London (Reuters): Premier League football club Arsenal [...] saw revenues shoot up 45 percent [...] However pretax profit dropped to 5.6 million pounds from 15.9 million a year ago after swallowing a one-off refinancing charge on the money it borrowed to build [its] 60,000-seat ground.
The result would have been worse but for the big money sale of talismanic striker Thierry Henry to Barcelona.
Thierry Henry was sold for £16m, translating to about £11m after deducting tax. This is not a trivial amount: it corresponds to about 200% of Arsenal's reported post-tax profits. It suggests that Arsenal is structurally loss-making and would need to raise around £10m from player sales every year to remain solvent.
Alas, Reuters got their story wrong. Arsenal sold Henry after the end of the May accounting period so the revenue from his sale will show up at next year's accounts. Furthermore, the provisional accounts have a whole section listing the players bought and sold, mentioning any sales since the end of the accounting period in a separate section - so we are talking about particularly sloppy research on this one. And to think that Reuters are supposed to be experts on finance reporting.
Thanks goes to one of my most loyal readers for the pointer and analysis.