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Arsenal's prudent approach a template for others

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David Bond | 20:36 UK time, Friday, 13 August 2010

On the day Arsene Wenger revealed he was close to signing a new deal at Arsenal, the club's chief executive Ivan Gazidis reiterated his belief in the Frenchman's prudent philosophy of developing his own talent.

In an interview with the BBC, Gazidis paid tribute to Wenger's ability to manage on a smaller budget than their closest rivals and said that while the club was in good financial shape there were no plans to start spending what they couldn't afford on players.

Gazidis said: "You have transfer fees of £30 million to £40m being talked about as if it's monopoly money - it isn't and it's not sustainable for any football business. We can't and won't compete.

As the new season kicks off, Arsenal's prudent approach to spending is being copied at Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea. Each club have their own reasons for stemming the outflow of cash on transfers and wages but the big challenge they face at the start of this new Premier League season is from Abu Dhabi-owned Manchester City, who have spent just short of £100m on five players this summer.

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Ivan Gazidis says Arsenal will build, not buy success

Having moved to the Emirates Stadium four years ago, Arsenal now turn over more than £300m a year (including revenue from property sales) and made a pre tax profit of £35m last year. With figures like that it finally looked like the club's long-term strategy might be starting to pay off. Then the Manchester City takeover happened and the natural order was disrupted once again.

Arsenal believe that Uefa's new rules, which limit the amount owners can invest in their teams, will force more teams across Europe to come around to their way of thinking.

With American sports entrepreneur Stan Kroenke and Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov vying for control of the club (Kroenke currently is the biggest shareholder with 29% while Usmanov has 26%), there is always the possibility that Arsenal could follow their rivals into the hands of one wealthy owner. Maybe then the policy of self sustenance would change.

But Gazidis said: "I don't see anything dramatic happening with the ownership. Of course we are a public company and I manage the club and cannot control what happens with the ownership.

"But I don't sense there will be any changes and certainly all of our owners and the vast majority of our fans strongly support the custodian model we have."

To that end Arsenal will announce next week they are backing a new share scheme for supporters which will allow them to save towards owning their own shares in the club. Fans will be able to buy a specially issued share for £80. When they have 100 they will be able to own their own full share in the club for £8000, with all the voting rights that go with it.

In contrast to Chelsea - where all the shares are owned by Roman Abramovich - and Liverpool and Manchester United, where the supporters are disaffected with their American owners, the Arsenal approach is going down well with fans who now want a greater say in how their clubs are run.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    First?

    Thanks Arsene for staying!

  • Comment number 2.

    Second?

    Thanks Cesc for staying!

  • Comment number 3.

    third?

    thanks silvestre for going!

  • Comment number 4.

    fourth?

    thanks Chamakh for arriving

  • Comment number 5.

    Thanks NIlain Levroji for being our new goalkeeper

  • Comment number 6.

    Typical pro-Arsenal puff-piece.

    Five years and counting without a trophy, getting further and further from the top two and up to their eyeballs in debts, hardly counts as a 'success.'

  • Comment number 7.

    In comparison to the wealthy echelon of the league, Arsenal have managed to compete at a respectable level with a budget - according to Wenger at one point - easily mistakable for that of Newcastle United's or Tottenham's. In that sense the 'success' is obvious.

    However as a force Arsenal have slowly regressed in the same period as their rivals strengthen and their own big-named stars being tempted for greener pastures. If our position weakens either through other teams getting stronger or our best players leaving, then what will our finances be if we fail to drop out of Champions League spot? Former Chief Executive David Dean, and now Ivan Gazidis, as well as the Chairman have all publicly over the past few seasons tried to reassure fans that the club is financially prepared if we failed to qualify to Europe's premier competition for a year. But they said nothing on the question on whether or not we failed to qualify after that or on a consistent level.

    The Club is doing all it can but the reality is "we can't and won't compete" on the level that is being defined as the norm.

  • Comment number 8.

    #6

    You're right about the first, wrong about the second (we've been in the title race for significant periods in 2007/08 and 2009/10, an imporvement on the distance from the top 2 in previous years) and wrong about the third (our debt is below £200million, an amount that's perfectly manageable for a club of our financial stature).

    1/3.

  • Comment number 9.

    Arsenal needs a solid DM, a world class CD, an excellemt GK & a change of tactics/game plan in certain matches (not the regular all out attack) to win the premiership else..

