Arsenal fans heard again this week from the chief executive Ivan Gazidis about what a good financial model Arsenal have and how we are going to be able to challenge the big spending clubs any minute now. A couple of recent stories have made me question the wisdom of this approach and wonder whether Arsenal are in danger of falling too far behind clubs like Chelsea, Man City and Man United.
We all know that Roman Abramovich has been throwing money at Chelsea since he took over the club, and it is his money to spend (if you ignore the fact that he is the owner of natural resources that should belong to the Russian people. The thing is, his investment has brought success to Chelsea, culminating in them becoming the first London club to win the Champions League (that hurts). Gazidis and the Arsenal board hve suggested that FFP regulations will stop Chelsea in their tracks but, because of their success, they actually showed a profit last year.
We have all laughed at Man United since being taken over by the Glazers. United fans are furious and quite rightly so. There was a share floatation recently to raise money to pay off some of the massive debt and I read that the Glazer family kept about half of the profits themselves. But, and it is a big but, when Alex Ferguson asked for money to buy players, they coughed up. Many thought that £24 million was too much for van Persie, and Wenger believed he had done a good deal, which he had.
If Manchester United win the league this year and get to the quarter or semi-final stage of the Champions league, they will earn much more than that. Two years ago, when United got to the final to be humiliated by Barcelona, they earned £20 million more than Arsenal who got to the last 16. That is just the payment from UEFA alone. I am not saying that Arsenal should saddle themselves with debt like United, they are in the position of losing a massive chunk of their earnings to interest payments. If they have an off year, they are in deep trouble, but we are too cautious.
The thing that the Arsenal board seem to have forgotten is that success brings rewards. To achieve success, you have to risk a little. I appreciate what the board are trying to do, I just think they are doing it in the wrong way. Spend some money in January, maybe £60 million. With a bit of luck, that will come back to you in extra revenue by the end of the year. Plus, it might stop the Gooners from calling you a bunch of ******