Arsenal Wages: Still Work To Be Done, Ivan?

Interesting little bit of side info from the Glasgow Rangers debt crisis: they currently owe Arsenal £438,982.63. This is detailed in the Administrator’s report dated 20 June, and apparently relating to the period up to 14 June. Arsenal are alphabetically first in a very long list of debtors that includes over £94 million to HM Revenue & Customs, for a grand total of £124,219,412.37.

The only logical reason I can think of for Rangers owing Arsenal money is to pay loanee Kyle Bartley, who was at Rangers from 4 August 2011, the day after he signed a new three-year contract with Arsenal.

Kyle Bartley playing football. Yes, it has happened.

It seems logical that Bartley’s wages are still paid to Bartley himself by Arsenal, and Rangers then reimburse the Arse. The question is, what period does this debt of £439k represent? If it’s the whole season, then that’s 45 weeks from 4 August up to 14 June, which equates to £9,755 a week. But the season ended a bit before 14 June – 7 April in fact – so knock 10 weeks off (I’m rounding up by a couple of days), so a rounded up £439k divided by 35 is £12,543 a week.

But maybe Rangers were paying for the first part of the season and stopped only when they went into administration – and you’d think that someone at Arsenal would have done something about it if they sent a player on loan and got nothing in return for the first six months. Wouldn’t you? I mean, if it was you, you’d do something, right? And as I keep getting told whenever I criticise anyone employed by Arsenal, they’re professionals, you know. So that would only be non-payment from 14 February to 7 April, which is less than 8 weeks, or 18 weeks to 14 June. I can’t believe any club, never mind a club deep in debt, would ever agree to pay for time after the season finished, so let’s just use 7 April. £439k divided by 8 is £54,875 a week – which can’t possibly be right. For one thing Nicolas Bendtner would never stand for some upstart getting two grand a week more than him. So I can only assume that either this is for the whole season, which would give the 12 and a half grand a week figure, or there is some other fee involved (where to me it would seem daft that Arsenal wouldn’t insist on that up front, but still).

Of course I’m also assuming that Rangers are paying all of Bartley’s wages. Arsenal wouldn’t loan a reserve player and subsidise his wages as well, would they? That would be phenomenally poor business. No, they’re professionals, remember. I’ll assume they’re not that daft.

Bartley’s Arsenal career so far has consisted of one appearance in the Champions League, and a substitute appearance in the Emirates Cup last year when he scored an own goal. So what is the going rate at Arsenal for a 21-year old with one full competitive appearance in a meaningless match? £12.5k a week is believable, if not great business. If it’s much more than that, Ivan Gazidis has got a hell of a lot to do on sorting that wage bill.

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19 thoughts on “Arsenal Wages: Still Work To Be Done, Ivan?

  1. Really fascinating stuff, but also incredibly worrying. Lets hope something actually DOES get sorted with regards to chucking money away like this (if its true).

  2. I would assume it could be payroll taxes also plus you don’t know the period. They probably agreed a monthly repayment to cover costs in full.
    I would think his experience makes the club feel a little better about the bad debt write off.
    From a credit risk they probably thought Rangers were good for it – how many other clubs still owe us transfer fees? It seems the way football is run
    Hopefully the non collection was flagged to the FD and they made a judgement call which proved wrong and happens
    Not sure there is enough info to doubt the way the club is run.

  3. If you’re going to go all investigative reporter on us, at least go on more than a one off figure! None of us have any idea what that amount represents, not sure what more can be said.

  4. You’re right that it’s interesting that we’re owed £438k by Rangers, but beyond that this is all guesswork and speculation as to what Kyle Bartley’s salary might be. Perhaps Rangers owe us money for things that have nothing to do with Bartley (an old debt perhaps, or the provision of other services). And even if the whole £438k stems from the Bartley loan, perhaps some of it relates to a fee that was to be paid by Rangers to Arsenal (often happens in loan deals). Or perhaps part of it relates to insurance, or other costs. Who knows? I don’t, you don’t. So why bother speculating?

