if Benitez had to operate with negative net spend of -£9.9m over his 6 years at the club, yet Wenger managed it (without complaint or constant boardroom battles), and Arsenal still qualified for the CL every single year.

If Benitez had to run the team with that kind of net spend figure, would Liverpool have got anywhere near the top 4 during his reign? I sincerely doubt it.

Indeed, using the logic of those who perpetuate the net spend myth, all the players Arsenal bought between 2004 and 2010 cost a grand total of -£9.9m! Jeez, even I can afford that! Guess I'll head down to the transfer market tomorrow and see if I can snap up a Samir Nasri or an Andrei Arshavin for -£2m apiece (!)

See also: Liverpool v Man United - 21 year transfer spending comparison

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. Do you LFC signed Oussama Assaidi? Previously unheard of.

  2. I would like to have Tello instead of Sahin. We have more than enough CM. We need wide attacking players and one more PROVEN striker.

  3. It just goes to show how badly our club has been run from the top. Top have out spent them the way we have done and still be such a long way behind is illogical. That extra 200 mill we have dripped away could have half paid for our new stadium which does not look like it's ever going to be built. Instead of spending 3 mill on players here and there like Assaidi, why don't we give Sterling and a few of the other lads a clear run in to the team? Arsenal must be turning over a massive profit judging by those figures. The first year and a half under Henry and Werner does not fill me with too much confidence either. Paying Rodgers can get some of these underachievers and youth players up to Liverpool standard and resist the temptation of selling Carroll! God knows what we would do for a plan b if he goes.

  4. Arsene was lucky in inheriting a solid back line from Graham. Since he lost them hesfound it hard to build as solid a defence. Arsene never had to work with our previous cretinous owners and had a great relationship with dein. That doesnt take away from his ability to build exiting attacking sides on small money. I fail to see how this makes a mockery of the net spend argument. Arsene has a history of buying players cheap and selling high. Its how you spend it that counts. For all his faults rafa almost built a team to challenge utd for the title. We played exiting football. Thats all im interested in. He made monumental mistakes with xabi n aqua. I couldnt care less. We have a new manager and outlook. I wish you would drop this whole saga. You just come across as juvenile writing it. Its old hat and an idiot would know wengers net spend was the 2 nd lowest in the league. Grow up. The restof the site is great.

  5. Hyypia was previously unheard of and what a legend he became. I`m sure rodgers would have seen enough to believe that the boy fits into his system. From the youtube video, he looks like the Raheem Sterling type. 

    TBH, I would rather the club unveil players that they've signed compared to the speculation that we're seeing all over the net. Welcome to Liverpool Oussama Assaidi.

  6. Garethpriest17118:10 pm, August 16, 2012

    Wenger is a bit of a freak but even he can't cope with the oil billionaires and having his best players stripped away every couple of years hence the lack of success... real clubs dying out. I remember when any club had a shot of winning the league if they had a good manager a shrewd signing and a couple of quality youth players coming through. impossible now, only 3 clubs can win the league this season and for the foreseeable future imo

  7. Jaime, consider the following and respond please.

    Was it reasonable to expect Rafa to overtake Man Utd with a mere £6.25 million investment from the board during each transfer window?

  8. OMG Assaidi; Borini and Allen!

    This adds fuel to the rumour that Martinez and AVB turned us down as there were no proper funds to spend on new players. Maybe they have seen Jamies facts and figures!

    Kuyt, Maxi, Aquilani, Bellamey all out.

    Thank god it looks like Agger is staying. 39 points behind City and United last season was embarrasing and I wouldnt bet against it not being a similar gap this season!

  9. Average net spend 1990-2011 is wrong as you add up two averages over two separate periods...

  10. Why bother. He has my replies moderated now after i told him you could sign players from champs league teams n play them in the europa without them being cup tied. He told me its wrong n i shoul do some research before saying so. I did it happened with suarez lol. Had my replies moderated since.

  11. An example of liverpools riduculous transfer strategy 35 million for Carroll while arsenal 40 million for podolski, giroud and cazorla who are all far better than Carroll. Just shows the people in charge at the club have absolutely no idea what they're doing spending that amount of money on someone like Carroll who has all the technical ability of a wooden spoon. If it continues like that The future is bleak for LFC.

