Arsenal’s hopes of re-emerging as a genuine force in the Premier League could be hit by two major financial setbacks over the coming months.
The Gunners have endured a disappointing campaign in 2019/20 and it is looking increasingly unlikely that they will secure Champions League qualification.
Their 3-0 defeat at Manchester City on Wednesday left them ninth in the standings, eight points behind fourth placed Chelsea.
While City’s potential European ban opens up the possibility of fifth place qualifying for the competition, Arsenal don’t currently look good enough to sneak in.
With Mikel Arteta’s side also facing plenty of competition for a Europa League spot, the club’s coffers could take a huge battering next term.
Another big issue for Arsenal is the prospect of playing games behind closed doors over a sustained period of time.
Although tentative talks have been held regarding when fans may be allowed back into stadiums, nothing has been set in stone just yet.
That creates another huge headache, with the club heavily reliant on matchday income to fund its annual operations.
According to research by Betway Football, fans generated £96 million revenue for Arsenal last season, a figure that represents 24 percent of the club’s £396m turnover.
Only Manchester United had a higher income on matchday, with Old Trafford’s greater capacity allowing them to rake in £111m.
Football finance expert, Kieran Maguire, has conducted extensive research into Premier League revenues over the past few years.
Maguire, who authored ‘The Price of Football’, says clubs like Arsenal will have to be extremely creative to cover the shortfall created by the ban on supporters.
“They will be trying to claw that back in some shape or form,” he said. “I think football might have to reinvent its relationship with fans in terms of its ability to offer an experience.
“Those clubs with good lines of communication to their fans will be successful, they will work hard to engage with them. The industry is big, but it’s got to innovate.”
With Arsenal currently a long way short of the quality needed to challenge the Premier League’s big guns these are undoubtedly worrying times for the club’s fans.
However, Maguire believes things could get much worse over the coming months, suggesting that star players may need to be sold in order to plug the financial gap.
“Clubs have got such high fixed costs and they might have to think of ways they can cut back,” he added. “The return to some form of live action is essential. I’m not trying to be sensationalist.”
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