    The club does need to do some work on the wage bill, but that’s in moving a whole load of players on. Whether Kyle Bartley or anyone else is overpaid, none of us knows.

  5. Out of curiousity, if we’re still paying his wages, and being reimbursed by Rangers, would it be likely to be the same for all the other players on loan, and would their wages be included in our overall wage total listed in the accounts ?

  6. So you don’t know the period the debt covers or even what its for but then come up with loads of theories.

    He was there the season before too wasn’t he, maybe that’s included? Maybe they still owe us for emirates cup tickets they sold to their fans for a few years back?

    maybe a story with assumptions and no research isn’t a story?

    • If I were running a football club and I hadn’t been paid for a loan from one season I don’t think I’d be loaning the same player to the same place for a second season.

      • Would depend on the terms agreed at the start.

        What would his situation have been playing wise if we’d recalled him midway through the loan? outside of a window he’d not been eligible for registration would he?

        better he stays and gets experience than returns and plays for the stiffs, no?

  7. Glass empty analysis looking for problems when there may be none, and reaching negative conclusions based on wild speculation concerning an amount of money we have no information about, and drawing conclusions based on inaccurate dates for calculation.

    I normally like your blog and try to keep an eye on it, but can’t understand why you are searching for the most negative possible explanation for the debt in question, and then presenting it in conclusion as a fact.

  8. I don’t understand all the backlash. Phil never claimed to be an investigative journalist or that he knew what the ledger said. It’s just his speculation. I for one didn’t even know about this and welcome the fact that he brought it up in the first place. If you’re uncomfortable with him wondering about possibilities, you might frequent a news site instead. (Wait. No, that’s probably a terrible idea. The popular football sections manufactures more wild assumptions than this blog could dream of, and with less substance even.)

  9. Yeah, I didn’t mean to bully you hehe. Thanks for drawing our attention to this, good find! There’s so much secrecy around our finances (perhaps understandably) that we don’t even know who gets what, and what that wage total includes (i guess it includes bonuses and signing fees, but coaching staff? academy staff?). All these figures we hear quoted about what our players are on or what they are being offered are just speculation. And yet that doesn’t stop it from being a stick for people to beat us with!

    If I’m honest, one thing I’ve always had a concern about is just how much the boss gets paid. I’ve lisrtened to him for hours go on about how we just can’t compete with the big boys and how them driving up costs is the end of football etc. and it turns out he’s the highest paid manager in the PL? Something smell bad to you? Things like this are why I would just like to know for sure. Being so secretive is supposed to be good for the corporation, but it doesn’t half leave a vacuum for bad publicity and fan uncertainty. Maybe that’s what you get when you hire corporate suits like Gazidis and not real people.

    Either way, keep up with the blog. I didn’t mean to be disparaging!

  10. “Arsenal wouldn’t loan a reserve player and subsidise his wages as well, would they? That would be phenomenally poor business.”

    I don’t actually think that loaning a young reserve player out and subsidising his wages – if that is what happened – is that bad an idea. The main aim of the loan would be to get him out to a club that we think will help him improve. There is a potential benefit to us in the end so it’s not such awful business, on paper at least.

  11. The thing is, Arsenal is Rangers’ third biggest creditor. The only money that I can that Rangers could owe Arsenal is from Bartley’s wages. Arsenal haven’t transferred any players to Rangers or played at Ibrox for more than 10 years.

    Arsenal obviously paid Bartley’s wages and then Rangers were supposed to re-imburse Arsenal. Surely after 2 or 3 months of not getting anything from Rangers someone at Arsenal should have flagged this up to the board.

    As for a loan fee, maybe for some big name star but I can’t see it happening for a player of Bartley’s stature.

  12. Article is based on pure speculation, but is interesting none the less. Don’t think it ever claims the wage figures to be anything approaching certain, it’s simply asking the question, so why so many commenters with knickers in knots is beyond me.

    Would be nice to have an insight into the financial workings of the clubs, but that’s never going to happen so we’re left with this kind of guess work.

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