Is £7.5m-a-year Wenger cheap at the price?
By Simon Rose
Itís not as expensive as it might seem
At £7.5m a year, Arsene Wenger is believed to earn more than any player at Arsenal Football Club. In some respects that is how it should be. How can a player respect a manager who is paid less than him? At some clubs that may well be the case. But then at some clubs managers come and go with the frequency of London buses. The managerial merry-go-round costs clubs fortunes, in direct and indirect costs, so while £7.5m a year is a hell of a lot to pay Arsene Wenger, you could argue that he is cheap at the price.
Top-end football managers are paid a lot of money. They also cost a lot of money to pay off when you sack them. Liverpool paid off Rafa Benitez £6m. I donít even want to think how much pay-off money Chelsea have laid out on Jose Mourinho, Felipe Scolari, Avram Grant, Carlo Ancelotti and Andre Villas Boas. That fake football club can afford it but it will have been countless millions, probably £20m+.
But the costs of managerial sackings donít end with the direct paying up of their contracts, there are the knock-on costs too. Managers have extensive back-room staff, in some cases many more than you would credit and quite often at least some of them are sacked too and hence also need their contracts paid up.
Then once you have sacked your highly-paid manager and his pleasantly-imbursed coaching team you often have to lay out compensation to another club to nab their manager, plus his coaching staff. That is not cheap. Chelsea are reputed to have paid Porto over £13m in compensation just to land Villas Boas in the first place, well before they paid him and his cohorts a whack in wages and later sacked him and paid him off inside a year. As I often say, there are a lot of stupid people in football.
Indirect managerial costs donít just include the big money it takes to compensate a new club to land your new man and his back-up team, or how much it will hit you to pay them off when you sack them, within say 18 months to two years, but also the impact this managerial stupidity has on playing squads.
It costs a lot of cash money to sign players and to pay them big wages. But new managers may not like the squad that they inherit, so they sell players on, who have to leave for not necessarily the market rate, but frankly to get them out of the door in time to sign other costly players that the new (and not necessarily quite so permanent as he might seem) manager wants to replace them with. Again, more cost, all round.
And then so the managerial money-wasting money-go-round keeps on going round. And round and around. No wonder so many football clubs are in such colossal debt; they cannot afford the cycle of massive financial waste that they have become sucked into.
On the other hand, you could always keep your manager. Very few clubs that ruin themselves with this cycle of huge direct and indirect managerial cost ever reach an end to it. Few such clubs reach that horizon of a great manager, who builds a largely long-term squad and which leads to managerial and financial stability. Those that do, tend to be successful. If you constantly chase the horizon you will never reach it.
David Moyes has been in charge at Everton for 10 years. Everton flit between decent and dreadful seasons, but the club has tight financial constraints and frankly they are grateful to stay in the Premier League as a bottom line and they hug decent seasons with pleasure.
Sir Alex Ferguson has been in charge at Manchester United for over 25 years. He will be paid a lot of money, but United have been extremely successful and they prune their squad to grow and build, despite the odd departure, including ones that perhaps they would rather avoid losing (Ronaldo).
At £7.5m a year, Arsene Wenger is paid a hell of a lot of money and some would say that he cannot justify that, having won zip since 2005. He has earned a lot of money in those seven years. We all have our own impression of to what extent Wenger still cuts it, some rabidly so, but there is no doubt that keeping Wenger has saved Arsenal from entering the damaging cost of the managerial merry-go-round and the enforced cycles of squad turnover that it brings.
Arsenal might have struck gold and landed one guy that stuck, without causing a huge costly squad upheaval, but we may also have ended up chasing a succession of the latest bits of managerial skirt and have been left as supporters wondering at what cost.
Arsenal obviously feel that Wenger is worth what they pay him, because he saves them what it would otherwise cost to replace him and possibly keep replacing him. And then replacing him again. That saving, frankly, on a season-by-season basis, is obviously judged to be more than the £7.5m that they pay him.
(For those that can't separate an argument from opinion, the above is an argument. Arsenal haven't wasted money on a cycle of sackings, pay-offs and enforced player turnover, hence £7.5m a year for Wenger must represent a saving for Arsenal in comparison. My opinion? As I alluded, £7.5m a year is obviously a ridiculous amount of money! And yes, it essentially rewards us not having had the squad or balls to win trophies for seven years, but football is drowning in money and disappearing up its backside with absurd pay deals. How can anyone quantify or justify £7.5m? You can't, but it represents not having wasted it on a cycle of wasteful sackings.)