  • Comment number 10.

    Much as silverware would be nice every season, I'd rather have a club in excellent financial shape. Plus if we won something every single season then it would take the challenge and desire out of being a supporter and replace it with mere expectation (chelski and mu)

    Hugo Lloris in goal would be nice but I guess Schwarzer is the cheaper option, plus a diarra or a sissoko to beef up midefield. Shame Balotelli went to mc since I reckon he'd have done well for us, but I suppose after Chamakh another forward would be excessive.
    Definitely backing mc for something this season on that note, hopefully finish higher than united in any case :p

  • Comment number 11.

    Rhinestonecatboy:

    Are you related to to dumb and dumber? You'd be the third in the trio ...dumbest.

    Point 1. I challenge you to find anywhere on mainstream British media, a pro-Arsenal "puff-piece" as you call it. I doubt any of the so-called big four enjoy a more tempestuous and accusation riddled life as Arsenal currently do. The club is even blamed for the faults of the English international side, despite helping the English FA off field like no other club can or is able to with training facilities and providing the best medical staff etc to the FA.

    Daily, they are slagged off and ridiculed on Sky, Talksport, The Daily Mail etc etc. Some criticism is justified. Most, like your comments, are complete trash.

    Point 2. How does finishing fourth, then fourth again, then last year third become getting further and further from the top two? Is basic maths beyond you? (Indeed it seems to be - look at point 3). Incidentally within the last two years, despite kopping a few hidings, we have beaten United quite convincingly at the Emirates in the league and Chelsea at The Bridge. Again hardly getting further and further away.

    Point 3. "Up to their eyeballs in debt"...4 years ago Arsenal borrowed £350m to build the Emirates Stadium. Now 4 years later, we owe just £200m. Our interest payments have come down from £35m per season to just over £16m per season. Our turnover (stop me if complicated maths is hurting your head) has increased from approx £150m at Highbury to over £300m now at the Emirates. Even someone with as little financial nous as you can see that this means Arsenal are able to live extremely comfortably within their means and have a sound platform for financial stability well into the future. Increase revenue by £150m and pay £16m a season..hmmm...seems like a dream!! Whereas the likes of Manchester United owe close to £700m and have spiralling interest costs. This, despite them having excellent earning power, hamstrings to a large degree, hence not so many big signings this past year or two, even though they were beaten to the title by Chelsea, would this have happened in years gone by? Never. Liverpool are £350m in debt and still need to borrow yet more to build a stadium. Chelsea owe Abramovich £700m which they will never payback. Fine... all well and good but the financial model there is unsustainable, Chelsea have not made a real profit in donkey's years..

    So, overall the picture is very bright for Arsenal Football Club. The fans, 98% in any event, are extremely happy with the way the club is run. Indeed it seems there are more football fans outside the club who seem to be more concerned about how we are run. I am happy to put you straight on a few things OR if you wish, you can remain in total ignorance as you obviously do at the moment. Up to you.

  • Comment number 12.

    I think rvp1968 at number 11 makes a good, detailed point about Arsenal's finances in relation to their Premier League rivals. One interesting detail that needs to be made clear is the nature of the debt that Arsenal, United, and Liverpool find themselves in.

    Arsenal's debt is due to financing their new stadium, which has been built and is proving to be financially rewarding. Because they planned this project out, they got a responsibile, sustainable, and competitive loan from a nice bank.

    United and Liverpool's debt has been thrust upon them by their owners who exploited corporate laws regarding debt and ownership. Essentially, they are in debt because they had to buy themselves. Their loans were quickly set up in order to expedite a hostile takeover and as a result, those clubs must now live under the looming shadow of volatile debt and interest.

    Another point for people who wonder when Arsenal's big-money signing will arrive (I admit, I used to be one of them) need to realise that just because Arsenal have the profits to afford a large tranfer fee, does not mean they can afford a bloated wage structure. Ask anyone at Barcelona how that works out and they'll tell you that it doesn't and that you end up having to take out a 9-figure loan just to cover basic expenses, like wages! Anyone who has played Football Manager knows that buying players is one thing, paying them is another!

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    I'm afraid this is incompatible with Wenger's utterances about the Home Grown Rule. Which he has adhered to for a decade, with the important corollary that 'Home Grown' = French, not English.......I know his optician is not his friend, but this is indisputable.......ad if he tries to challenge that, all respect must disappear whe addressing him in the media.....

