Re: Wenger and the Board at Loggerheads Exclusive
22 August, 2011 12:33
I think the one mistake that people have been and are making is in the assumption that things are absolute. That Chelsea came in and bought their way to trophies and assumed 'big club' status, which they did, is undeniable, although the latter is true only insofar as they have an owner with almost unlimitless funds, football wise. Arsene Wenger knew that we could not compete against this model and therefore took an almost diametrically opposite view and acted accordingly. Long-term, new stadium, organic growth, sustainable business model etc. Abramovich instructed Kenyon to have Chelsea breaking even (on a seasonal basis) by 2010. Complete pie in the sky. However, it appeared Abramovich did have some effect, as they had only posted a £43m loss in 2010 (I think).
If things had remained the same, the fact that we hardly had a pot to p*ss in from 2003 onwards, and hadn't won a pot to p*ss in from 2005 until 2009 wouldn't have mattered. Success would have followed, without us having to make signings for Berbatov money. However, with the advent of the Middle Eastlands takeover, the landscape totally changed.
From the transfer market settling down in relative terms, apart from one or two big money signings, it was blown apart by ManCiteh who have spent fortunes on players, paying twice their worth for many of them, just as Chelsea did when Abramovich saved them first from liquidation and then went on his spending spree.
Probably more important than the transfer fees themselves are the wages that go with it. Do you think for a minute David Silva, Tevez or Yaya Toure would have gone there if they hadn't been offered £180k to £220k pw as is largely accepted they do earn? Who was it who said the other day that on top of that ManCiteh are paying the £1m yearly rent on Toure's house?
So what have Chelsea and ManU done in response? Straight out of the window have gone the improved good housekeeping money rules and straight into spend spend spend keep up with the Arabs mode. What other business could announce the equivalent of signing two players for a combined cost of £73m while on the same day announce a yearly loss of £70m as Chelsea did? On top of that Torres is quite likely to be earning a basic of approaching £8m per year and Luiz another £5m. They have signed an unproven 18 year old for £18m and are after Modric for £30m and appear to be signing Mata for another £30m or so. ManU have signed £55m worth of players, two of which are relatively unproven and are prepared to pay £35m for Schneider.
While the rest of the World and its economies go to sh*t, football clubs are going mad.
When UEFA announced it's FFP initiative, everyone was in agreement (including UEFA) that Arsenal, above all other top clubs was in the best position as the best run, most self-sustaining club.
Now it appears, and I hope I am completely wrong, that the rules are not worth the paper they are written on.
These are the changing scenarios that Arsene Wenger and Arsenal have to put up with.
1) To attract new players of top quality, the parasite agents demands for extortionate wages have to be satisfied. 2) To attract new players of top quality, the selling clubs inflated prices have to be met.
3) To keep top players, see 1) above.
Do we swim with the prevailing tide and give in to these demands or do we battle on against them in the vain hope that someone, somewhere will seize power and take a stand against the greed and corruption amongst officials, owners, agents and players?
If it's the former, where does the money come from? Stan won't fund it, so do we just raise ticket prices or raise the money from the issue of a bond scheme. Or any of the other ways that ManU have done to keep up with ManCiteh and Chelsea on the spending front and try to catch up with the debt laden Barcelona on the playing front?
Wenger wants 'super quality' players. The Board won't, it seems, pay the fee and wages price. Wenger doesn't want to pay over the odds for squad players. We want players in. Anyone it seems. Any signing.
I want players in to improve our match day squad and be excellent replacements for the many injuries and spurious sendings off we incur, which are seemingly inevitable. If we signed Cahill, Jagielka or Samba are they going to displace TV5 or Kos? Not in my opinion. So why spend so much of the transfer and wages budget on overpriced reserves? Do we need an attacking central midfielder of top quality? Yes. Should we pay what is necessary? Yes. Should it have been Mata? Probably, from what I've heard about him. Do we need a centre forward like a Benzema? Yes. Do we need a reasonably priced, experienced centre half not in Squillaci mould? Yes.
But it all costs money. We have some, but when, as we well know, other clubs follow what players we are looking at and have the capability to offer twice what we can, whether wage wise or transfer fee wise, or both, because money means nothing to them, then what chance do we have?
It's all very well saying sack the Board, but who is the Board? Stan Kroenke is the Board. Just him. No-one else matters. Whose going to sack him? Himself? Why doesn't he pay off what remains of our debt and just pay himself back over the same period, interest free? And when he sells Arsenal in the future, have an agreement that he is paid back the balance in full by the new owner? That would release more funds for use on the playing side. Why won't he do this? Because it's not in his interests to, that's why. He's got billions at his disposal potentially from the Wal-Mart empire, but have we seen a bean on the playing side? No, because it's not in his interests.
The way it is currently I'm afraid, what with Liverpool one day getting it right having spent loads of money with debt seeming to be just an occupational minor inconvenience, is that unless our youth policy comes up trumps we are facing a future watching other clubs buy success without giving it a thought while we watch great football without trophies to show for it.
Maybe there is method in Wenger's apparent madness in signing AOC, Ryo, Campbell and Jenkinson, as he sees the writing on the wall and that buying players young is the only option.