By Marcus Leach
Respective fans of clubs might tell you differently, but when it comes down to it football is all about money. And as we draw towards the business end of the season that has never been clearer.
It seems Manchester United have the title in the bag, although Arsenal will harbour other ambitions when they take on Tottenham tonight as they bid to win their first Premier League title since the 2003/04 season. A win will put them back in the race, and the prize means more than just bragging rights.
With clubs receiving monetary bonuses based on their final league positions, plus a host of other financial implications winning the title opens, winning the Premier League is big business.
The basic value of winning the title registers at around £16 million, based on a merit payment system that awards teams roughly £800,000 per place they finish above the bottom place of the league.
However, with TV money, both in the UK and for international rights, licensing and generic sponsorship deals that figure raises to over £50 million. If you are still not impressed, given that the lacklustre Fernando Torres cost Chelsea the same recently, this is just the basic bonus.
This figure does not take into account the clubs personal sponsorship deals, merchandising, gate receipts or other match day profits; all of which are greatly enhanced as Premier League champions.
So tonight anything but a win for Arsenal could cost them in excess of £50 million, as costly as any defeat.