    Community work alongside a focus on importing French 'talent' on millions paid for by predominantly English supporters, is a bung, not genuine bonding with local fans. Import the best, yes, but not journeyman mercenaries, please.......

    I agree with Wenger about England needing a change in coaching culture amongst youth, but I am tired of his spouting' internationalism' as a front for the English subsidising the growth of the French national team..........any more than I would pay money to watch a team called 'England' containing the Spaniard Mikel Arteta......if he has a son born here, that is different in 15 years time.......if he stays......which I doubt he will beyond his playing days..........

    I would not appreciate Wenger being awarded a new contract if it is not the number one precondition of his continued tenure that his role as the French Ambassador in London is not compatible with being the manager of Arsenal Football Club........thereby laying down a marker that inculcated prejudice to promote the French is racism........and as we all know, football is unanimous in its desire to 'Kick out Racism', isn't it?

  • Comment number 15.

    Arsenal needs a solid DM, a world class CD, an excellemt GK & a change of tactics/game plan in certain matches (not the regular all out attack) to win the premiership else..
    ____________________________________________________

    No sir. Arsenal are not built to win the PL. That is not part of the plan, but no one will complain if they walked into it. Arsenal are made for a top 4 position, and in that respect, they are extraordinarily successful. They meet their targets spot on every year.
    If Arsenal want to do better, what they need is a cynical game. Simple as that. They need to have a specially designated player a la Mikel or Fletcher who fouls the opposition player as soon as Arsenal lose the ball in the opposition third, not in midfield, in the final third. Arsenal need to foul more often to break up play as soon as they lose the ball.

  • Comment number 16.

    From a finance point of view the "£300m a year (including revenue from property sales)" is a little confusing.

    While it has helped to reduce Arsenal's debt, their long term profitability would be a lot clearer if somebody could give the figure with all the one off items taken off the balance sheet.

    Arsenal's commitment to financial sustainability, though, is very admirable.

    With a reliable goalkeeper they would have the team to challenge for the title.

  • Comment number 17.

    Just another repeat of what we all know, the board and manager lost any ambition to compete about titles and slowly, but steadily drifting from the top.

    An annual tranfer budget of 30 to 40m should be the least a club of Arsenal`s stature can afford. Neither that sort of money is made available, nor is the manager able and willing to address the obvious shortcommings in the squad.

    Another season without improving or achieving anything is around the corner. Wenger signing a new deal to prop up his pension so he can bore us non believers for more years to come taling up our non existing chances.

    The usual much talk and ado about nothing. More players eager to leave in the near future looking for clubs with ambition.

  • Comment number 18.

    No sir. Arsenal are not built to win the PL. That is not part of the plan, but no one will complain if they walked into it. Arsenal are made for a top 4 position, and in that respect, they are extraordinarily successful. They meet their targets spot on every year.
    If Arsenal want to do better, what they need is a cynical game. Simple as that. They need to have a specially designated player a la Mikel or Fletcher who fouls the opposition player as soon as Arsenal lose the ball in the opposition third, not in midfield, in the final third. Arsenal need to foul more often to break up play as soon as they lose the ball.
    ----------------------
    Cynical as that comment maybe and the purists will disagree with you the facts would indicate that you are perhaps correct. 62 red cards between 1996 and 2004 coincided with our most succesful period. Since 2005 Arsenal have always been in the top four in the fair play league receiving only 11 red cards in all competitions and also won nothing.

    Not sure what any of that has to do with our financial situation though?

  • Comment number 19.

    Gazidis said: "You have transfer fees of £30 million to £40m being talked about as if it's monopoly money - it isn't and it's not sustainable for any football business. We can't and won't compete.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Since when were run not as a club but as a business?

    Pre-04 we still made some signings without breaking the bank, for example Henry, Wiltord, Pires , Gilberto etc

    I think whats most fustrating for the supporters is that we have the same manager as we did when we won the league and FA cup so many times so why couldn't Wenger reproduce some of this success at any stage in the last 5 years?

    Buying an experienced keeper such as Shay Given for 8m would seem as a very prudent investment with a good return (league winners/second finish or FA cup winners).
    Even if he is injury prone Almunia is not a bad no. 2. Why Wenger or the Arsenal board cannot spend small amounts on players which would undoubtly strenghten the squad is beyond me.

  • Comment number 20.

