By David Owen
July 1 – Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s big money move to Manchester United may have come as a disappointment but not a surprise to financially literate Crystal Palace supporters.
The highly-promising 21-year-old right-back made the switch from the South London club, whose academy he joined a decade ago, last week in a deal valued at a reported £50 million, including £45 million up front.
Palace was one of a number of Premier League clubs whose financial performance deteriorated in 2017-18. As detailed in Insideworldfootball’s Premier League of profits (http://www.insideworldfootball.com/2019/04/23/spurs-liverpool-set-new-standards-second-best-season-premier-league-profits/ ), the Eagles recorded the biggest pre-tax loss – £35.5 million – of any of the 20 clubs comprising English football’s top tier in 2017-18.
Much of the year-on-year deterioration was attributable to the club’s player transfer activities, as it secured and consolidated its Premier League status under former England boss Roy Hodgson.
Whereas 2016-17 had produced a near £35 million profit on player sales, 2017-18 generated just £2.4 million. At the same time, the arrival of players such as former Liverpool man Mamadou Sakho pushed up amortisation costs. All told, the 2016-18 period saw Palace disburse around £117 million on players, with well under £50 million recouped from player sales.
Short-term creditors were up again to £134.2 million at end-June 2018. The strategic report included with the most recent financial statements also said the club would start construction “as soon as possible” on a new 8,300-seat stand.
Completion of the Wan-Bissaka deal on 29 June, a day before Palace’s financial year-end, means the bulk of the financial benefit arising from the transfer should be able to be included in the 2018-19 figures. As an academy product, one would expect the defender to have been assigned a book value of zero, meaning that the full proceeds should be regarded as profit.
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