Arsenal have taken out a new loan from Barclays that was used to repay the £120m borrowed from Bank of England in January, according to new documents posted on Companies House, but it is unclear if the club have drawn additional sums to cover other costs across the business.
The £120m loaned from the Bank of England’s Covid corporate financing facility (CCFF) had to be repaid by the end of this month along with an unspecified amount of interest. It was repaid last week. North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and the Football Association also availed of the facility in an attempt to solve short-term cash flow issues.
While refinancing in such a manner is common practice, confirmation of the Barclays loan has led to a fresh wave of criticism from supporters, many of them questioning why the £120m has not been repaid by the owners, Kroneke Sport Entertainment.
Last week an Arsenal Supporters’ Trust spokesman said: “It is now important that we have full transparency on how this loan was repaid, and what any new arrangements mean for the club’s financial position, including what costs any additional loans may place on the club.”
At the end of a campaign in which Mikel Arteta’s team failed to qualify for Europe for the first time in 25 years, Arsenal are facing a summer of uncertainty. The squad is in need of refreshment but funds will be further limited by an awareness that revenue will take a significant hit next season with only domestic football to focus on.
Their run to this season’s Europa League semi-finals, where they were beaten by Villarreal, was worth about £14.3m in prize money. That figure would have been closer to £20m if supporters were not forced to watch from home due to the pandemic.
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Those losses will be partially recouped by players not receiving performance-related bonuses, while Mesut Ozil will officially be off the books at the end of June. The former attacking midfielder was sent on loan to Fenerbahce in January but Arsenal have continued to pay 90% of his £315,000-per-week salary.
The club’s financial year is set to end on Monday, meaning the Barclays loan will be reflected in their next set of accounts. Exact details of the amount borrowed may not be made public until those accounts are published in early spring of next year.
The Kroenke family’s resolve has been tested by takeover interest from Spotify founder Daniel Ek, who also has the back of a number of former star players. The Swedish billionaire had an initial bid turned down but has vowed to try again. KSE say they have no intention of selling.