    My oh my, we have some worrying uneducated folk on here! Premier League clubs, in fact all professional clubs are I'm afraid first and foremost a business and the objective season in, season out is to make a profit for your owners, or at least to grow the value of their shareholdings. That said, sports club have a historical "fan" base which is were the emotions come in, the desire to win trophies, to beat your competitors etc. I am a massive Arsenal fan, but have accepted over recent years that the objectives of the club are changing and whilst I admire Wenger and Co for all they have done, the reality is that the club no longer belongs to North London and its fan base. I will always follow with passion how the team do, but the reality is that "park football" is were the real fans and football is being played....

  • Comment number 21.

    @11

    "I doubt any of the so-called big four enjoy a more tempestuous and accusation riddled life as Arsenal currently do. The club is even blamed for the faults of the English international side..."

    -----

    So true. Ridiculous really, when you consider Arsenal are probably as virtuous a club can get in football these days. As for the national side, the culture and philosophy of football in England has to change before you can expect managers to be blackmailed into fielding English players. In England it's all "let's hoof the ball" and "let's hoof the opposition", two philosophies which could be considered the polar opposite of what Arsene has instilled at Arsenal.

    As for all the talk of the Big Four (three let's be honest) becoming a Big Two, that's only taking into account the performances in the league, because no one is writing off Man City in the coming years and Arsenal look good. In terms of power, those two clubs look to be very much in touch with Man U and Chelsea.

  • Comment number 22.

    #14

    I'm not sure what you mean by racism. Wenger is famed for bringing in players for their ability, not their nationality or mercenary skills. If English players want to be chosen, they need to improve their skill set and bring their over inflated prices down.

    He has also planned long term by breeding new talent into the squad from the academy. This is only starting to come into fruition with some very promising English talent. Walcott, Wilshire and Gibbs have broken into the England squad with some more on the way in the up coming years.

    So, where is the pro-French slant here?

  • Comment number 23.

    Yer nuts mate! What has Winger won in all his years with ArsEnel (ooops Arsenal)? an Fa cup and i believe one EPL... Rafa won a lot more in less years at 'Pool and he was branded (unjustified) as a poor manager.

    Sure winger can recognize and polish talent but truely develop? How many players has he brought through the ranks that played atleast 3 years in the youth team????? Rafa bought mainly Spanish speakers and Winger buys Frenchies with a crap mentality (Henry, Anelka, Viera, ...). He would make an excellent director of a youth academy.

  • Comment number 24.

    @22 Walcott was BOUGHT from Cardiff how has Arsenal developed him???????

  • Comment number 25.

    @ 24 Walcott was actually bought from Southampton, but nice try... Aaron Ramsey came from Cardiff.

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    Munsters rebel:
    "Yer nuts mate! What has Winger won in all his years with ArsEnel (ooops Arsenal)? an Fa cup and i believe one EPL... Rafa won a lot more in less years at 'Pool and he was branded (unjustified) as a poor manager.
    Sure winger can recognize and polish talent but truely develop? How many players has he brought through the ranks that played atleast 3 years in the youth team????? "
    ........................................................................

    Oh dear...You don't seem to have the hang of this ..do you? Prepare to look rather silly..
    Point 1.
    Arsene Wenger has won 3 Premierships, 4 FA Cups, 2 doubles, Had 2 (unique) unbeaten away seasons, 4 charity/community shields, a unique unbeaten season, and been manager of the year 3 times. A UEFA Cup final, a Champions League final. Quite obviously alot more than Rafa Benitez.
    Point 2.
    Sit down...and read a list of players who have come through to play first team football for Arsenal after playing 3 years at youth and then reserve level with Arsenal..(by the way you cant play youth football for 3 years normally, because then you move onto the reserves after signing professional terms at 17 or 18) Some of these players are still with the club, some have moved to other teams since. A small selection for you of players who have come through at least 3 years of youth then reserve football before playing for the first team. Enjoy:

    Ashley Cole.............Now Chelsea.......Full England international
    Jeremie Aliadiere.......Middlesbrough.....French under 21 International
    Nicklas Bendtner........Arsenal...........Full Denmark international
    Jack Wilshere...........Arsenal...........Full England international
    Vito Mannone............Arsenal...........Italian under 21 International
    Fran Merida......Atletico Madrid..17,18,19 & under 21 Spain international
    Sanchez Watt............Arsenal...........On loan Leeds united..Eng u21's
    Theo Walcott............Arsenal...........Full England international.
    David Bentley...........Arsenal...........Full England international.
    Jermaine Pennant........Real Zaragoza.....English u21 international
    Justin Hoyte............Middlesbrough.....English u21 international
    Steve Sidwell...........Aston Villa.......English u21 international
    Graham Stack............Hibernian.........Rep of Ire u21 international
    Stuart Taylor...........Man City..........English u21 international
    Gael Clichy.............Arsenal...........Full French International
    Kieron Gibbs............Arsenal...........Full England International
    Seb Larsson.............Birmingham........Full Swedish international
    Fabrice Muamba..........Bolton Wdrs.......English u21 international
    Alex Song...............Arsenal...........Full Cameroon international
    Anthony Stokes..........Hibernian.........Full Rep of Ire international
    Abou Diaby..............Arsenal...........Full French international
    Armand Traore...........Arsenal...........French u21 international
    Jay Simpson.............Arsenal...........English u21 international

    These are the ones off the top of my head and I'm pretty sure if I went further back pre-2000 I could think of more.

    I would expect you to feel rather foolish now...but as you were so spectacularly wrong in the first place on every point you make, perhaps I'm expecting too much...

  • Comment number 28.

    RVP1968

    That clutch of players you have mentioned, donubseriousky believe that is a group of quality players. out of those. had listed I would only count 4 or 5 who would be good enough to play in a team that could compete for say a top 4 spot of which half of them have moved on. the rest have slipped down he ranks or have been moved on. For a club that realise on a philosophy of buying them young and training them up to supposedly create a a team that is good enough to continually challenge for the premier league it does jot or has not seemed to work. Arsenals  current way of operating does not seem to be one that will bring them silverware. one half of it is an admirable way of managing a club but the other half is like a shackle that prevents them from reaching q higher level. the reluctance to or pay for established quality is sometimes baffling and can only be put down to wengers stubbornness not to deviate from the philosophy that has manifested over the last decade. it's nearly ten years since arsenal were in their peak with one of the greatest teams that has played in the premier league, they should of moved through the tranisitional period a long time ago and at the moment they do not look any closer to winning anything significant. one of the reasons they have slightly improved their league position is not through the team improving but rather this around u slipping down (Liverpool). I cannot believe for one aegis eithe that you can convince people that beating the top four in a season is a replacement for winning the trophies. I can't think of any fan who would take beating Chelsea and man u in a match over say the prem league title.
    Looking at the team now u have some quality yet they often so not hang around. are tempted by other clubs who are winning things and these players are replaced with unpolished players who have a lot to prove. the same holes still remain that have been ther for years, keeper, defence, defensive midfield. and until these positions are addressed there is litle chance of arsenal becoming a serious team again. wenger promised a trophy last season I can still remember watching the interview, he guaranteed that side would do it, but they fell short and if u look at the teams this year I don't think u can say it's a significant improvement, the players who have come in are totally unproven, the 24 y/o French defender who nobody has heard of, chamakh who has a pretty poor scoring record at French club level, but with experience defenders leaving and no replacements and still a trio of poor keepers it's not looking like arsenal are any where near that great team of the turn of the century. Unless I'm missing something it doesn't seem like Aresenal are a model for progression in the slightest. financial stability is one thing but can the fans really say they prefer a club with brilliant accounting records over one that is winning trophies season after season

  • Comment number 29.

    AW is bad news for Arsenal coz operates it as a money making business not Football.
    The wy it goes even w the loss of 4 defenders and a big holes in Contral D, he is not bying any, and for get GK either. Last year for the 1st time all top clubs in EPL beat us home and away, and this year it will be worse !!! trust me. We the fans have to buycot gim and until owners get rid of him. No other choice coz he works for them not us the fans.

  • Comment number 30.

    Some comments have said that Arsenal have regressed in recent years as other rivals like Man City have gone ahead...

    2009/2010 Season
    Pos Team Pts
    1 Chelsea 86
    2 Man Utd 85
    3 Arsenal 75
    4 Totnham 70

    2008/2009 Season
    Pos Team Pts
    1 Man Utd 90
    2 Leverpool 86
    3 Chelsea 83
    4 Arsenal 72

    So in the last two seasons Arsenal improved their final league position and their total points scored while spending almost no money on players. I see no top 4 finishes yet for Man City despite putting themselves into enormous financial debt.

  • Comment number 31.