  12. I think this just confirms that Wenger has been incredible at spotting cheap talent, and seeing it realise its potential.. However in recent years, since the sale of Vieira I would say, this has been to the detriment of the club as much of the money the club generates from sales and other areas are kept to line the pockets of the shareholders.  Is it any wonder RVP et all don't wish to sign new contracts with the club and so are then sold on?
    I don't see how it impacts the net spend argument? Transfer fees acquired by a club constitute a significant part of their revenue stream for purchasing players, while often negatively affecting the quality of the playing staff also..

  13. TuckerBelfastRed9:37 pm, August 16, 2012

    Just been on you tube Assaidi looks like a decent player maybe holds onto the ball to long on some occasions imo. 

  14. Excellent article, makes you think what can be achieved with a good Manager. No doubt their more honor winning on a budget and i have to say; its only in the years that player cost & spending has gone ridiculous that Wenger hasnt been able to keep up.

  15. Decent article. Good statistical analysis but why the remarks about Benitez? Why don't you just drop it and move on? Look to the future, you let yourself down with the Tormentor in chief BS. Very childish!

  16. Simon, that is a totally false representation of Benitez's spending, and this is precisely why the net spend argument is nonsense.  People who espouse the argument try and convince everyone that  net spend is the only thing to look at when considering spending.

    Take your question, for example: By using transfer windows, you try and make it sound like Benitez has had no money to spend, but that is just not true.  You also make it sound like the net spend amount was somehow pre-planned by the board, but you ignore the actual amounts Benitez spent at the time.

    The bottom line is this: over Benitez's 6 years, the amount of money Liverpool paid out to other clubs for the services of players is 289m.  What the club received in return is totally irrelevant when it comes to assessing how Benitez spent that 289m.  Before you can even consider net spend, you have to look at how the gross spend was actually spent.

    Clubs receiving transfer fees from Liverpool don't look at things in terms of net spend.  For example: Liverpool bought Keane for 20m and sold him for 12.8m. How much did Spurs receive for the transfer? 20m, not 12.8. We have to look at the value Liverpool received for that 20m outlay, and the same goes for every transfer.

    Just because LFC received 12.8m for Keane when he left does not change the fact that LFC originally paid out 20m for him, nor does it change poor value for money of the transfer overall.

    The dishonest of the net spend argument is that fans try and ignore the initial gross spend, and they dismiss the value assessment aspect, and try to argue that net spend is all that matters.  When it comes to the  bottom line on a set of accounts then net spend is relevant; when it comes to assessing the effectiveness of a manager's transfer spending, it is irrelevant.  

    What is the main purpose of buying players?  For clubs like LFC/Man U/Man City etc, it is to improve the team in a bid to increase the likelihood of winning trophies.  The net spend cultists seem to think that the main purpose of transfers is to achieve the lowest net spend possible, and whoever does that = the most effective club in the transfer market.  Again, that's nonsense.

    To address your questions specifically: there was no expectation in the sense you mean because the board did not sit Benitez down and say 'you will have 6.8m net to spend in each transfer window'.

    Benitez created that net spend result himself.  He made the decisions, and he spent the money.  No one twisted his arm to sign the likes of Keane, Aquilani, Babel, Dossena et al. If he'd made different decisions, the value Liverpool received for the 289m outlay may have been better.

    I'll throw the question back at you: Was it reasonable for Man United to leave overtake Liverpool in the 1990s with an average net spend of only 4.6m per year?  

    Liverpool went into the 1990s as league champions, and the club was well ahead of United at that time, yet despite having 38% higher net spend than LFC in the 90s, United broke away and won lots of league titles, and the CL, and left LFC in the dust.

    Ferguson did that with an average net spend of 4.6m a year in the 1990s (which is even less if you break it into transfer windows), so if he could do it, why couldn't Benitez, who had a much higher net spend to play with in the 00s?

    The answer is simple: Ferguson is a better manager than Benitez. He spent money more wisely, and his management expertise pushed United to success.

    In any event, it's still ridiculous to speak of United overtaking Liverpool with an average net spend of 4.6m - that doesn't begin to tell the whole story, which is why I would never pose the question in those terms.

    Whether it's religion, political ideology or the net spend argument, people twist things to fit their own personal agendas, and in my view, the net spend myth is the most ridiculous transfer theory ever conceived.

    Yes, by itself, net spend has merit, but it has been twisted by football fans into something ridiculous.