10th October 2012
User Comment and Reaction
User comments on this article are now closed. If you want to continue the debate, why not do so on the Gooner Forum.
au revoir wenger 18:08pm 10th Oct 2012
keep taking the tablets - Post No. 29383
Orson Cart 19:40pm 10th Oct 2012
Simon you are the king of the AKB's but this article takes the biscuit.Loser Wenger gets paid more than serial winner Sir Alex.I dont need to carry on - Post No. 29384
Gary 20:23pm 10th Oct 2012
Are you related to David Icke? - Post No. 29385
Lennie 20:51pm 10th Oct 2012
Sir Alex Ferguson earns his money.Our fraud of a manager doesnt.Wenger wouldnt last 6 months at Madrid or Barca.They demand trophies.Thats why he stays at Arsenal.In any other walk of life if you were not delivering results you would be fired.We all know why Wenger is still our manager.He delivers profits it has nothing to do with performances on the pitch.So Mr Rose the answer to your question on football reasons is a big NO - Post No. 29386
Ian Ures comb 21:43pm 10th Oct 2012
There are Gooners losing their jobs and having to make cut backs in there living standards and you ask is a football manager is worth £7.5m a year.What world do you actually live in?Unbeliveable and insulting article - Post No. 29387
maguiresbridge gooner 23:22pm 10th Oct 2012
Arsene wenger is not worth £7.5m a year obviously the person/persons that sanction that amount (thats if he doesn't do it himself) think he is as they've certainly struck gold alright and it's a rich vein and its making them and the other fat cats richer.With his massive salary it's a pity he couldn't have struck silver over the last eight years and then maybe just maybe his £7.5m could be justified. - Post No. 29388
Skooner 23:43pm 10th Oct 2012
Perhaps ask a slightly different question, do Wengers wages need to be that high to keep him? If Slur Alex only gets say £5m a year then would Wenger not be happy with that? Even if you think Wenger is doing a good job I still think he is over paid compared to his peers. I get your argument that having one manager has saved a lot of money, however, Wengers pay packet seems to reflect the a general club trend of over paying for not achieving. What's really odd is if people do achieve we then refuse to pay them the going rate. It is a mad system and possibly the biggest problem the club currently faces. - Post No. 29389
Catch22 3:12am 11th Oct 2012
If Arsenal had attempted to match the spending of ManC, Chelsea or even ManU they'd be winding the club up by now. Even so Arsenal have still managed to get to three cup finals in the last seven years including the Champion's league final. But your heroes Fabrigas, Song and the others Arsenal intelligently offloaded DIDN'T FINISH THE JOB ! They've now gone to clubs where they hope that someone else will finish the job for them. Three Premierships, four F.A. Cups and a top four position every full year that Wenger has been at Arsenal adds up to a loser, does it ? Yeah, right ! You guys are nuts ! - Post No. 29391
Don 7:08am 11th Oct 2012
This is without doubt the most stupidest article ever on the Online Gooner.Is the author serious or just a WUM?The prime minister earns £140k a year less than Wenger in a week.We are in the worst reccesion in over 80 years yet the author says are we paying someone £7.5m on the cheap.The next two articles by this author are "Should we give underpaid Gazidis £5m a year" and "The cheapest tickets at the Emirates should be £100".I really do give up on some of our so called fans they definately dont live in the real world - Post No. 29393
The Noise 7:46am 11th Oct 2012
Absolute drivel! Yet another pathetic piece telling the masses we'd be up **** creek if we sold Mr. Arsene FC, YET AGAIN forgetting the fact ARSENAL FC was the 3rd most successful team in English football history before Le God came along! Yet another sheep petrified of change... Baa off! - Post No. 29394
Frank 7:58am 11th Oct 2012
Think about it we are paying Wenger £7.5m to finish top 4.Thats his job description.To our owner 4th is good enough.Would Sir Alex still be in his job if he went potless for 7 years and finished either 3rd or 4th in those 7 years?.Wengers wages sum our club up.We reward failure.Its the story of Arsenal post 2005 - Post No. 29395
thatsimonrose 9:15am 11th Oct 2012
It looks like Skooner is the only commenter so far who has understood this article. It often amazes me that so many others fail to read an article for what it actually is and instead come armed with their preconceptions and fixed opinions. Be open-minded, read the words. It's an argument. Yes, Wenger's salary is clearly absurdly high. Why not £5m? Perhaps the club feel they have had to pay him high to keep him, rather than Wenger having necessarily stayed out of loyalty. And what would he be on if he won something? To think that we missed Alonso for an extra million. - Post No. 29396
Kevin 10:04am 11th Oct 2012
