Four reasons behind the mess that is Arsenal Football Club
The transfer window has closed and Arsenal fans all over the world have been left frustrated by the clubs failure to add to their underperforming squad. Sound familiar? This has been an ongoing issue since the club left Highbury for the Emirates Stadium but it is astonishing that so many of the club’s faithful believed this summer would be any different.
The club has stagnated, the manager’s best days are behind him and the board are a cancer to this once great outfit. The supporters feel cheated, and rightly so, but what can be done about it? The answer is not very much.
Protests, banners and chants will all be in vein because Arsenal football club are a money making machine and that is the sole reason Stan Kroenke decided to descend upon our shores in the first place. As long as the club continues to record profits, the American owner certainly won’t be going anywhere.
Some choose to blame Wenger, others point the finger at the board but really it is a combination of factors and, therefore, a far more complex issue to resolve.
Stan Kroenke and the Board
Arsenal’s majority shareholder currently owns the Los Angeles Rams and the Colorado Rapids; you only need to look at how those sports teams are performing to understand he’s only in it for the paper. He’s a ruthless businessman who spotted an opportunity to grow his fortune and, whilst it makes financial sense, there is no hope of him walking.
The club has taken their loyal fan base for a ride and the early acquisition of Alexandre Lacazette was a smoke screen for what was always going to be a frustrating summer. When will the fans understand that whilst Stan Kroenke sits at the helm, with Wenger as his right hand man, things will never change. Like it or not, Arsenal are now a selling club with the number one aim of turning a profit.
The board consists of businessmen loyal only to the bank. A panel of dinosaurs who don’t understand the game, value financial success above that of the team and disregard the fans, who ultimately make this club what it is. Not a football man in sight and nobody with the ‘cohones’ to challenge the majority shareholder. A closed community united only by their greed.
During the last few days we’ve heard conflicting reports regarding the financial situation at the club. On Wednesday night onlookers were led to believe that the club were all out of cash and on Thursday the Gunners reportedly made a £92 million bid for Monaco star Thomas Lemar. Which is to be believed?
During the 2016/17 season Arsenal spent a total of £96.3 million on transfers. Whether Arsene spent it well enough is a totally different discussion.
The board and ownership (rightly or wrongly) clearly feel the club cannot afford to outlay that kind of money for a second summer in a row. Here is my theory as to why…
The club recognised that their two biggest assets (Sanchez and Ozil) were unwilling to sign contract extensions and, therefore, they stand to lose a substantial amount of money.
Wenger may have made a plea to the board and requested the permission to keep those two players at all costs, even if it meant losing them on a free transfer come May.
The board accepted this, but on the conditions Wenger would need to trim down the wage bill and recuperate some of the money spent over the past two seasons to compensate their sell on value depreciating. Wenger opted to keep Sanchez and Ozil, rather than trying to replace them with the likes of Thomas Lemar and other linked stars.
I know what you are thinking: but Arsenal made a late bid for Lemar?! Perhaps Wenger, in his panic, thought the club would sell Alexis anyway and had to act on some form of contingency plan. When the Sanchez deal was off, Wenger breathed a huge sigh of relief and pulled the plug on the Lemar deal and the panic was over.
Yes, the reported bid for Lemar was huge, but when you look at what the club were going to receive from the sale of Sanchez, plus the profit we’d already made over the summer, in particular on the Oxlade-Chamberlain deal, it still would have balanced the books.
As fans, it will remain a mystery, but that’s just some food for thought. Like I said, just a theory.
The boss has come under fire more than ever in the past couple of seasons and the lack of progress on the field is clear for all to see. You could argue he’s failed to sign the right players with the funds that were at his disposal. His weak leadership and tactical incompetence have played a big part in Arsenal’s omission from the top four and things will only get worse.
He appears to have lost the dressing room and during the recent defeat at Anfield looked a broken man. You could argue that the aforementioned contract situations mean the Gunners are unable to offer the kind of pay packets some of our competitors can.
However, you would be foolish to underestimate the impact Wenger is having on those stars. It is clear there is a lack of faith in the manager’s ability to restore Arsenal to the pinnacle of English football and the air of invincibility and power the board award Wenger with is counter constructive in so many ways.
For this club to move forward, regain its competitive edge and be able to attract the calibre of players necessary, the Frenchman simply has to go.
The move to the Emirates Stadium
Arsenal moved to the state of the art Emirates Stadium back in 2006. The idea behind the move was to increase revenue and put the club on a level playing field financially with some of Europe’s elite clubs. At the time the building of the stadium was sanctioned this, in theory, made perfect sense.
The Arsenal leadership could not have foreseen the rise in the Premier League’s TV revenue or the impact of the billionaire owner. At the time the move was proposed you could forgive the board for thinking an increase in gate receipt revenue would propel them above most of the divisions other clubs and give them greater spending power.
The Premier League’s TV revenue growth has meant that the clubs are now on something of a more level playing field. Of course you still have your super spenders, but this increased income means the likes of West Bromwich Albion, Watford and Huddersfield have all been able to spend substantial amounts of money on players.
The consequence being that the league becomes more competitive and the advantage of having a bigger stadium becomes less significant in the modern era.
It is fair to say the landscape of the Premier League has changed and that would have been difficult to forecast.