  17. Interesting article - a lot of it doesn't really come as a surprise (Wenger is obviously known for being frugal with the club's money and not reinvest transfer fees received into the club).  One interesting fact - if you back out the transfer fees of last year's flops (let's call last year an exception to the norm given the incompetence of the DoF) and remove the transfer fees we paid for Carroll, Downing, Hendo, and Adam, the 2000's net spend would actually be much closer to that of Arsenal.  Also pretty shocking that in the 2000's we had that much more in player sales than Arsenal; granted we got 80M for two players (Xabi and Torres), but Arsenal has been a selling club of stars since Henry left (Adebayor, Nasri, Fabregas)

    Just goes to show - although Wenger is not perfect (ie/ not all his signings have turned out), at least his "flops" typically don't hurt the club and aren't that expensive (eg/ Chamakh was a free transfer) - he knows how to hedge his risks so not to compromise performance on the pitch, even though all the oil clubs come after big players.  A model I hope BR will be able to adapt for the future of this club.

  18. why dont we just use raheem sterling then................pointless signing

  19. to be positive it is great that we beat FULHAM to his signiture

  20. to be fair we have beaten fulham to his signature !

  21. ICKL that money has not lined any ones pockets, none of the directors take dividends, as confirmed by annual accounts. What it has done is gone a long way to paying off the mortgage on Ashburton Grove. 

    It may have meant that we haven't competed for the league for the past few years, but when the remaining £90m is paid off the revenue the stadium generates puts us in a great position. If fair play is ever properly implemented it puts us in a fantastic position. That is Wenger's true legacy

  22. I love the fact that Liverpool fans understand and respect the job that Wenger does.

    Big respect to you and good luck for this new chapter in your history.

  23. I think that's a fair enough appraisal Jamie.  Net Spend has plenty of merit, but it doesn't explain why we decided to splash £35m on Carroll.  Yes, this transfer was probably funded by the Torres deal, but it didn't have to be spent in that way.  This is where viewing gross spend is useful.  But I do think its important to consider both net spend, gross spend, and indeed a whole host of other influences, when analysing a clubs activity in player recruitment.  In my opinion, it's only then that a wholesome understanding can be gained.

  24. The Manchester United argument is irrelevent when it comes to looking at any kind of spend gross or net. Never before has a football club produced a crop of players from the youth system like giggs beckham scholes neville bros all at the same time those players where class acts and Ferguson was lucky to have them and probably lucker to have Brian Kidd running the youth setup. All those players cost nothing which distorts the spending pattens and trophy ratios to spend pattens. If you recall 'Ferguson was a game away from the sack and he got lucky. As a Liverpool fan I am loathed to give him any credit at all but I have to say he has been a good manager. Busby Shankly Paisley he hasnt been but he has done a good job for the Mancs. Stats show that he is a better manager than Rafa. IMO I think Rafa was a better tactician.
    I also think Rafas spend at the club is criticised too much,pundits and journalists only ever mention the poor buys, dont forget some of the investment was very well spent Reina, Alonso, Mascharano, Torres, Agger, Skirtl Johnson Arbeloa Kuyt. Aquilani was a very bad buy. Dossena we let go to soon he has done well in the last 2 seasons and has been mentioned this summer as a target for man u. It is well documented we paid too much for Keane as it is well documented that was Parrys doing not Rafas. There were several top clubs after Babel we beat Arsenal to his signature not Rafas fault he dint fulfill his potential.
    All top managers buy players that for some reason dont work out look at Ferguson with Veron for example.
    just to finish i am in the net spend is more important than gross spend. You make a good argument but at theendof the day football managers need to balance the books 

  25. In fairness, every bit of money Rafa, and any other manager spends, is sanctioned by the board.  The owners aren't forced to reinvest the money recouped in transfer fees, just look at Arsenal!

  26. Till today, I still think the term 'net spending' is complete trash. The people in charge can be as foolish as anything despite having a so-called 'positive net spending', best example to illustrate this is the sale of Torres for 50 mil pounds and bought AC for 35 mil pounds. This is definitely one of the most silly deals in the history of not only LFC but the entire history of modern football.

    Anyway, imo, Arsene Wenger is the 'God-father' of EPL. He is the best person to demonstrate how to run a soccer club like a traditional business. Non of the LFC managers since the formation of EPL came close to what he had achieved, or I should say non of the EPL managers came close since it's formation. If our last manager is a tenth of what Arsene Wenger is capable of, we would not have been where we are now. Look at the chain of strikers that he has bought, developed and sold, Anelka-Henry-Adebayor-RVP. Which of these players except Henry (11 mil pounds) were not bought for a few mil pounds and sold for 20 mil pounds upwards? Where are the excuses of rebuilding or 'player for the future' crap from him???

