Arsenal’s latest financial report indicates that Arsenal’s wage bill increased by around £20million for the last six month period. Arsenal’s wage bill of 130m is the fourth highest in the Premier League.
Someone commented on the blog last week, that Arsenal are getting what they pay for. They are a top four side and their wage bill reflects that. True, but it is not the size of Arsenal’s wage bill that bothers me, it is how those wages are distributed.
For example lets compare Arsenal’s wage structure with that of Man United. Nobody at Arsenal makes more than £100,000-a-week, while at United several players make that and Wayne Rooney makes £200,000-a-week. So United have a higher top level than Arsenal.
But United also have a lower floor. For example Danny Welbeck is on £15,000-a-week, and Chris Smalling, Javier Hernandez and Phil Jones have all had their wags increased significantly recently to between £50,000-60,00 a week after performing well on the field.
United are comfortable paying players after they perform and don’t mind large wage gaps in their dressing room.
Compare that to Arsenal where all of the squad, from Johan Djourou to Robin van Persie, are kept within reach of each other. It has been a long held belief by Arsene Wenger that there should be some kind of equilibrium among players who share the same dressing room.
This equilibrium means that the top players don’t get paid like the top players at other clubs and the bottom players are overly compensated, taking away their incentive to work hard to get a new contract.
Clearly, that means Arsenal are not getting good value. And there is a reason for that. There is a whole raft of squad players – Abou Diaby, Denilson and Nicklas Bendtner – who are on great money because they have been given parity.
Here are a couple of example’s. Diaby is on £60,000-a-week while Bendtner has never denied the story that he chose shirt number 52 as it represents his weekly wage. If they were at Manchester United (which on recent form is hard to believe) they would not even be earning half as much.
They are earning so much that Arsenal could not offload them last season. Diaby was put up for sale but there were no takers, not because of injury but because of his sky-high wages.
Because of Wenger’s spread the wealth philosophy, Arsenal have a whole group of squad players like Diaby, Carlos Vela, Denilson, Bendtner that need to be sold.
By removing this dead weight, and keeping new players like Ryo Miyaichi, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Carl Jenkinson on their relatively small wages, Arsenal will be able to free up enough room to pay RVP the £150,000-a-week he wants, pay Walcott the £80,000-a-week he wants and also pay Jack Wilshere in a year or two.
Ryo, AOC and Jenkinson can get their money in the future, when their performance merits a pay increase not before.
By changing the philosophy of how the wage bill is divided amongst the players, and not the net amount, Arsenal’s big stars will get the big money to keep them happy and the young players will be kept happy and hungry. The ones who will lose out are the middle of the squad players who won’t be allowed to sit back, not worry if they are in the team because they are on great contracts.