The undeniable truth is that Arsenal have been blatantly mismanaged for years, coincidentally, under the ownership of Stan Kroenke. The club was allowed to disintegrate on his watch and commence a slide into mediocrity to finance a stadium. At the time, Kroenke intimated that the stadium was needed to play at the top level but what he didn’t tell us was that he would allow Arsenal to become an average side comprised mainly of ordinary players.
The current position Arsenal final themselves in is similar to Manchester United after Sir Alex Ferguson decided he didn’t have enough energy to build yet another side that could compete at the highest level. Since then, managers have come and gone, average managers, well-respected figures and marquee names but the fortunes of the club have still significantly dipped. Unlike Manchester United, Arsenal haven’t spent the type of funds that the former Premier League champions have, which is reported to be around £800m.
Arsenal’s demise started before the stadium was even completed when they were identified as a selling club and instead of investing in a side worthy of playing in a world-class stadium, Kroenke penny-pinched for as long as he was allowed. It’s only in the last years of the Wenger era and last summer, that significant funds were made available but it’s all been reactive rather than proactive.
Arsenal haven’t had a plan for the past 12 years and have tripped from one disaster to the next including contract negotiations, bad investments or lack of investment. Kroenke again must accept the responsibility, although the day to day implosion of the club was in the hands of Ivan Gazidis, the former Arsenal CEO, who did rather nicely out of the chaos on a personal level.
Arteta should be able to count on Kroenke to make up to four significant purchases this summer. There’s no more time to wait after 18 failed and pointless months of Unai Emery.
Kroenke now has to put the funds in to prevent Arsenal from ending up in the second tier of the elite league. If not, Arsenal will only be in contention for a top ten slot because they are three, perhaps four seasons behind Liverpool and City and each year a new pretender emerges to threaten their position such as Leicester, Wolves or Sheffield United.
Martin Keown has suggested that Kroenke should show support for his coach by putting in cash from his own fortune and I don’t think that’s unreasonable. Perhaps unlikely, but not unreasonable. Even with the announcement of £27.1m in loses for the 2018/19 season, the former Arsenal defender called for funds:
“Mikel Arteta has got to be allowed to build the team,”
“He’s got to be given money to develop.”
“Do the owners need to be put some of their own money in? Obviously there are limits to the losses the club can run at, we know that with Manchester City in recent weeks and what they’ve gone through, but expenditure needs to be made in the team.”
“They need to strengthen the spine of the team. The midfield will need to be improved and so does the defense, the results tell you that.”
Who would disagree with him? No one! If Arsenal are to find success again, they need a substantial cash injection
over the next few years and I don’t think any supporter cares where it comes from.
Arteta has a job on his hands to generate cash from the sales of surplus players, but it shouldn’t be his responsibility to sell so that he can buy. The funds generated should offset the spending but Arsenal should forge ahead with their transfer plans and worry about the financial remuneration afterward.
Times running out. Spend now or move to a smaller stadium, where ambitions are moderate and there are no pressures to achieve.
Arsenal could become a ‘once famous but fallen club’ and also-ran, a club that serves up the odd shock result but not often enough to become a threat. It’s unpalatable but it could be a reality.