    Knock Arsenal all you want and I am not a supporter of them but I think in the next 3 years Arsenal will have 4 of the most gifted of English talent playing for England with more to follow on the conveyor belt of talent that they produce. I only wish that my club was run on the same lines. To keep a team in the top four on minimal outlay as Wenger has done makes him the best manager in the Premier League by a mile even taking into consideration the lack of trophys in recent years but I also believe that as the team matures they will get their opportunity to update their trophy cabinet.

  • Comment number 32.

    Sssspursss..
    "That clutch of players you have mentioned, donubseriousky believe that is a group of quality players. out of those. had listed I would only count 4 or 5 who would be good enough to play in a team that could compete for say a top 4 spot"
    ........................................................................
    Four or Five?? Ha ha...EIGHT of those players have played regularly in an Arsenal team that HAS FINISHED IN A TOP 4 PLACE!! Every single one of them is an international player or their age has dictated that they are still under 21 players. Although 5 of them became full internationals whilst teenagers!!


    Ssspurssss..
    "It's nearly ten years since arsenal were in their peak with one of the greatest teams that has played in the premier league"
    ........................................................................
    Its six seasons..not ten....!!


    Ssspursss..
    "I cannot believe for one aegis eithe that you can convince people that beating the top four in a season is a replacement for winning the trophies."
    .......................................................................
    Where have I said that? I want trophies too..But I dont think its nearly as bad a situation as most make out. My post was to point out to some previously ill-informed poster the error of his words. As it seems I am now doing to you.


    Ssspursss..
    "chamakh who has a pretty poor scoring record at French club level"
    .......................................................................
    16 goals last year!! He cost us NOTHING!! Hmmm...


    Ssspursss..
    "Unless I'm missing something it doesn't seem like Aresenal are a model for progression in the slightest. financial stability is one thing but can the fans really say they prefer a club with brilliant accounting records over one that is winning trophies season after season"
    .......................................................................
    I'm glad you acknowledge Arsenal's financial superiority and better governance of virtually every other club in the premiership but you are a rather blinkered by the 5 year thing...looked at from the last decade, which is a far more balanced point of view, Arsenal have had three 2nd place finishes, won two premierships, a double, 3 FA Cups, an unbeaten "invincible" league season, a Champions League final, a losing league cup final and a FA Cup final. Hardly bereft of success..and compares more than favourably with Chelsea and Liverpool who between them have literally spent hundreds and hundreds of millions more to achieve a similar amount of success or alot less......

  • Comment number 33.

    Very relevant article.
    Let's face it; Arsenals failure to win trophies these last few years is down to the fact that they wont buy expensive superstars and pay them inflated wages, They have built a stadium to ensure good gate revenue for years to come and good performances in the EPL and Champions league have generated worthwhile income and continued worldwide recognition- which means some nice merahandise and TV money.

    But w ith the other top teams having to scale back Arsenal can 'cash in' on the investment made at Ashburton Grove and within the youth team for the next few years.
    However there is always going to be a problem when a young talent reaches his potential and is offered more money at another club. Cesc almost went thsi summer and may go the next. What will happen when Ramsay, Wilshere or any of the up and coming young guns reach maturity? Will Arsenal sell to the highest bidder to maintain their good income to debt ratio? Or can they hold on and create a dynasty that might dominate the next 5-7 years?
    Personally I hope it is the latter. These last few years have been entertaining but ultimately fruitless. I believe Arsenal are one or two players away from finalising a Europe dominating team. When the wage and transfer fee craziness abates ( i.e. when Citeh fail) and players learn that they cannot demand unreasonable money then perhaps the team will stay together and win it all.

  • Comment number 34.

    all I can say is , our massive investment and long term aspirations will make it an intersting afternoon next Saturday at the emirates Emporium.

    While we come down expecting a hiding,

    some of the Premier League Clubs false expectations and superiority complexes, extends through to the players you laud and worship.

    ........so just watch out,as our guys have points to prove, not salaries to justify.....

  • Comment number 35.

    As much as I would like Arsenal to win something I am happy that they are being run correctly.

    Take away the big money men who have bought into several Premier clubs and you will have a lot of clubs who will not be able to pay the huge wages that they are paying now. Make no mistake the rules will change and this will happen in the next five years.

    In a few years time football will hit a credit crunch like we have had in the UK. Then people will be saying we didn't see this coming. Well it is.