@Simon You are missing the point completely.You say the club have to pay him high to keep him.Why would we keep a manager who doesnt win trophies and all our best players leave every summer because the club Wenger manages lacks ambition.Wenger is NOT paid £7m for being a football manager its for being a banker.His job has nothing to do with winning trophies its about making profits.Us the fans couldnt give a toss about profits.Arsenal are supposed to be a big club yet the manager hails a top 4 finish as a great achievement.Ask the City and Chelsea fans do they care what their clubs have spent.The best manager in the world will be available next summer.Will we be in the queue to get him?not a hope in hell.We will keep Wenger.Our policy as a club is to spend little and sell big.I'm sorry but blinkered fans like you who cheerfully say who would we get to replace him are doing the club more harm than good.I would get rid of Wenger if he was on £500k a week because on the pitch he has failed.And are you related to David Icke? - Post No. 29397
Ron 10:16am 11th Oct 2012
No football coach deserves that even if he wins the title and the CL every season. Its a disgusting salary! PS The players wages need capping too. A footballer s worth is highly debateable but not many (if any) 'put bums on seats' these days like Georgie Best, and many other players of yesteryear could. I cant think of one in the Premier Lge who i would bust a gut to go and see. Just a glut of ordinary Joes, all trying their utmost to fleece their clubs and the increasingly stupid fans for the top price they can get (i dont blame them with such idiots for employers) whether theyre entertainers or or not and whether theyve actually proved anything or not.Football is mental basically and i would go so far as to say that those of you still paying through the nose to watch it often, as opposed to once in a while, quite frankly deserve to get ripped off. - Post No. 29398
Graham Simons 10:28am 11th Oct 2012
I appreciate your argument Simon. There's a lot to be said for consistency and having faith in a manager. Continuing faith in Wenger has resulted in continuous qualification for the Champions league. But look at a couple of clubs that have chopped and changed - namely Liverpool and Chelsea who both have a European cup to their names over the past decade. Our consistency through keeping Wenger is one side of the coin but if we had chopped and changed maybe we would be playing UEFA cup football but maybe, just maybe we also would have turned one of those quarter final Champions league appearances into a solid Champions league run and actually landed the trophy rather than being the team everyone wants to land in the semi finals due to our lack of backbone. - Post No. 29399
Sam 11:12am 11th Oct 2012
So we get rid of Wenger next summer pay him off his final year of his contract and get in Guardiola and you would be upset with that Simon?.Another pathetic "what will we do when Wenger leaves" article.Maybe we would win trophies has that ever crossed your mind? Wenger and Gazidis are bleeding the club out of £10m a year.Just think about that - Post No. 29400
trev 12:20pm 11th Oct 2012
nice article...pity the idiots on here who wont get it. - Post No. 29401
maguiresbridge gooner 13:01pm 11th Oct 2012
Congratulations to arsenal ladies on winning the continental cup their seventeenth piece of silver ware i think since the high paid stars of our first team last produced i doubt their manager is on 7.5m. - Post No. 29402
Angry & Frustrated 14:35pm 11th Oct 2012
How much does Wenger & Gazidis pay you Simon for these never ending pro current regime articles you write? Will you ever realize that with those clowns running the asylum we will never win anything ever again. Many of us have been saying this for over 5 years now, and have been proved 100% accurate, and yet you still want more of Wenger, more best players leaving every summer, more profits generated via transfers year in year out, more ridiculous comments like "best squad ever", more clueless tactics in big games, more preordained substitutions after 70 mins which have nothing to do with actual events taking place in front of his very eyes etc etc. £153 million just sitting there doing nothing, why not give it all to Wenger and maybe then you could write an another article telling us it's good value for money and we should be happy and grateful that he has accepted it. Jeez when will the penny drop with you that Wenger is now all about profits and is not remotely silverware motivated, unlike Fergie who is the polar opposite and paid less to bring continuous actual success to Manure! Never thought I would say it, but give me Fergie any day over Wenger as he is a winner to the core. Whereas our manager would be "happy to finish second for the next 20 years" but is also happy pocketing his £7.5 million per year whilst overseeing our guaranteed failure!! - Post No. 29405
chris dee 14:59pm 11th Oct 2012