    Let's hope BR can bring LFC back to where it belongs, definitely not into some 3-way fight with Fulham and Everton for 7th position, and critically, not breaking the bank in the process. 

  27. Really? I was aware a certain amount went towards repaying that debt, but I didn't think it was all of it.  It was my understanding that the debt was being serviced at a rate of roughly £15-20m/yr and it was largely being generated by the increased gate receipts. Arsenal are of course being wise in safeguarding their future, but I think they're building a future which is consolidating their position just behind the top clubs.  
    It seems Arsenal are capable of competing financially with the other top clubs, while still remaining economically prudent.  Your transfer activity this summer may have been an indication of a change toward this policy, but it was too late to save the loss of RVP.

  28. I can happily cede the following even though I love Rafa.

    Rafa made some horrible signings.

    Keane was way overpriced. Aqualani seemed like a protest buy after Alonso was sold.

    There are many examples of bad judgement. Could we really afford the luxury of an £18 million right back?

    There are also tremendous examples of good spending. 4 regular starters in El Clasico were Liverpool players not too long ago for example.

    Skrtel, Agger, Reina, Lucas are some more good signings.

    Rafa was a brilliant tactician for big games, but admittedly over thought the tactics needed to consistently overcome lesser teams - this ultimately cost him a league title win.

    How did Man Utd get to the top?

    - Circumstances conspired against Liverpool late 80's. Hillsborough killed the soul of the club and eventually brought an end to a succession of people who knew, and had been inspired by, Shankley's Liverpool Way.

    - Liverpool were left behind by the Premier League revolution in financial terms and Man United went from strength to strength due to better corporate setup and branding etc.

    - Man Utd could easily extend existing ground

    People, myself included, often talk about Man Utd's golden generation of players. That is slightly deluded given that we too had a decent crop of players in the 90s.

    Robbie Keane cost Liverpool £8 million. It's not subterfuge. We were out of pocket by £8 million.

    How did Rafa spend so much money if there was only a £63 million input from the board? He wheeled and dealed to such an extent that he generated the extra money for big signings. I think he actually worked miracles in comparison to the revolutions at Chelsea and Man City. Their managers got to splurge £200 million in one window!!!! Imagine the transformation in 2004 /2005 if Rafa had that cash, with his knowledge of Spanish talent!!!

    Another thing which we easily overlook is the money spent on wages. Liverpool overspent vastly on salaries for players who just weren't worth it for last 20 years.

    Man Utd's huge outlay on Van Persie shows that they are going to fight Man City tooth and nail, but it seems a little desperate to me, surely a £60 million + spend on Van Persie, at 29, over the term of a 4 year contract clearly illustrates the utter lunacy in football these days.

    Man City and Chelsea are guilty of financial doping, as bad as an athlete doping in the Olympics.

    Man Utd are now being forced to spend dangerously to keep up with artificially successful teams, although the Glazer's deserve what they get. As do the MUST group whose only protest is wearing green and yellow while paying for tickets and munching on half time pies.

    I am optimistic about the future now and am delighted that BR got the job and that there wasn't a Rafa return.

    And I'm delighted we've spent just £3 million on a decent prospect, with just £1 million per year in salary. More of those please

    Let's continue to prepare for FFP and hope that it comes to pass. We have a decent number of young home grown players now in case extra quotas are brought in.

    Suarez has signed up long term.

    If Agger follows suit, or if we allow him to, our immediate future looks great.

    Thanks for your lengthy response by the way. Shows your passion for what you write.


  29. like the one that went invincible...

  30. Sahin is the more creative midfielder that we so desperately need and it will be a loan so no way of losing.

  31. Great piece of journalistic blogging. This highlights where Liverpool have gone wrong as a club an why we haven't won the league in 20 odd years.     I don't think the club understood what was happening at United in the late 80s. They we building something...and that takes time. By the time we woke up they were streaks ahead of us. What was the easiest way to reclaim what was ours? Buy, buy, buy. And buy the top/best talent. And look where it got us. Just further and further behind.  That is where the new owners are different. They looking for value, and that is why Camolli and the King are gone. We need to build for the future...it takes time. 

    ps: not only have Arsenal out performed us on NET spend, they also managed to build the Emirates at the same time. Sad, sad, sad.

