There is a concept in Economics known as the Business Cycle. It states that every business goes through 2 phases, Recession & Recovery. Slump is the lowest point a business can hit, in term of its Gross Domestic product while Boom is the point a business strives for.
Rewind 7 years, Arsenal complete construction of their magnificent £390m Emirates Stadium in July of 2006. Little did anyone know that the world was about to see the worst ever Economic Crisis of 2007-2008. What it essentially meant was that major businesses across the globe were going bankrupt and banks were being bailed out by governments. So you can imagine how hard pressed Arsenal would have been to re-pay that loan they took to build their stadium, while simultaneously trying to break even on their accounts.
Selling our best players over the years seems like a decision we were pushed into. The Board simply couldn’t refuse to reject massive bids for players who themselves wanted to leave. Our trophy drought when put into perspective becomes much more understandable and rather bearable. 8 years without a trophy and the last trophy we won was in 2006. Too much of a coincidence eh?
However this is in no way an endorsement of our Board. It is common knowledge that Arsene Wenger makes the decisions when it comes to player transfers. Also it is widely known that Arsenal have had circa £70m in the bank available to spend on transfers for the last 2 seasons. I personally feel the money was made available to the manager for transfers but he chose not to spend it all. The acquisitions of Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski & Olivier Giroud, even Nacho Monreal in the last window were all typical Arsene Wenger bargains. The underlying point here is that the years of abuse the manager & board members have been subjected to was uncalled for, and tarnishes the clubs reputation.
Sponsorship deal renewals with Emirates & Kit deals with Puma mean that we as a club will be among the elite once again, financially. The money from the Emirates deal will be available to us during this window, while the Puma kit deal (rumoured) is starting from the 2014 season. It is apparently going to be the biggest deal in the history of English football. For the first time we can spend big to attract big players. Players who can not only add to the team but to the club as a whole.
In a recent Q&A with the Arsenal supports, Ivan Gazidis spoke about how Arsenal can afford to pay big salaries that top players demand these days. I’m sure you’ve all read transcripts of the session and conclusions on what his answers mean, but one thing that struck me was how the man spoke. He was very frank and open, something that I have failed to see over the past. He told us nothing we didn’t already know, while dodging all transfer related questions but he spoke like a man who knows times a’ changin’. Both him and the manager have done extremely well to steer the club through this tough period while staying in the mix. They have managed to keep us growing on a relatively straight curve and we are finally tipping over the curve.
Where Arsene has done an outstanding job is to stay in the mix of the top teams, not where we want to be, but in the mix, on a relatively limited budget.
Another thing of interest IG spoke about was FFP. While stating the club are strong supporters of FFP, he said we can’t rely on it. To be frank I don’t completely understand all the facets of it but one thing is for sure, our club won’t struggle against it. The timing of this new undertaking by UEFA is impeccable to say the least. Just when we are tipping over the curve towards financial supremacy other clubs like Man City & Chelsea will have to cut down on their loses to meet UEFA’s valuation.
There is also a down side to all this. Every fan with half a brain cell now wants Arsene Wenger to spend the cash. Deals are being made and signed all over the place, names being shouted over the roof tops. As if it wasn’t hard enough for the club to do deals in silence people are making accounts over Twitter to persuade the club to sign X player. It has gone as far as people stalking Arsene shouting at him to sign who they want. While their passion is commendable, I urge people to have patience. The best deals are done in complete secrecy, remember Monreal? That one came out of the blue. What we need to understand is that while we can now compete for the best players, clubs like Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea can still blow any of our deals out of the water. Give the manager time to do his thing.
The transfer window opens on July 1st and I doubt any player will be announced before that. We will see big name signings, maybe even 2. Certain people who have inside knowledge believe it’s going to be 3! It’s hard not to get excited but we are creatures of habit. Being perpetually denied signings in the past we take everything with a pinch of salt.
Regardless I’m genuinely excited for this summer. We are moving forward and this summer is a pivotal moment in our future. In Gary Neville’s words, if we start winning now this time will be regarded as the most important in Arsenal history. Arsene will go down as the most influential manager this club has ever had. I like the sound of that.
Over to you Arsene.