As much as we sometimes rant,snarl with anger and vent our spleens against Arsene when results go wrong,and I do it as much as anyone, there is no doubt in my mind he is the best manager in Europe. For Arsenal to take on this massive debt to build the stadium and to maintain a top 4 place and also maintain a challenge for trophies while not paying wages beyond the means of the club has been brilliant. And we are not far from achieving trophy success at this moment. Any trained monkey could, like the Chelsea managers or City's current manager, can spend millions without any financial consequences and bring a whole herds of good players and win trophies. - Post No. 29406
Stroud Green Road Boy 16:58pm 11th Oct 2012
As you say, it's an argument. The flaw in your argument is we have constant player turnover anyway. Compare the squad now to the squad just a couple of years ago. AFC have less resources than 3 other clubs in the PL but more resources than all the other clubs. So what Wenger achieves each season in finishing 3rd-4th is par, nothing that any other reasonably competent manager could not achieve and it's certainly not worth £7.5 million a year. - Post No. 29408
usb 17:16pm 11th Oct 2012
'As I often say, there are a lot of stupid people in football' If you believe that Wenker is worth £7.5M then obviously football is not the only place where stupid people can be found - Post No. 29409
Mandy Dodd 21:17pm 11th Oct 2012
Good article. Under wenger , we punch above our weight, his methods may not be conventional to all, but the fact remains, in recent years, the only clubs consistently more successful have been so on the back of petro dollars or a long standing huge brand with no new stadium to pay for. Clubs have spent a fortune in trying to catch us up....and failed. All those years in the Cl, all he has won, I can think of very few managers who could have done that on wengers budget, especially in recent years. He is worth every penny, as you say, we cannot afford a managerial money go round like the current day fake football clubs - Post No. 29411
goonercolesyboy 21:37pm 11th Oct 2012
Dear Angry and Frustrated, do you still go to Arsenal matches? or are you another one who sits at home and types until the red mist forms in front of your eyes? - Post No. 29412
Ken Dodd 23:43pm 11th Oct 2012
By jove,by jove what a beautiful day to take Wenger and Gazidis up to Blackpool beach to watch me mate earn an honest crust performing his Punch & Judy act,then bang both over the head with a French stick and cry ''that's the way to do it!'' - Post No. 29414
Mandy Dodd 23:52pm 11th Oct 2012
Angry and frustrated, fergie was not a winner last year and the signs do not look especially good this year either. The myth is wenger sells top players to rivals, whereas fergie does not.......apart from tevez. Some say wenger plays poorly performing players that fergie never would, but maybe these persons do not watch recent performances of Anderson nani carrick Evans evra and others. Fergies achievements are there for all to see, but some tarnishing is going on, he should not now be used as a stick to beat wenger with. - Post No. 29415
barry 7:13am 12th Oct 2012
@Mandy Dodd we punch above our weight?The last 7 years we finished 4th four times and 3rd three times.Who exactly are we punching above?the Spuds,Newcastle and Livepool?.Last year we finished 19 points behind the Manchester clubs and Chelsea won the CL and the FA cup.We are miles behind the top 3 teams.Punching above are weight my a**e - Post No. 29418
Rex 7:49am 12th Oct 2012
Mandy since 2005 how many trophies has Sir Alex won compared to Wenger.He is allowed one season without a trophy.By the way they lost the title on GD.Utd are not a great team but the reason they do well is they have a great manager.We have Wenger enough said - Post No. 29419
Joe S. 8:43am 12th Oct 2012
Simon, I can't wait for your piece in three years time on why Wegner deserves a life time contract even though it then will have been 10 years with nothingg to show except the silent one's beeming approval and a fat bank account of course. - Post No. 29421
Joe S. 9:08am 12th Oct 2012
Mandy, you sound like a scchool girl poking her tongue out at the playground bullies with your Na Na Na I told you so comments. Is it really necessary to defend Wegner at every instance. The Manure players you mentioned may be past it but collctively they have over the past five years done the job for thier manager. Oh and did you read the Mirror snipet stating that Arsenal have written off the 5.5 million over Pak Chu -Yung as bad loss. Now I wonder who should bear the responsibility for that? - Post No. 29422
Mandy Dodd 10:00am 12th Oct 2012
Rex, if as you say and i happen to agree that utd are not a great team, you have to ask yourself why that is with all their resources....which considerable outweigh anything that has been available to wenger. He is allowed a year without a trophy....really? With his resources? Guess you are also going to say he is allowed to lose 6-1 at home to the nasty neighbours, as well as go out of cups to the likes of Leeds and crystal palace in recent years. Then fail at the group stage of the Cl, followed very quickly by an exit in the Europa league. Sounds like a team and manager in decline to me. - Post No. 29423
Kenny 10:59am 12th Oct 2012
