I confidently predict that after another summer transfer silly season, Arsenal will not have signed any players categorized as world or top class. This would involve paying in excess of £35m and a weekly wage of £150k+.
You will deduce from this that I do not expect us to be signing Suarez and what follows is based on that premise. Even if you think Suarez will be an Arsenal player by the end of the window, the points I wish to make are relevant up to the present time. If I am wrong I will happily eat a large slice of humble pie
You could read back through the things Ivan Gazidis has said regarding our spending power and argue that his words have been misinterpreted. He’s said we have the money. He’s said what we ‘can’ do, but that is quite different to what we are prepared to do. Certainly IG and AW have both stated at different times that we ‘could’ buy players like Rooney or Suarez if we choose to.
Did we ever intend to spend the mythical £70m warchest?
I know what Mr Wenger would say, he’d say, if players of the right quality are available, we will try to buy them – and who can argue with that as a general statement?
I can sense indignant blogger’s fingers itching on their keyboards to type the following:
We cannot compete in the transfer market with clubs who have billionaire owners who throw money at their clubs – and I agree
We operate within a stable self-sustaining financial model and that is the best path for the club – and I agree
We have amazing young talent coming through and we don’t need any big signings – I only agree in part.
We do not know who or what part of the administration of Arsenal really decides how much we are prepared to spend. Kroenke says the Board run the club, others contend that Arsene Wenger controls just about everything and some (kelsey included), suspect Kroenke himself is happy to see his investment grow and has very little interest in the football side of the business.
You can make your own mind up about that one, but what concerns me is that a part, or maybe all of the administration have decided to send out a message that has misled supporters into an unrealistic expectation of the type of player we might be signing this summer – and not for the first time.
I’m not talking about 98% of stories which are fabrication and exaggeration manufactured by the redtops and gutter media, I’m talking about the 2% which are direct quotes from senior members of staff.
The overall effect of this strategy is to create a divide between supporters, and Arsenal are pilloried by the media.
The game of bluff and counter bluff that surrounds transfer dealings is notorious. Most agents manipulate the media, players and clubs with the sole aim of feathering their own nests. Clubs are forced to join in the circus and deliver misinformation as part of the process of getting their man, or getting the best price for their wantaway player.
I accept all this, but Arsenal seem to take it a step too far.
Our reputation for procrastinating on deals, missing out on players for the sake of a couple of million, being unprepared to pay wages at the going rate etc. etc. may be fueled by the media – but who can deny it has an element of truth? Past events support those accusations.
We are perceived as a bit of a joke. We are the relatively wealthy club who says it has the money but actually never wants to spend it.
I get furious when I hear supporters of other teams say “we can’t compete with the rich clubs like United, Chelsea and Arsenal” In terms of our balance of spending on players, we are near the bottom of the league table.
We have an excellent manager who has turned water into wine many times, but it would appear we have lost our advantage in the scouting network and it is possible that the reputation we have earned is now working against us and we’ve become a less desirable destination in the eyes of some players.
So why do we persist in feeding the media with the ammunition to ridicule us by posturing and pretending to be something we are not?
AW said when asked about Wayne Rooney “We would not have a problem with the wages of Rooney” … that is just not true. Yes we could afford it, but he’s on £250k a week at present, the administration would not sanction such a wage.
All I would ask is that Arsenal stop trying to give the impression we are something we are not because events inevitably disprove this view and it simply makes us look a bit lame.
We have immense integrity as a club, so why damage that by pointless posturing in the transfer market?
Nothing will change in our approach to spending on players whilst the current administration is in control. Some new younger ‘footballing blood’ on the Board would be a good start, but it appears it is a closed shop for the old school.
We are the architects of our own reputation. The longer we persist with this ‘we could if we wanted to’ position, and subsequently fail to deliver, the more disillusioned some supporters will become.
It is ironic that at a time when the squad seems more united than for many years, the chasm between supporters grows ever wider and for this the club has to accept some responsibility.
Written by Rasp