Thursday, May 30, 2024

AST: Arsenal losses could hit £144 million by summer 2021

Analysis by the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST) predicts that Arsenal will register a £19 million loss for the year to the end of May if the rest of the current campaign is played behind closed doors. 

Looking further ahead, the potential damage caused by COVID-19 is very worrying. If supporters are unable to attend matches for the entirety of next season – not out of the question – it is projected the club could lose £144 million over the course of the next 12 months. 

That estimate rosily assumes that we qualify for next season’s Europa League and that broadcasters are able to make good on upcoming payments. If those scenarios don’t play out it could be even worse. 

To combat losses of an entire season behind closed doors, the AST predicts the club will have to enforce a significant reduction in costs, most likely by player wage cuts, and/or lean on tangible financial support from the owner via a loan or new capital. They also make clear that supporters should not be expecting big transfer deals. 

Given the fluidity of the situation, it’s hard to know for sure what will happen, but the AST’s breakdown is worth a look all the same. 

Matchday revenue

  • Estimated to be £92m for 2019-20. Reduced to £80m as a result of the club having to refund ticket holders for the final four Premier League games of the season & refund of cup credits. 
  • If 2020-21 is played BCD there will be no matchday revenue.

Broadcast revenue 

  • Estimated to be £169m for 2019-20 (same as last season) despite early Europa League exit. This is because the value of overseas rights slightly increased. 
  • Revenue stream should be the same for 2020-21 if Arsenal qualify for Europa League. Could be issues if broadcasters struggle to pay. 

Commercial & Retail revenue

  • A working assumption of a reduction of 12.5% in revenue from sponsors as some will seek refunds and deferrals as they weather their own storms. 
  • Unlikely to be a lucrative summer tour. 
  • If 2020-21 is played behind-closed-doors revenue from this stream could fall by a third. 

Football costs (inc. wages)

  • Player and executive committee wage cuts to save club £2.5m in April and May 2020. Should club qualify for Europa League (predicted by AST) the 12.5% cuts by players are reduced to 7.5%. Therefore estimated 5% drop in figures for year to May 2021. 

Other costs

  • There is a predicted £5m reduction in operating costs for 2020-21 if games are played BCD, but could be bigger. 
  • Estimated £10m in player sales in summer 2020 due to suppressed market. 

Cash reserves

  • Residual cash reserves estimated to be £69 million at the moment. 
  • Cash flow to suffer from suspension of exec club / club level renewals & season ticket renewals. 
  • Arsenal owe £120m in transfer fees, £40m owed this summer. 
  • Heading into the summer of 2020/21 cash reserves could be wiped out and a new borrowing requirement of over £50m being required by the end of July if the club is to meet its commitments to pay other clubs instalments due on player transfers and finance wages in June and July. 

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Well that was some happy light hearted reading.

Scott P

Am I misreading the chart, or did broadcasting revenue actually go down from 183m to 169m rather than stay the same?


Revenue should have fallen both due to how early we exited Europe and also due to having less games televised. The PL splits broadcast revenue with an equal payment (ballpark 80m GBP per club) but then also pays clubs out based on TV appearances etc. Our worsening league performances likely saw a drop in our merit pay.


At least now we can forget the £40-50m transfer deals and focus on giving the kids a complete season to prove themselves. I don’t see us extending any contracts with huge wages so we can expect Ozil, Lacazette, Mkhi, Mustafi, Luiz, Sokratis, Kolasinac to depart this summer or the next. Auba could possibly be the only exception.


Might force the Kroenkes to sell up. They’re business men and not supporters.

I for one would welcome them out of the club. We always prided ourselves on being self sufficient for our success, but when you’ve now got owners taking profits out of the club whilst asking players to an accept a pay cut? Seriously fuck off.

I don’t know what’s happening specifically in other countries but here in Australia, major Grocery and Retailers are stronger than ever from the COVID situation as they are essential. You can’t tell me Walmart are struggling!

John C


One of the interesting things we’ve learned during this outbreak is there’s individual branches of the big supermarket chains that turnover more than Man Utd. It might be better business for Kroenke to wind the club up and put a Walmart where the stadium sits, and the training ground could be turned into an Amazon distribution centre.