Mandy of course Fergie should be used as a stick to beat Wenger with.Fergie for all his trophies earns less than Wenger.How can anyone in their right mind defend that.Wenger was once a great manager but over the last seven years he has failed.Not even the most blinkered AKB can deny that - Post No. 29424
GG89 11:06am 12th Oct 2012
Ummmm... of course it would be prudent to add the financial reward of a title or two.... So is Wenger so cheap then? The cost of a world class goalie might just push the team into sucess but that would mean upsetting the balance of the wage structure etc.... Weīre a victimn of our own rules, maybe... - Post No. 29425
Mandy Dodd 11:19am 12th Oct 2012
Sounds like I have touched a nerve with some...not for the first time on here! There will be nowt said against Utd...or at times last season.. the Spuds on here....but open season on Arsenal/ Wenger of course! BTW - Does anyone actually know what Wenger earns - I am talking reality, not hearsay or presumptions here - Post No. 29426
Angry & Frustrated 11:22am 12th Oct 2012
@Mandy Dodd even by your normal blinkered pro Wenger stance your comment that it's a myth that Wenger sells our top players to our rivals does take the biscuit. There is no point in me even listing the numerous players that he has sold to our rivals, as no doubt you will argue they were crap anyway and we are well shot of them, thereby justifying your statement in your own mind! As I have said to you before Mandy I was also once a rabid pro Wenger supporter but unlike you have used the evidence in front of my eyes to realize he has now become well past his sell by date. Worse he has decided to become a bean counter as the method to judge success. That is why he came out with his happy to finish second for the next 20 years statement, because he knew it would equate to 20 years of guaranteed profits which in his eyes is our trophy! I don't doubt your support for Arsenal Mandy, but do wish you could be more objective by using all the evidence available these last few years. As for using Fergie as a stick to beat Wenger with, well I actually think he is the perfect stick to do that with!! @goonercolesyboy Since when was attending every game a measure of your support? I currently refuse to attend games (been a regular since the mid 70's) as I will not give a penny of mine to a regime with whom I categorically disagree with. It's called a principled stand, and if by doing that you view me as a secondary supporter whose observations are automatically inferior to yours, then so be it I won't lose any sleep over it! - Post No. 29427
Tony Evans 11:54am 12th Oct 2012
Goonercolesyboy - I fail to see whether it matters a jot how many matches someone like 'Angry' goes to, or indeed whether they go at all. I have stopped going to matches for many reasons but after all my years of support I still feel my opinion is worth just as much as those of us who still attend on match days and probably more in a lot of cases. - Post No. 29428
Tony Evans 12:17pm 12th Oct 2012
Mandy - of course it is 'open season' for comments on Arsenal and Wenger - this is an Arsenal website! I certainly wouldn't waste my time writing / reading about Spurs and Manure in any great length - my only concern is to see Arsenal winning a trophy again. - Post No. 29429
Mandy Dodd 12:26pm 12th Oct 2012
A and F, I actually said it is a myth that only Wenger loses his top players to rivals when Fergie does not - citing Tevez as an example, I guess Real Madrid could also be seen as a rival to Man Utd. That is just one of many myths going around on things that Wenger supposedly does as a matter of course but it is claimed Fergie would never do..keeping faith in poor players, showing patience with injury prone players,whingeing over losing, giving into player power could be added to that list. If you really feel the need to seek out a stick to beat Wenger with, Fergie with his vast resources compared with Wenger is amongst the worst examples. If you must compare Wenger with Fergie, consider when they were on a more level playing field resource-wise. - Post No. 29431
almunia is a clown 16:26pm 12th Oct 2012
More delusional drivel from a supposed Arsenal supporter, these people must exist in another segment of the Space Time Continium because they're not on this Planet1!!!!!! - Post No. 29437
GoonerRon 8:06am 13th Oct 2012
In the interests of balance....somebody is using an article in the Mirror about writing off Park's fee etc, I'm pretty sure it was reported in said paper last season that Mancini's new deal was worth £5m per year, making him the highest paid in the league. On that basis, Wenger earns nowhere near £7.5m per year. Also, if we are comparing with other managers, how many in England have presided over a self-funded £400m stadium? None of them, therefore we are comparing apples with pears as Wenger has been operating under unique circumstances. If you combine net spend on transfer combined with wage bill outlay I'd guess we'd be around 6th or 7th highest in the last 7 years, therefore constant CL qualification and three cup finals is we'll above par. - Post No. 29442