With it being the silly season and following on from Shamrock’s excellent article and the discussion that followed the other day, I thought it was a time for a bit more of an in-depth look at our current situation. For the finances I am referring to the excellent Swiss Ramble blog.
This clearly shows That with a turnover of £88m and wages of £54m we are well below the big six of which Spurs £164m and £91m in turnover and spent on wages respectively are the nearest competitor. If competitions are won on the basis of wages, which according to Soccernomics is the best indicator, although no guarantees, then it’s clear why we are not in the Champions league.
The question then is how do we balance building to challenge for Europe whilst staying within budget. In an ideal world we would have a squad which had 18 “purples” boosted with another seven squad players and development players. What do I mean by these terms? Firstly I think that a “purple” should be defined as full international regularly picked for their national squad. I think we should have a starting 11 and a bench full of players of this calibre. Squad players make up the 25 places and are versatile and hard-working. However, the cost of such a squad would appear to be way beyond our current budget.
Assuming a “purple” is paid £50kpw + bonuses then at say £3m per year each that’s £54m. Squad players at say £1m each is another £7m and academy players now averaging £2k per week across Premier League is another couple of million. Throw in a Manager and Coaching staff and now we are looking at about £70m a year. That’s averages. Which is significantly above our current £54m expenditure on wages.
Throw in the other £20m annual expenses and now we are now up to £90m. However on top of that we need to replace the players as they move on and our amortisation is again about £20m per annum. So now we are up to £110m a year. Again significantly above the current £88m.
The good news is that we should get an extra £30m each season from the next TV deal and we can see that the books will not be far off balancing. Of course getting full internationals for £50kpw is difficult, but we seem to be importing prospects for half that with the idea of increasing it if they do well. Which is a fine transitional approach. However, given that Remy would have cost say £75,000 per week which means that all the above would have to be increased by 50%. If we start paying £5m per year for top players then we can only afford that for say the starting 11 and then need to use more squad and development players. In my opinion it is better to bring players in on say £2.5m per year and then move them up to say £4m pa when they have fully established themselves as key players.
So how close are we to getting there. Well by my count we have seven of those purple players as Llambias calls them. You may note I’m taking the p*ss a little bit with it. That’s Fabricio Coloccini, Mathieu Debuchy, Cheik Tiote, Yohan Cabaye, Vurnon Anita, Hatem Ben Arfa and Papiss Cisse. In terms of squad players we have Rob Elliott, Ryan Taylor, James Perch and Jonas Gutierrez. We have high hopes for Tim Krul, Davide Santon, Steven Taylor and Sylvain Marveaux although injuries and/or lack of experience means that I can’t classify them. We also have kids that may come through such as Gael Bigirimana, Haris Vuckic and maybe Shane Ferguson, Adam Campbell Remie Streete and so on, but realistically we have a lot of padding that needs replacing with quality. Hopefully we can survive this window in a stronger position, avoid relegation and build in the summer.
So on that basis my squad should look like
GK – Tim Krul and Rob Elliott plus another to replace Steve Harper.
FB – Mathieu Debuchy and Davide Santon plus another quality full-back. Then we have players like Ryan Taylor and the development players as padding.
CB – Fabricio Coloccini, Steven Taylor plus one new quality centre-back. Then Mike Williamson and development players as padding.
DM – Cheik Tiote and Vurnon Anita plus another quality addition. Then we have players like James Perch, Jonas and Gael Bigirimana to fill things out.
AM – Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa and Sylavain Marveaux, plus two new quality additions leaving the likes of Gabriel Obertan and the development players to pad things out.
ST – Papiss Cisse plus another two quality additions.
Which is actually 19 purples to be fair.
So looking at what we can do is to try and replace those who leave with quality for similar costs. Looking at the list of players we have been linked with then Jack Butland to replace Steve Harper would be good. Erik Pieters as a full-back still possible. Mapou Yanga-M’Biwa or MamadouSakho please, both if Colo goes, hopefully not before summer. Moussa Sissoko has been mentioned as a defensive midfield addition. Attacking midfielders I can’t remember. Strikers possibly one now and Andy Carroll back in the summer to replace Shola?
Oh well we will wait and see. Enjoy the ride, this is Newcastle.