The rivalry between Arsenal and Spurs has always been intense. A win in the North London Derby is always a special thing for either side, a higher league finish secures the bragging rights until the next season and a win on opposition soil that secures the title is something that Arsenal fans still dine out on regularly.
However, Arsenal’s dominance has ended in recent seasons as Spurs have inched slowly ahead with a enthusiastic manager and reasonably youthful, energetic side.
This is all old news of course, but Spurs appearance in the Champions League, higher finish in the Premier League and a completed billion pound stadium, have grabbed the headlines and turned the spotlight in the direction of White Hart Lane.
Tottenham’s chairman, Daniel Levy, seems to have made provision for every eventuality that Spurs could possibly face over a five year period and the move back to White Hart Lane was supposed to signal a period of austerity because that’s what happened to Arsenal, right ?
Wrong, Spurs still have the ability to compete in the transfer market and although in recent years they have been somewhat cash shy, this transfer window has seen the acquisition of Tanguy Ndombélé of Lyon for £54m and Jack Clarke from Leeds for £9.9m.
They have also challenged Arsenal for the signature of William Saliba from Saint Etienne for around £30m and are interested in another joint target in the shape of Real Madrid’s Dani Ceballos.
Arsenal on the other hand cant attract their preferred options because they can’t compete in the transfer market at the same level as Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Spurs and Chelsea.
Arsenal fans looking at the current transfer window are watching Spurs spend cash whilst wondering how they’ve managed to do what their club couldn’t.
It’s yet more evidence of the massive incompetence of Stan Kroenke and his band of appeasers, who couldn’t sell a umbrella in the rain. Kroenke’s reign continues to be the stuff of nightmares which has seen the club fall away from the top four.
Please don’t say that they ran close last term because they embarrassed themselves in the final third of the season with the usual failings and inadequacies.
The insult to injury would be that Arsenal get gazumped on the Saliba deal amid the stench of the Koscielny debacle and that the club is unable to secure the services of a couple of credible defenders.
To the untrained eye Arsenal are struggling to attract players to the club because of the absence of Champions League football and the possibility of a three year rebuilding project that will prevent them challenging for honours.
I remember the words of Arsenal’s head of football, Raúl Sanllehí when questioned if Arsenal could achieve their transfer targets. He said:
“We are a reference in the football world, so when Arsenal knocks on the door of players it’s a different knock than other clubs. Of course, the fact that we have not been in the Champions League for two years and we are in question marks now for the next year, that’s not helpful.”
“But again, the image of Arsenal is strong enough to help us build a case about all the model we are bringing up, the new era that we are bringing up. It’s very exciting. The passion of the coach that is projecting to the team, it’s seen by everybody in the football world”
“We have a lot to offer to a player. I don’t feel in disadvantage with anybody. The league, the Premier League, is exciting for any player in the world.”
“London, Arsenal, the history, the dimension of the club, the stadium, the facilities at Colney, the fanbase, the followers around the world and the exposure. Really, I feel like I have a lot of ammunition when I talk with players to engage them in our project.”
Yet, Arsenal are struggling on various fronts to rebuild, with just one addition to the squad in the form of Gabriel Martinelli. This inactivity in the transfer market has at least been offset by the news that a few of the academy players are to feature in the first team in the new season.
Eddie Nketiah, Emile Smith Rowe, Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson are all making the jump along with Freddie Ljungberg, but it’s still not enough to deflect from Arsenal’s defensive woes which only investment can solve.
Arsenal fans are divided more than ever and some of the criticism I’ve personally faced is about the constant negativity towards the club, which I feel is completely justified.
We have to question what happens behind the scenes, especially now Kroenke has complete control and isn’t accountable to anyone.