  • Comment number 36.

    rr

  • Comment number 37.

    You make excellent points RVP1968. Lets hope we can continue to do the same. Hopefully Wenger will losen the purse strings a little bit so we can get a good goalkeeper and also another central defender. Maybe a double but from Fulham with Hangeland and Schwarzer.

    I feel if we don't get extra strength in those positions then we won't win anything this year.

    Don't forget to mention how well our womans team has done over the years as well!!

  • Comment number 38.

    @33 cliveeta: The fact that CF didnt leave Arsenal is a sign that whatever Arsenal is doing is starting to pay off.

    think of it: Barcelona can't cough up the money anymore and Arsenal doesnt really need the money...

    plus they get to keep an awesome player with more future and promise than the current aging and debt ridden chelsea / man utd teams combined.

  • Comment number 39.

    wow.....so interesting to follow the debate.i am sure the gunners will have its day in a very near future.

  • Comment number 40.

    Yes, Cesc didnt leave but Flamini did go after the money. He is/was possibly the player Arsenal could have done with the last 2 years but the Arsenal board refused his high wage demands ( Cashley too) and as he didnt have the loyalty that Fabregas has, he went.
    I have the feeling that at Barca Cesc might not have been guaranteed first team footie and that might have made a difference too.
    Plus the ( surprising) fact that Barca are not as well off as we all thought as you pointed out.

  • Comment number 41.

    Don't be fooled. Look at our teams of 1998, 2002 and 2004. A good blend of youth with experience. Arsene Wenger is a great manager, most of all, he is a great spin doctor. He had to build a sustainable model for 4-5 seasons once the financial aspects of the Grove took hold. So Arsene sold us the future, and sold it, and sold it some more. He said that, these kids will be great, it bought him time, and it bought him success.

    What success you may ask? 60,000 fans seated in the stadium each match, bringing in £2m in revenue per game. Success off the pitch.

    To those who think football is solely about winning, yes it is, when you are in the park, but once it becomes a business things get complicated. The financial team becomes just as important as the 11 on the pitch. If you disagree, just look at Portsmouth. They could have easily been FA cup winners and liquidated all in one season.

    A shoe string budget and top 4 finishes throughout the financial constraints, not to mention the setup of a youth accademy which, has contributed vastly to the league. As he said, we now have money to spend. Lets see what he does.

  • Comment number 42.

    Yeah Wenger's prudent approach has done wonders.....a half decade of mediocrity.

  • Comment number 43.

    @ PrisonerSixofOne

    How many other "Big" clubs would take this apparent 5 years of mediocrity?

    Once the debt is paid off, how much money will Arsenal have to spend on players every single year? Good thing is we won't need them as the current youth prospects will be ready to rule the League, and the National side

  • Comment number 44.

    Well a healthy debate no doubt with all the usual views expressed, but I don't see much mediocrity on the pitch. Over the last 5 so called unsuccessful seasons I have seen some outstanding football that has been great to watch, I have at times heard notable football commentators and ex players espousing the virtues of the way we play the game. Sure we have not quite had the package to hold it together for a full season or make it all the way through the lottery of a cup run but I for one have loved every minute of it and will be back in my seat for another year of it for sure.

    Lighten up you lot, less talk of money, Arsenal are a great team to support and a fantastic team to watch, that's plenty to keep me happy!

    Enjoy the season...

  • Comment number 45.

    I'm from Australia, with very little media coverage on the EPL, I get most of my updates from the BBC website - so if I make mistakes it is because of the BBC.

    Wenger is the best manager in the EPL.
    Continuously qualifying for the Champions League is a fantastic result.
    We all want to win trophies at the end of the season - but Arsenal is still a very young squad with some sensational talents coming through.
    Wilshere, Gibbs, Walcott, Frimpong and Thomas are all English not to be forgotten.
    I think the simple fact that English players are overvalued for their skill set is why Wenger looks to the French players and French leagues for players a lot of the time.
    Robert Pires 6 million pounds was a relative bargain for a player of his calibre.
    Thierry Henry, 10 million pound, we all know what he was capable of.
    Then you look at Kenwyne Jones - transferred for 8 million pounds.
    The transfer market is too expensive for mediocre players. Why not ship in cheap (or free - Chamakh) players?