  32. Jamie, to be honest with you, I completely agree with you. Benitez had money to spend, but the money he had to spend he did not spend wisely. Wenger and Ferguson had flops also but not the Benitez brought to the club.

    Bottom line is that Net spend is deceiving and a scapegoat for blind fans to excuse their teams poor performances.

    Ferguson clearly is the best manager around, possibly who has ever lived and his financial shrewdness at time as definitely paid off along the years. On the other hand, KD did exactly the opposite on his second coming.

  33. Touché Sir. I also agree with this. The golden generation of United in the 90's were successful as a result of their managers input. Benitez did overspend but some of his signings were horrid to be honest. Mark Gonzalez, Josemi, Morientes just to quote a few. 

    However I do feel that he had a big job in his hands when the likes of United with a fabulous squad, Chelsea brilliant team and Arsenal unbeatables were all challenging.

    At the end of the day, IMO I think of Arsenal as more successful team over the past 10 years than Liverpool even though we won the CL.

    Right now things are looking up, the club really needed to modernize itself. We just got 2 additional sponsorships and I doubt Rick Parry ( excuse the foul language) woulb be able to do this.

    Nice young talented promising kids, possibly the strongest defence in the PL or one of the strongest, Attacking flair finally and some much needed speed.

    A manager who is hungry and not afraid to drop stars and who actually "gets it". He gets the Liverpool way.

    However let's be patient as this will take a white. Don't expect a 4-0 win against West Brom.

    1 step at a time!


  34. Cos Sterling won't be able to handle all competitions, PL, FA Cup, Europa and Carling cup. With a fantastic player like Sterling it's sometimes best to ease them into the 1st team rather have them crash and burn in the first month or so. He will be ready for next season, remember this season is about getting the squad ready and implement tactics and playing style. Next season should be about coming 4th for the CL spot.

  35. It's absolutely amazing that Arsenal have spent not a lot and won not a lot since they stopped spending. Top notch analysis there. Especially the conclusion derived from not winning the league. Killer argument. Well done you.

    Rather than a comparison between the virtues of developing youth, perhaps mentioning also the wage costs involved and the dangers later on of losing players if one keeps a rigid and flat wage structure, versus attempting to build a structure whilst also being successful in terms of silverware and dealing with an unstable boardroom, you demonstrate a depth of insight that left me speechless - a negative net spend means Jaimie Kanwar can go buy football players. In just a few sentences you manage to completely sum up your ability as not only a writer, a humorist but also an analyst.

    I salute your indefatigability and look forward to your next installment on deriving meaning from numbers you read. Perhaps a look at why Arsenal conducted a review of their wage structure this year? An analysis of what drove the wage bill at Liverpool so dramatically upwards that it overtook Arsenal's in Benitez' last year in charge?

  36. Indeed Dion. I forgot about their stadium situation. Just goes to show that when a board in smart and they have a smart and industrious manager then many things can be accomplished.

    Hopefully this whole FFP will be in-forced (doubt it). I feel clubs need to focus on their academies.

    Can you imagine if west ham kept all their stars? Defoe, Carrick, Ferdinand, Lampard, Joe Cole, Glen Jonhson! Importance of youth!


  37. Without inflation these figures are not truly reflective. Without context the whole story isn't considered.

  38. woah! ok quite a discussed topic. JK and the rest... now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the exorbitant Spending by LFC over the years is justified, but who has won more trophies in the time period?

    4 prem leagues (big number!)5 FA cups 
    1 league cup

    3 FA cups
    4 league cups
    1 champions league
    1 Uefa Cup
    2 Super Cups

    about even, but Prem League is more important I think all would agree to us. I'm sure Ars fans and players are sliced up that they haven't a European Cup to speak of though.

    but in the last 10 years or so, Liverpool has not dipped too deeply into the youth system. Arsenal are quite reliant on their academy. Perhaps this is the difference?

    Hopefully changing soon! 

  39. AI don't think e you gonna do the same comparison with the remaining clubs that have won the league? I am sure that Liverpool will not look too bad when compared to chelsea and city. :D

    P. S. Personally I don't think that saying daglish and benitez had 60% available funds is fair as a million now and a million 20 years ago could buy you totally different players

  40. Jaimie, check your Benitez era figures mate, they're wrong. It's £50m net, not £63m. Also, if you remove the 2004 1st year rebuild from the equation (hardly fair to include it as it was an inherited team) the net spend is even.

    Lie, damn lies and statistics...