OK so that is pretty grim but not existential. We can, and should sell players, but have to accept that there will be no mega transfer inflows. Can we now stop speculating on £50m plus transfers, we will be lucky to be able to spend much more than £20m on players this summer. Youth will need to be trusted and play. Bring it on!


Can we also get real about feeling sorry for footballers being paid ludicrous wages and not accepting fairly marginal wage cuts? £150 k a week is roughly 5 times the annual salary of the average worker, I believe. So in one year the footballer earns what it will take the average worker 250 years to earn. That is 5 working lifetimes.
This is existential for the football club. Not the players.

Jeremy DG

Dude, it’s not footballers fault how much they earn. They are young men who work hard and have landed feet first on the golden chalice. It’s simple supply and demand. If we want to see a reduction in greed, stop paying for match day tickets and tv subscriptions and you won’t be funding it any more.


For goodness sake, the wage cuts are done now. Plus players are contributing to a foundation that directly helps the NHS. And people are still whining about footballer’s wages.

It’s time people like Clockendrider got this through their thick, bitter, jealous heads:

Nearly every continent on Earth tunes in to watch Premier League football players at work. The same is not true for the average worker, so drop the silly comparisons.

I don’t understand why people watch this sport when all they do is bitch and whine and moan about the players.


I am neither thick nor bitter nor jealous. I am realistic. This recession is going to be very, very deep. Just because you haven’t realised it, doesn’t change a thing. People are and will continue to lose jobs. This will result in them not renewing subscriptions and season tickets. The government will not step in to save football clubs. There are far more important industries which don’t pay 60, 70, 80% of revenues out to employees in such a skewed manner as top level football. This will result in a massive hit to the revenues of clubs. Clubs will go… Read more »


We’ve had this discussion to death on here. Wage reductions have been agreed to now.

How about you actually thank the players for that before you start moaning again?

You have some nerve. Last week you were on here calling people 4th formers and babies for asking what contribution Kroenke was making, so you can f*ck off with the “no need to be rude” bit.

Scott P

There are far more important industries which don’t pay 60, 70, 80% of revenues out to employees in such a skewed manner as top level football. This is true, but football is a unique industry where the primary employees are highly skilled workers who cannot be easily replaced – hence multi-million transfer fees. In addition, the small number of workers that actually shoulder the responsibility of producing results for the club on the pitch (i.e. the players) means that the spoils of success are shared among fewer people. 400m turnover, minus expenses, split 25 ways is a pretty big number.… Read more »

Naked Cygan

You cant be realistic with some people.

Easy tiger

Listen. If what you say is correct, the wages in football will hit a brick wall. Everybody wins…


It’s not about feeling sorry for them or whatever, it’s about pointing out the inconsistency. We ask more from them than we do club owners, hedge fund managers and the like, people who aren’t even paying tax properly.



Bukayo Saka and Gab Martinelli must sacrifice their wages while the super-wealthy who are laying off workers get bailouts and stimulus packages. So much wrong with this system


Wasn’t this website one of those that berated the club time and again for not spending all the money they had on new signings. Laughed at how badly the club was managed because the value of players alt rocketed and the money in the bank wasn’t worth as much? Now it appears that having a go at the club for spending too much and not forseeing a pandemic is all the rage.


Strange comment.

“Now it appears that having a go at the club for spending too much and not forseeing a pandemic is all the rage.”

I mean, where are you even seeing that?

Jeremy DG

I don’t think this is a fair criticism. That said, I find coming on Arseblog more depressing than bbc news nowadays. I always considered the blog a bit of an escape with likeminded people. I mean, we all understand this is a bit shit and will likely impact club finances across the world in a serious way. How about some more lighthearted content such as 10 reasons why we signed Mikael Silvestre, or the best combined Arsenal team using only names beginning with the letter ‘T’. Just…anything…remotely…fun!


The blog is going every day, the podcasts are continuing, we’re doing some extra stuff for our Patreon members, I don’t know what more I can do. It’s not out fault the world has gone to shit!