    The red cards .vs. winning trophies is an interesting point. Vieira (3.5m pounds) was arguagly the best DM in the world while Arsenal was at their peak. I'm not certain of how many red cards he was responsible for himself, but I know that he did perform that role of putting in a challenge to break up the opposition play when we lost the ball. I think Alex Song needs to show that he can play in a Vieira style and I was really encouraged from what I saw last season.

    Undoubtedly we need a rock solid CD, and hopefully a world class shot stopper. The best clubs in the world have the best goalkeepers. Almunia does a respectable job considering how fragile the Arsenal defence looked at times during the last few seasons. If Tony Adams, Martin Keown and Vieira were still running around together in front of Almunia, Almunia might be held in a lot higher regard.


    I would be happy to see Arsenal finish in the top 4. Get some more games into the youngsters coming through. Rosicky should be in the starting XI in my opinion. He wants the ball going forward, he goes past players, runs into dangerous positions, excellent cross and through ball - when he came on against Liverpool Rosicky was clearly the best player on the ground. Could have gotten the equaliser if Reina hadn't made a great save.
    All in all - there is no point having a club if you can't afford to run it. Anyone hear what happened at Portsmouth?

  • Comment number 46.

    isn't it high time we saw some real results coming from this current policy at arsenal.for the longest time he's made great almost been teams and honestly speaking that doesn't count for anything.it wont hurt him to get a couple of big names into the team,it's important coz they bring mental strength and self belief to the team,thats something thats been lacking at arsenal for some time now.

  • Comment number 47.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 48.

    Lets have a look at Arsenals situation, Premier League giant, talent powerhouse, one of the biggests and busiest stadiums in the country, fairly lucartive sponsorships and perhaps not too relevant as a trait due to the views we have on foreign ownership two billionaires wanting to buy the club. I dont think im distorting anything much when i say its not too much to ask a club like this as a fan after 5 years to spend some of this money on talent who is not gonna get sick of mediocracy after working their socks off for a team who every year loose depth and replace it with academy graduates. Lets face it the Arsenal youth should be given a chance but you need 11 players who can play at the highest level when you want to see off the mid table teams and as for the top 5 (not inc Arsenal) then your looking for the best of the best as good as Arsenals prospects are you cant expect them to fill in the gaps left by Gilberto, Gallas, Toure and Adebayor. Im not arguing the popularity of these players but no Arsenal fans can say Bendtner or Djourou or Coquelin are better than those who left for whatever reason.

    I want to draw attention to Arsenals prudency, EVERY club can be prudent this is a FACT. But every club asseses their spending on the basis of where they want to be, for Arsenal youve built a new stadium and you need to pay of your debts to that but prudency doesnt mean not signing an established player because you need to pay off your loans if that was the case all premier league clubs would have to buy ligue 1 players. What im getting at is prudency is investing the 40 odd million you got from the sale of Toure and Adebayor to at least get cover for Van Persie (frankly i feel the championship is even too good for Bendtner) because when you have Rooney and Drogba scoring 30 goals a season you need a striker whos gonna get you more than 12 goals to be in contention to be champions.

    And, Id like to draw attentions to the assumption that Arsenal actually want to be champions because i refuse to believe Wenger believes his squad is sufficiently packed with enough experience and ready talent to be serious contenders. In that respect they have done a spectacular job keeping their champions league spots and lets not take anything away from Wenger for definetly making the most of talent he has but its not helpful for a youth player who feels he must either be a very very exciting prospect to excel or resign to being shown the door it gives players very little freedom and you constantly have to try and match yourself up to the likes of walcott and fabregas and clichy to achieve that. Its not a healthy environment to excel, there maybe those of you who think that ridiculous but its a very different learning experience growing up training with players like Bergkamp, Henry, Viera, Keown, Gilberto and Jens Lehmann compared to playing with players like Diaby, Arshavin, Almunia, Bendtner, Sagna and thats where i think the missing link in Arsenals youth system lies and ultimately because of the 'prudency'.

  • Comment number 49.

    correction League one*

  • Comment number 50.

    arsenal cor life. given and squillaci plus the current squad=success.

  • Comment number 51.

    One might think theres is a massive smear campaign on arsenal for the last couple of years, a huge effort to convince arsenal that they are not good enough to win and dont spend enough money. Why does Arsene have to defend himself every week, why is Almunia being castrated every week(i know he isnt the top keeper in europe, but jesus christ).I can go on....but funk it.
    good luck boys, going to take some serious mental strength to win the title and ill be supporting every game

 

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