Arsenal are one of the most highly profitable clubs in world football. The cost of building the Emirates stadium is nearly paid off, we have qualified for the Champions league second round for the last 13 years and Arsene Wenger has spent next to nothing, in net terms, in the transfer market for years. How is it possible, then, that the Gunners cannot afford to go for a big name player valued at around £30 million?
That is what the former Arsenal defender says he heard when he was with Arsene Wenger recently at the ground. Winterburn himself was surprised because Ivan Gazidis has been letting on that the board are ready and willing to back Wenger in the transfer market, and there have been rumours that around £70 million was left unspent in the summer.
“I was with Arsene three or four weeks ago doing a Q&A at Arsenal and he was asked about buying a £30 million player.
“He was saying `we can’t afford to do that`. That surprised me a little bit.
“He was saying `£30 million in transfer fees, with wages you’re probably looking at another £25-30 million. We could not compete on that level.”
So what is going on? Where is all the money going? I know that Man City and Chelsea have rich sugar daddies who cough up the millions they need to outbid other teams, but Manchester United are paying massive interest payments because of the way the Glazer family took over the club. The Glazers also, apparently, siphon personal profits from United, yet they can afford massive wages for Rooney and van Persie as well as large transfer fees.
Another problem with Arsenal now is that big name players would not really want to join the Gunners at the minute, even if we could afford them. Too many years of selling our best players have weakened the Arsenal reputation, and made us a less than appealing prospect for top players, says Winterburn, and he can understand why the frustration of the Arsenal fans is building.
“The vision that they were sold when they moved to the Emirates was that they had to move there to compete with the top teams.
“A lot of the supporters feel that we are now slipping even further behind those teams.”