Adam Guillette

It’s as fun as could possibly be! They’ve done magpie facts, waffle podcasts, and even the usual funny bit at the end of the Friday pod. Would you rather blogs just stopped covering Arsenal and instead put out a straight comedy album?

Bai Blagoi

And let’s not forget the FIFA match live stream, Arsenal vs Arsenal!

Glen Helders left foot

We need more magpie content

Naked Cygan

If you ever want fun, just watch some old goals from the Dutch master Dennis Bergkamp. That should cheer you up.


But of course, if we had spent wisely and strengthened at the time, we wouldn’t have missed out on the Champions League for the last few seasons and would be in a much healthier financial position.


Right, imagine trying to defend the way Arsenal built up a huge cash pile, then sat on it for so long it lost it’s value.

Yeah It was probably prudent financially, but in football terms, it was a disaster and would now cost 3-4 times as much to get back to our 2004-08 level.


We’ve stagnated so much while our rivals have pulled away or caught up, it’s hard to call it prudent at all!


And in comes Stan with a big bag of money… Oh, wait…


Honestly though does anyone feel we could be next up to do a Newcastle?


Like Newcastle? Which ?

Get relegated? No I think the team and youth are good enough to stay up


Be taken over by bids from Saudi or USA potential owners ?

Yeah I guess as much as would rather Wenger spent the money pot on a strong cm and centre back over that nearly ten year period. That money in bank is now helping . I have read Swiss ramble, that it’s gone down in % terms to other clubs with new TV deals making league more closer together but still .


Sounds horrible, will be horrible regardless of whether those numbers are accurate or not.
Bonus, we wont be the only ones in this same boat.
The football money bubble will finally burst and maybe some realistic finances can be organised amongst all leagues.


This will force a re-levelling of football finances, which is no bad thing. For the good of the game over a single club, they cannot continue spending such perilous levels of income on wages.

I value all the EPL clubs that bring a competition better than any Euro super league designed for finance. If a club like Arsenal are looking bad, you can imagine what shape the likes of Burnley etc might be in.


You’ve got it all wrong. The smaller clubs in the league make the vast majority of their money from TV money not ticket sales. If the TV companies honour their commitments they’ll be absolutely fine. A club like Burnley, for example, posted ‘match income’ of £6.3m and ‘catering sales’ of £2.6m in 2019. No matchday revenue for them means a hit of ~£10m. No matchday revenue for us means a hit of ~£100m. We’re 10 times worse off than them and our massive wage bill means we’re not well positioned to take this kind of hit at all.


They may not get a chance to collect tv money if the season is cancelled. If it does go ahead, the government want the matches on free-to-air tv, so Sky and BT might not get any subscriptions. So you might have it all wrong, but nobody knows anything yet:-)

Bai Blagoi

Estimated £10m in player sales in summer 2020 due to suppressed market. “

If we are going to sell players, this should also be reflected in the Amortization of Squad line.


The only positive I can take is the hope Kroenke and co consider their position and someone that wants to win sees this as a good opportunity to pick up a cut price Arsenal investment vehicle.


How is Dangote doing in Africa right now?


Scaremongering nonsense.

Hallowe’en Jack

If you were a football club now would you be considering buying players for millions of pounds, let alone the underachieving ones we’ve got? I can’t see us selling players and raising cash this summer. Best we can hope for is over inflated contracts coming to an end and those players slipping away. Youth is our way forward IMO if the American is going to continue with the self sustaining model.


Curious how the AST predict that we’ll qualify for the Europa League next season. Did they ‘show their workings’? 10 games left and we still have to play Man City, Leicester, Wolves, Liverpool, Spurs. Can’t see many points from those at all, and even Southampton and Brighton away I wouldn’t bet on 2 away wins.


I agree, we’re a mid-table team, and a couple of injuries away from sinking even further.


Maybe Stan will take a walk. We can only hope. ?⚡️?


It couldn’t be worse timing, what with Wonga and Quickquid going into administration!

No pay day loans for Kroene.


Yet our chairman is 300 million richer in the same period.

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