The simple reality is that COVID-19 will continue to have a lasting impact on the game and how football proceeds in the future but right now, the fans need to start looking at their expectations for their clubs.
Silverware and league positions seem less important at the moment with so much devastation to individuals and their families but as soon as this is over and it will be, football will open for business and hoping to reboot the multi-million-pound industry. However, clubs will be wary to invest initially, especially to the previous levels and its anyone’s guess if it will ever get back to the insanity of the multi-million-pound players.
As for Arsenal fans, after Arteta’s arrival, there was talk of at least four or five players entering through the Emirates doors, but this whole lock-down and loss of revenue has made each club like Manchester United or Chelsea look at its plans for the future.
Whether that is ground expansion, transfers or contract negotiations, those in charge will be looking to economise or make necessary savings over the next 12 to 18 months.
The uncertainty of COVID-19 may actually have one positive outcome, the death of the football agent. Perhaps, not total elimination of the species, but possibly a decrease in their numbers now that the bubble has burst.
Anyway, Arsenal fans will now have to accept that the North London club has had to streamline its summer spending plans and that could mean only one or two new players maximum. Arteta may even have to rely on the free market, his existing squad or Arsenal’s youngsters for the foreseeable future because the available cash will probably go elsewhere.
They could always sell before buying, there are quite a few surplus players in the squad but that’s only if the potential targets are substantially better. Failing that, there’s always the dreaded loan option which has given Arsenal a rather bloody nose every time they have chosen to pursue that particular option.
At the end of the day, fans can’t expect the club to automatically revert to their previous financial forecasts or spending projections with the Premier League campaign in the balance because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Not that this will trouble the anus tight Stan Kroenke, who would rather lose his Wife to a pack of marauding, sex-crazed Vikings than part with an unnecessary dollar. Stan must be snuggling up next to his wallet, whispering sweet nothings to it and caressing it like a semi-naked Bond girl.
Initial figures suggest Arsenal will lose £74.8m but it could get significantly worse and doesn’t include wages or refunds to season ticket holders. Sponsors may also look to trim their losses once the season returns and one can expect negotiations to get ugly over the coming six months or so.
Arsenal are fairly fortunate to be one of the leading ambassadors of the Premier League regardless of their current form and as such, the club will survive even if this season doesn’t go ahead. There’s a suggestion that this season will eventually be completed and after a brief interlude, commence again fairly quickly but surely that’s just too much football in a short space of time.
No one really knows how the FA is going to cram in two seasons in the remaining time available and with no sign of an immediate restart. It’s a logistical nightmare as all the governing bodies try to realign the football calendar in full, something has to give.
With the domestic game on the threshold of losing £1 billion as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the pressure to safely restart the remaining fixtures will increase and that will probably result in playing behind closed doors by the beginning of May.
Make no mistake, all Premier League clubs like Manchester United and Chelsea alike will be lobbying to start as early as is humanly possible. You won’t have to wait much longer for football but what sort of football will we see when we get the green light.
Stay safe. Stay tuned.