Arsenal announced £48m losses for the last financial year as the reality of bad deals and the pandemic hit home, with the North London club looking to find more savings in its operations, which could end in additional redundancies, including academy players.
Arsenal are the highest-profile club in the Premier League to be forced into rethinking its transfer strategy and its entire business model as it looks to find a stable financial footing. Arsenal have been the pioneer of the loan deal in the modern game going back to 2014 and the disastrous folly involving Kim Kallstrom.
Arsenal now appear to be a club that has to sell before it can buy and if it can’t buy, then it will enter into the costly loan business with the likes of Dennis Suarez, Dani Ceballos, and Martin Odegaard, all temporary passengers on the Arsenal express with deals that were made without any insertion of a clause to buy.
More worryingly, it’s being said that Arsenal may be considering a review of its academy and rumours persist that the club may be releasing players or selling off homegrown assets to finance the rebuilding of the first team in the summer.
If this is the case, it’s something Arsenal fans should be used to because some of us can recall the days when they used the academy as a talent pool only to sell to the highest bidder. Any such plans would meet with heavy resistance from supporters who are excited by the collection of hot prospects that Arsenal have managed to assemble over the last 13 years or so.
Followers may have to trust that Per Mertesacker has the final say so that a whole host of future stars aren’t lost to other clubs or to the game itself. There appears to be scant regard for the dashed dreams of youngsters who think they have a glittering career ahead of them only to find themselves abandoned and alone.
On that note, I hope to be talking to James Chiffi, CEO and founder of ‘Beyond The White Line and After The Game’, on the podcast about the kind of work his groups do in offering support to players after they are released or retire. Let’s hope these rumours regarding the academy are wide of the mark but there’s rarely smoke without fire.