It’s that time of the year again: David Ornstein’s time.
The BBC journalist’s click through rate goes through the roof during transfer crazy season and it sounds like he’s been wheeled out again, from some of the rumblings I’ve heard, not many of them good.
I don’t have any links because I think what he said was on radio, but according to the ever-reliable Ornacle, we have a paltry budget of £40million to spend this summer. If true it is a damming indictment of the previous management of Arsenal Football Club.
I get that we want to be a ‘self sustaining’ club. It’s admirable amongst the financially doped clubs that exist in Europe and specifically the Premier League right now. But if the £40million figure is true – and we have no reason to assume it’s not because it’s been quoted a number of times since about January – then it really poses a massive problem for Arsenal.
It suggests that we’re going one way and that’s south.
Of course I know that money isn’t everything. Of course I know that we have Leicester City example. But to put it in to context, the season Leicester City won the league they spent £55million on new players. Here we are four years later, with football inflation ever higher, and a budget that looks like a Championship side.
Last season Tottenham, Watford, Crystal Palace and Burnley spent less than £40million to improve their squads. Huddersfield spent £45million.
We all know that our squad is currently better than most of those teams, as a result we won’t need to be signing 10 players at £4million each but given that we probably need five or six replacements minimum given the exits this season, £40million will not get us very far.
And I’m afraid in my mind I keep going back to points in recent history and the running of the club by Gazidis, Kroenke and Wenger. It feels to me like Gazidis has royally screwed us over. The signing of Auba was great, but the dual deals of Özil and Mkhitaryan are financially crippling the club to the tune of £500k+ per week.
That’s £2million per month. On two players. One has chronically underperformed and the other has the talent but has nowhere near provided the output.
It’s negligence on a scale that is thoroughly unacceptable and Gazidis left Arsenal because he clearly knew this realisation was coming for the club. So like the bald rat that he is he scarpered.
But Kroenke is also to blame in this. He offers no direction, he provides little input, he cares about as much as he does for the people of St Louis, with whom he ripped the sporting part of their community apart when he moved the Rams in the US.
Kroenke’s sporting portfolio is littered with mediocrity and that’s what I fear right now. I fear that we’ll be heading for more of the same and this summer budget is just an example of this. Kroenke doesn’t need to declare much to the wider world any more. He can do the basics with companies house but the rest is guesswork from the likes of the AST.
A club with revenues of £439million+ per annum having a transfer budget of £40million. Less than 1% of its revenue. To put that in to context, Huddersfield made £125million+ in 2018, spending £45million. Arsenal earn three and a half times what Huddersfield do, yet they will have spent more this season than us.
It is utterly scandalous and is symptomatic of a club that is rudderless in leadership and financially crippled by its own mismanagement from people who have deserted the ship.
I’m angry this morning. Angry because the club I love feels like it is being driven in to mediocrity by absent owners and prior mismanagement.
And there’s nothing anything of us can do. we have to just sit here, pay our money, shut up and deal with vast revenues coming in and going out with little sign of improved quality. We’ve all talked of how Emery needs to be backed this summer but it looks like he’ll be chucked a few scraps and be asked to bake a wedding cake. At this rate it feels like he’ll be lucky to make a sandwich on that money.
This feels like a very dark time but hope on the horizon is that Europa League final and it feels like there’s more than just a trophy riding on it. Right now it feels like the immediate future of Arsenal will be relying on us winning that competition. Losing it will mean not only another European trophy evades us, but our ability to be more competitive where we think we should be next season goes out of the window too, which is a scary prospect.
Sorry for the doom and gloom blog guys, just how I feel this morning, which isn’t fun.
Catch you all tomorrow.