It’s news that every Arsenal fan especially season ticket holders dread every summer- usually it’s the manager himself Arsene Wenger that reveals it- the news that Arsenal just don’t have the budget or funds to compete with the bigger teams. Stunning news on the face of it given that Arsenal should be one of those big teams. Today it was from the mouth of Arsenal Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis. And it’s a real head scratcher considering Arsenal were the Premier League club who made the most money- just over £100 million from the new television deal last season.
Is it not the same old song and dance down at the Emirates though? Season ticket holders promised a team that will win trophies are lured into getting their seats for the coming season confirmed only for a few weeks to go to the start of a new season being told there are a lack of funds.
True Arsenal have spent just over £40 million this summer- the bulk of that money went on the young Swiss hopeful Granit Xhaka. However transfer deals have moved on since then- in short with the money now involved in the English game, English teams are playing it big- The average spend so far for the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea is £75 million and that looks like it will rise to £100 million. It also looks like Arsenal will be left in the shadows once again.
They have, if we believe the rumours, come in for three players and three times been rejected. First up was Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuian, who ended up signing for Juventus this week in a near £75 million package deal. No one has to be reminded that Arsenal would have bulked at half that fee.
Then there was talk of Jamie Vardy- a revelation at champions Leicester City. But Vardy who could well have been a success in London decided to stay with the Foxes. This decision was probably on the basis of entering the unknown with the club now in the Champions League for the first time in their history.
Over to Ligue 1 and Alexandre Lacazette who has now had two solid seasons with Lyon. Arsenal offered £29 million and were soundly and rightly rejected. It remains to be seen if Wenger will come in with a bigger and let’s face it respectable offer for the Frenchman who has scored 54 goals from his last 84 matches.
Gazidis’ words though seemed like a step back yet again for the Gunners, he said: “We would not be successful if we simply went out into the transfer market and tried to out gun our competitors. We’re run in a self-sustaining way, and a way that we believe in, because we believe it gives us certainty for the future, and enables us to plan our future with confidence.”
This all sounds very well, but the problem is that Arsenal fans have been hearing the same stance for nigh on a decade that has been filled with empty promises and no league titles.