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Top Prem clubs spending since 1996
As I said in an earlier answer, since the 1996-97 season Arsene Wenger's Arsenal have spent £315m on players and received £310.5m, a net spend of £4.5m. Over the same period, Manchester United's net spend is £250m, Manchester City's £472m, Chelsea's £504.5m, Liverpool's £204.5m and Tottenham's £174.5m. There are two important reasons for the huge discrepancy in spending between Arsenal and their main rivals. First, the Gunners' costly move from Highbury to the Emirates limited their transfer budget for several years. Second, unlike some of his rival managers, Wenger has the knack of buying players cheaply and selling them for a hefty profit, as was the case with Nicolas Anelka, Kolo Toure, above, and Cesc Fabregas. Those Arsenal fans who have been calling for Wenger's sacking should be careful of what they wish for in this era of financial madness in football. Despite his low net spend, under Wenger Arsenal have qualified for the Champions League every season for the past 14 years, won seven trophies and reached two European finals. That, in my book, makes him one of the world's outstanding managers of the past two decades. And his teams play excellent football.