During the Annual General Meeting this week, Ivan Gazidis reaffirmed that Arsène Wenger makes all the transfer decisions and has an outstanding record.
Many would be sceptical of such a claim, given that Arsenal have ‘only’ finished third or fourth since the 05/06 season.
However, statistics of transfers over the past six years have shown that Arsenal have been extremely efficient in their transfer dealings, verifying Gazidis’ other statement, “We have built a strong squad. We have to be smarter, working more intelligently than our wealthier competitors.”
Since the summer window of 2010, Arsenal have only bought 29 players. Of those 29, 20 are currently with the club today. Two are currently on loan (Carl Jenkinson, Wellington Silva), and only three have been sold (Lukas Podolski, Gervinho, and Thomas Eisfeld), while only four have been either released or left on a free (Semi Ajayi, André Santos, Park Chu-Young, and Sébastien Squillaci).
This results in a player retention rate of just under 76%, with players averaging 2.34 seasons with the club – the best of all teams finishing in the top six last season.
Arsenal have also only spent an average of £7.93m per player during this period. Only Tottenham were more thrifty (£7.39m). However, Spurs also have the worst player retention rate (51.5%) and average player tenure (1.79 seasons) of the group.
In contrast, Manchester City and Manchester United have spent an average of £15.42m and £14.21m, respectively, per player over the past six years, or about double Arsenal’s average spend.
Both Manchester City and Manchester United transfers exhibited relatively average player retention (68.6% and 64.3%) and tenure (2.03 and 2.07). However, Manchester City focused slightly more on developing players in the loan market.
These figures also prove Chelsea have been the absolute kings of loan market, buying a total of 47 players and sending 17 of them on loan. This creates a relatively high player retention and tenure figures (74.5%, 2.21 seasons), but results in the lowest percentage of actual squad players bought (38.3%).
These figures seem to suggest that although Chelsea and the two Manchester sides have won the league during the period, Arsenal have been quietly and efficiently building a cohesive team that know each other and who have been playing together longer than the competition.
Could this be the year it finally comes to fruition?