Money is not the problem at Arsenal by Johnbo
As Arsenal fans, we know there are many issues with the Kroenkes, but what is the most common criticism of their reign? Spend the money! I myself have often accused them for a lack of spending, however, upon researching this article I can see that this is an unfair critique on the whole.
Arsenal have been one of the biggest spenders over the last decade, and actually should have spent a lot more if it wasn’t for our shocking ability at selling high valued assets, with the club consistently favouring the self sabotaging policy “let’s allow players to walk away for free.”
That policy has had a huge knock on effect when it comes to reinvestment. Add to that, Wenger’s frugal approach to transfers. Then we also have the wage bill, which until very recently, was also one of the highest in Europe.
It’s hard to get exact figures, but over the last 10 years, the order of Net spending looks like (gross spending in brackets in pounds):
1 – Man Utd 903M(gross – 1.4B)
2 – Man City 825M (gross – 1.4B)
3 – PSG 790M (gross – 1.2B)
4 – Barcelona 546M (1.4B)
5 – Arsenal 490M (865M)
6 – Juventus 471M (1.3B)
7 – Milan 363M (743M)
8 – Everton 360M (765M)
9 – Villa 356M (589M)
10 – Chelsea 347M (1.4B)
As one can see, we’ve spent a lot. 5th on the list and if it wasn’t for our pathetic selling ability, our spending would have easily surpassed the billion mark. It’s interesting to see that there isn’t really that strong a relationship with spending and success when looking at the top end of football.
Top of the list Man Utd have been an absolute mess for years, and it’s now 5 years without a trophy, and nearly 10 years without a league title. Barcelona’s spending has left them in financial ruin. PSG have dominated the domestic game in France, which is hardly a stretch, but consistently fail in Europe, which is similar to Juventus, although they’ve dropped off domestically the last 2 or 3 years.
We all know how terrible Arsenal have been in the league and Europe. Milan have been in the doldrums until winning their first league title this season in just over a decade. Everton have only gone backwards. Villa have spent a lot to barely become a mid table side.
Only City and Chelsea can boast consistent success from their spending. The most successful has to be Chelsea given their successes in Europe as well as domestically.
Although bigger finances will give the opportunity for more success, it’s really down to the culture, structure, and planning at a club that makes success possible. Man Utd proved that point more than any other club. On the flip side, so have Leicester, who have been very smart.
Looking at Arsenal, it’s actually quite easy diagnosing our problems. The Kroenke’s do not understand football. Arsenal have a very similar setup to Liverpool, even down to the owners, but they have a far better structure in place, and obviously now have a world class manager, hence their recent success.
That tells me that, like Liverpool, we can win the biggest trophies under the Kroenkes, but that it’s harder to do so as you really need others below them who are running the operational side of the club to get it spot on. Things have improved since 2018, such as the culture, planning, structure, etc, but there is still a lot of work to do.
Josh Kroenke seems to have taken on more of an interest in Arsenal than his father, Stan, and maybe part of that is wanting to prove to his father that he can become a success at Arsenal. Josh could become key for us, because Stan has had no interest in what happens on the pitch. If we can FINALLY get the operational side of the club running properly, as well as bringing through a more ruthless culture in regards to not accepting failure, then success is possible.
This is why I have been supportive of Arteta, and others currently running the day-to-day, because there has been a lot of focus put into what happens off the pitch. They haven’t got everything right, no one ever does, but there has been improvement on the whole. And as we saw last summer, when Arsenal outspent every club on Earth, yet won nothing, and didn’t qualify for the Champions League, money wasn’t the issue. Some of our most expensive players have actually underachieved as well.
People will say that the Kroenkes have been here for years, and we have only gone backwards, but it’s only recently that they’ve had full control of Arsenal, and I put a lot of blame for our regression at the feet of Wenger and Gazidis .
Smart planning, and management will get Arsenal back to the top, but will that happen under the Kroenkes?
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