Over the last four years, Mauricio Pochettino has presided over a club whose net spend is just £40.25m. To put that into context, over that same period, Manchester United net spend was £417m and Manchester City was £496m.
The only top six club to beat us was Liverpool on £18m, and a lot of that can be attributed to the sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for £142m. If you combine with this the club’s strict wage structure compared to the other five challenging for honours, Poch’s ability to produce sides who monetarily punch well above their weight is second to none.
However, it looks as though those times of financial restraint will not quickly go away by the move to the new stadium. The costs of building the ground have spiralled in recent years with the total cost so far reaching £315m, with a final figure of over £800m now likely.
That level of investment will inevitably have an impact on the transfer budget available to the manager in the years to come. No doubt, as fans we will have to pay our fair share of the cost with some exorbitant ticket prices, but it could be that the playing side takes a hit too.
To what extent, we’ll have to wait and see. The club made a healthy profit in 2016/17 with record revenue of £306.3m and a profit after tax of £41.2m. These are sizeable increases year on year (revenue jumped by £96.5m), and there are a number of other potential avenues for profit.
Continued participation in the Champions League will certainly help with TV revenue and prize money. Increased capacity at the new stadium with additional gate receipts and vastly improved corporate hospitality and sponsorship revenue will aid repayments on the £400m we have taken out as a loan.
Yet, Daniel Levy has warned of “challenges” to come. Although not the most reliable sources, both the Mirror and Daily Mail believe we will have to sell before we buy this summer. The “Wheeler Dealer” approach will continue it seems.
There is expected to be a relatively large turnover of players at the end of the season, with as many as five first-team players possibly leaving. Whether such a transformation will turn us into the type of title challengers we hope for, I don’t know.
What I do know is that such restrictions in the longer term could be a problem as we look to overhaul the big spending Manchester clubs at the top of the table who do not have the same financial constraints. With Poch in charge though, we still have a great leveller on the playing field.