  41. No, you are wrong. My figures come.from the club's accounts. Are you suggesting that the club gets its own financial reporting wrong? I've provided evidence for the 63m figure countless times; Where is your evidence for the 50m figure?. P.S. Speculative guesses do not count as evidence.

    Sent from Samsung Galaxy Note

    -------- Original message --------
    Subject: [liverpoolkop] Re: LFC vs. Arsenal: 21 year Gross/Net transfer spend comparison (1990-2011) | Liverpool-Kop.com

  42. Assuming your net spend figures are accurate in the tables you present, the net spend is £50M. Add the figures up. 27.6 + 4.9 + 15.6 + 29.9 - 6.4 - 21.4 = 50.2.

    However, that wasn't my point. My point was without the context (Benitez spent £27.6M overhauling the team in his 1st year) your figures are numbers without context. Take out Benitez's team overhaul funds and start the comparison from 2005 and the figures show a different story. How can you compare an established team (Wenger in 2004 already had a team in his moulding) with a team in need of major overhaul?

    You're being selective with your data based on a biased view. You state at the start of your article you aren't comparing managers but merely presenting the facts, but then end up blasting Benitez in your key points. I would say you've done a great job presenting the figures, but fallen very short on presenting the facts.

  43. No, you just don't like the facts so you cast aspersions against the info.  If the facts supported a view that you agreed with, you wouldn't have a problem.

    Whether you like it or not, these are the irrefutable facts.  I have not twisted them; the info speaks for itself. Additionally, net spend is not calculated by simply adding each season's net spend togeter; it is Gross spend minus player sales = net spend.  That is how it is presented in the accounts, and considering the accounts are legal documents, I think the club have got it right.

  44. Please be more specific on how you reached the net spend figures of £63m and -£9m then, as using your tables I get £50m and -£9m. Actually reply with the figures involved in the calculation, as they don't add up. Happy to be proved wrong if I've misinterpreted the figure.

    But still... you insist on leaving out the historical context. The figures are skewed by Benitez's team overhaul funds, which Wenger did not have to do. Are you denying this fact and it's importance in the figures?

  45. No, you're FIGURES are wrong and you are ignoring the FACTS. Ignore Benitez's rebuild year and the net spend is even with Arsenal. This is a game changer and leaves a huge hole in your argument.

  46. See below comments.

  47. YNWA: You'll Never Win Again

  48. West Brom 3 - 0 Loserfool...
    YNWA: You'll Never Win Again... LMAO!!!

  49. How refreshing - a football thread filled with interesting discussion and intelligent analysis.

    I think its clear that Rafa had a few duds in the transfer market - which have already been mentioned.  What I would be more worried about if I was a Liverpool fan is that this doesn't seemed to have changed since.  Dalglish paid so much for average players and even Rodgers seems to be taking a gamble with 15m on Joe Allen (obviously time will tell whether this was worth it but I think we can all agree its a high fee for a 21 year old from Swansea).

    At the other end is my team Arsenal who have spent relatively very little (and next to nothing if you use NET spend) - Whilst I don't want to become a Man City / Chelsea (they will destroy the game if left to it) I would at least like to see a little investment in a team that is, at the very least, not moving forward.  I saw today a report on the gross spend since 2003 and Arsenals is nearer to the likes of Stoke, Wigan, West Ham and Birmingham than Spurs.  Looking at it positively it does show that spending isn't everything but it does make you wonder where we would be if we had just spent those extra couple of million on players we wanted - Alonso (year before he went to Madrid),  Mata, even pushing the boat out for Hazard - would these have players been the difference from 3rd/4th to challenging for the title?  

    The worst thing about this all is that on top of this Arsenal fans have to pay the highest ticket prices in the country - how do the justify this?  

    I believe in Wenger and I am pretty positive about where Arsenal are positioned both financially and on the pitch but the board can't have it both ways.  If you are going to not spend and make money each year you cannot justify the ticket prices (I understand London has a lot to do with it, but we are no the only London club) - if you spend and/or win things then you could argue the product we are paying for is heightened in quality.  As it stands it feel like we are get the worst of both sides.  Higher prices whilst loosing the best players and not replacing them with equal quality.

    Having said all this the numbers above are amazing - the fact that Wenger has managed to keep the club where it is in the face of such ridiculous spending around them is nothing short of a miracle and shows what a great manager he is, something Arsenal fans need to remember sometimes - but does beg the question; what if?