Arsenal’s 8 year trophy drought has been well documented. Amongst the plethora of reasons, the main reason why silverware seems to have eluded the Gunners in recent seasons has been the inability of the club to keep their best legs and also splash out cash on the stars in the market. In the 8 years of Arsenal’s trophylessness, there has been the rise of moneybags who have bought over struggling clubs and have turned them into title challengers; Chelsea and Manchester City are in this category.
This season seems to be the last straw that has broken the camels back with the Gunners enduring their worst ever campaign under Wenger, the chances of winning silverware fast disappearing into thin air and even a top 4 finish and UEFA Champions League qualification is currently under humongous threat. Reasons for a dismal season aren’t far-fetched, the summer sales of Van Persie and Alex Song and the failure of the club to adequately replace them. Apparently, it is time for a change of approach.
The financial restrictions at Arsenal are of two kinds; not been able to make marquee signings and rigid wage structure. While things aren’t so positive on the field, they are looking quite good on the financial aspect.
The recent financial report shows that Arsenal just posted a profit and has over 120million Pounds in the bank the revenue from the champion’s league and the money accruable to the club for whatever position it finishes in the premier league in the current season. The 120 million in the bank does not take into account the new TV money and the 30 million yearly from the new Emirates deal. Also, there is set to be a major reduction in the club’s wage bill owing to the expiration of the contract of some players earning big but contributing little or nothing to the success of the club on the field. Besides, the significant reduction in the stadium loan means Arsenal for the first time in a long time can really afford to splash the clash.
One of the problems at Arsenal is the socialist wage structure. Unlike at the other top clubs, the difference between the top earner at Arsenal and the least paid isn’t so much. This doesn’t encourage some top players to go the whole hog at the club. At Manchester united, Rooney and Van Persie are the highest paid on over 200k pounds per week while at the same Old Trafford club, some players earn 30k and 40k Pounds. Wages is dependent on productivity.
How about at Manchester City, the highest earner is Yaya Toure who earns over 200k Pounds per week and at the same club, some players earn less than 50k Pounds per week. This isn’t discrimination; it’s just recognition of excellence. An incentive which motivates players to improve and do more if they want to move up on the wage ladder.
This is something that isn’t available at Arsenal. Currently, the top earners at Arsenal are Podolski and Walcott on 110k pounds and 90k Pounds respectively ( figures may be wrong, only quoting what I have read in the papers and on the social media ) but not far from them are Arshavin, Gervinho, Chamakh, Bendtner, Squilacci and Djourou. Players that are not contributing to the success of the club on the pitch. How many league matches has Arshavin started this season, how about Squilacci? These players earn decently (50k Pounds per week or more) when their productivity is nothing and in actual fact by offering these players high wages, the club is been shot in the leg because it makes it difficult to offload them when they are deemed surplus to requirements. Arsenal has been trying to sell Arshavin, Squilacci and Chamakh for a while now but they keep meeting stumbling block in their wake owing to the bogus wages these players are enjoying at the cub. Some other midget clubs are ready to take them on but certainly not with the wages they are receiving at Arsenal and instead of these players to move on and salvage their football career, they are more interested in the money on offer at the Emirates and would rather stay put whether or not they play provided they still receive their handsome wages.
But the good thing is that we have some of them whose contract would be expiring in the summer (Squilacci, Bendtner, Chamakh, and Arshavin) and their exit would certainly reduce the club’s wage bill and allow the club to spend on more productive players without making the wage bill unsustainable. If our dream of having top notch players at the club in the summer must be a reality, we must be able to dangle an enticing carrot before them. The likes of Jovetic, Gotze, Amorboieta wouldn’t be interested in a move that doesn’t offer good financial incentive considering the fierce battle for the signature of the former duo and the Bossman availability of the latter.
Another issue is that of transfer market activity. Wenger has been for a long time an object of scorn for his refusal to spend big in the transfer market. While the shrewd Frenchman is not one to fritter cash, he has insisted that he is ever willing to spend big on the right players who have the extra-ordinary quality to improve the Gunners. He once admitted he would not shy away from signing Cristiano Ronaldo when quizzed if he would have sanctioned the move if he were the Real Madrid boss. If that is true, it stands to reason that Wenger’s refusal to splash the cash all these years has been due to financial constraint placed on him by the switch from Highbury to the Emirates.
But now that the Emirates debt has hugely reduced to and with Arsenal credited with enough money in the bank and with the media reporting that the Arsenal boss would be given a massive war chest of 70million Pounds. Firstly, I want to say that 70 million Pounds isn’t massive, how about a transfer war chest of 100million pounds. For a club that haven’t been buying but selling big, 100million pounds is what is required to turn the average Arsenal team to a true European challenger.
Wenger needs to beef up the squad from the goalkeeping section to the defence, the defensive midfield, on the wings and in the striking position. If the war chest is well spent and with a flexible wage structure which can accommodate marquee signings, I don’t see why Arsenal cannot move for either Cavani or Jovetic for the striking position ( I understand it may be difficult to get Cavani but we should be able to get Jovetic for 25m), a good Winger, a top notch defensive midfielder and 2 quality centre backs ( Hummels and Subotic would be good candidates for that role), an exceptional right back to replace Sagna and be a good tutor to upcoming star Jenkinson. Even for the goalkeeping position, Begovic and Migolet would be available for as little as 10M.