With Arsenal FC holding their Annual General Meeting today, the subject of money was always bound to be a hot topic. More specifically, the gap between the massive amount of money that the club has in the bank and is earning in profit every year, as opposed to relatively meagre spending in the transfer market.
And before the AGM even began, Arsene Wenger addressed the issue in his press conference ahead of the Premier League away game against Watford on Saturday, replayed in full on Arsenal Player. His words will have left the Arsenal fans scratching their heads, they certainly have done to me.
The Frenchman spoke once again about how the financial restrictions placed on him when Arsenal had to finance the move from Highbury to the new state of the art Emirates stadium and I think that most of the fans have a certain sympathy with that. And I think there is now a real appreciation of how well Wenger did to keep us up around the top of the Premier League in those hard times, especially now that two back to back FA cup trophy wins have eased the frustration.
But we are all desperate for Arsenal and Wenger to push on and challenge for the EPL title again and there is a real feeling that our transfer business has not been good enough.
Wenger said, “At the moment we are in the fight and that’s what you want. I believe we have the potential to do it and that’s what we want to show now in the coming games.
“I’ve been here for 19 years and we had some turning points in the history. When I arrived we had the financial potential to fight for the titles. After, when we moved into the new stadium, there was a period where we did not have the opportunity to fight for the title but we had to work very hard to stay at the top. In the last two, maybe two-and-a-half years, we are back in the fight because we have the financial potential again to get the best players.
“When you look well at the last two years, we’ve brought in Ozil, Alexis, Petr Cech. That shows that we are back and are capable to fight to get the best players.”
This is not really addressing the issue. For me and many other Arsenal fans, the question is still why the boss did not spend some of the mountainous cash reserve to add more top quality players. We have seen what effect the likes of Cech, Ozil and Alexis can have, so why stop there? Wenger admits that the lack of money made it impossible for Arsenal to win the league for years, so why does he expect us to believe that he can do so now without spending what we have?