Arsenal’s 7 Transfer Windows under Kroenke ranked from worst to best

A closer look at Arsenal transfer windows under Kroenke by Dan Smith

Stan Kroenke took full control of the club in April 2011.
He has overseen 7 summer transfer windows, 3 of which he made a nett profit. The American gained complete power at a time debts for the Emirates were being paid off, coinciding with huge contracts being given for TV rights, while Man City (like Chelsea before them) were bought by billonares. This was something our action plan did not envision when leaving Highbury.

Despite having the wealth to compete, Mr Kroenke has followed the business model, refusing to pay over the odds in fees or wages until the stadium was paid off. It’s been a few years now since Arsene Wenger declared that we were financially able to compete with the wealthiest clubs.

Whatever your conclusion of the following, it’s obvious Arsenal FC is an investment and not a plaything to the Kroenke family. Like the franchises he has in the US they are credited for making money without the threat of debt, but from a sporting point of view, his portfolio is not one of Champions.

So here I rank from worse to best our summer transfer window’s with Mr Kroenke in full power
……….(Transfers to nearest million)

2011 (Spent 51 million, Earnt 73 million)
Despite Gooners not being happy how with he acted in his last couple of months with us, we knew it was when, not if, Cesc Fabregas returned to the Nou Camp. What hurt us most was being promised that if the Spaniard went back to Barcelona, Nasri would not be sold. The Frenchmen displayed the form which would have cushioned the blow. When we were lied to, our squad was the most unprepared we ever have been for a season. An 8-2 drubbing at Old Trafford pressured our board to do a last day trolley dash which seemed to have no long term thinking.
If we had beaten Man United, would our owner have tried getting away with not replacing either of our best players? How we got into the top 4 that campaign we owe all to Van Persie, those counting the money didn’t deserve it.

2012 (Spent 38 million, Earnt 47 million)
Already hurt by the news that we had sold our star player to Manchester United, we eagerly awaited to hear Arsene Wenger’s press conference. At scary times, we needed a voice of reason, someone who loves the badge to reassure us that we hadn’t given up on being title contenders. Incredibly our manager sat with a smile on his face, not just admitting he had lied to us, but then explaining the Van Persie money had already been spent. It was consecutive summers our owner had dared to cash in on our prize asset while making a profit.

2017 (Spent 46 million, Earnt 68 million)
Arsenal fans got their hopes up with early signing of Lacazette. Then seemed to spend rest of month in negotiations with Monaco for Lemar. We would find out though that Arsene Wenger had been given a Dilemma. If he was adamant in letting Sanchez run down his contract, he had to sacrifice his transfer kitty. It was felt it be a PR disaster for gooners to see us sell our best player yet again to a title rival. The turning point was Anfield where the performance was so bad, everyone understood you couldn’t build a squad round a talent who didn’t want to be there. So in the final 24 hours of the window the gunners did a u turn on their whole transfer policy, leaving it too late to bring anyone in. We were one of few sides to make profit in window, criminal considering the TV contract shared out by the Premiership.

2015 (Spent 14 million, Earnt 1.8million)
Arsene Wenger declared his spending was no longer restricted by paying off the stadium, while Ivan Gazidas was boasting how rich the club was. Despite all of that we only brought Peter Cech from Chelsea. While identifying a key position in the team here was a classic example of the Frenchmen showing too much faith in his players. Every week we were told that there would only be incomings if a world class talent became available. It was never explained why 19 other sides seemed able to find value in the market. The belief seemed to be, that the manner of how we won the FA Cup, coinciding with most of our rivals changing managers gave us continuity. Come February when we mentally fell apart again, Mr Wenger had again been let down for giving the same players too many opportunities.

2013 (Spent 42 million, Earnt 10 million)
Were told all summer it was when, not if, we got Luis Suarez, with Higuain a plan B. It felt like when our board’s bluff was called we bottled it. After negotiations lasting weeks we refused to buy the Argentine based on a few million, we were given incorrect information regarding Suarez’s contract. Either way, the fact 2 world class players made it clear they wanted to come to North London and our owners didn’t test the water with proper offers suggest out interest was fake, a ploy in convincing us to buy shirts and tickets. Maybe if we beat Villa we wouldn’t have bought anyone. But our loss on the opening day saw a revolt, pressuring the club for PR reasons to buy someone. On a great day to be a gooner, on the same day we won the North London Derby, Arsene Wenger was unusually open about his next 24 hours, promising he had a surprise up his sleeve.
The next day we found out that Ozil was locked in a room with Mr Kroenke who had had flew over to finalise the deal, that’s how unusual this was for us to be spending such a fee. A coincidence we ended our trophy drought, the summer we broke our transfer record?

2016 (Spent 88 million, Earnt 7.5 million)
I put this high on the list because it seemed to be the summer Arsene Wenger stopped trying to find value in the transfer market. Our board realised if they wanted to keep up with those around them, high fees and extravagant wages were something they could no longer fight against. The issue was this logic was 3 years behind the times. Prices were so inflated average talent was going now for 20 million. It meant we spent over 60 million on two players who divide opinion (Mustafi and Xhaka) and 17 on one who barely started (Perez) The summer we showed ambition saw us finish outside the top 4 for the first time under Wenger, a cruel irony.

2014 (Spent 72 million, Earnt 36 million)
Following on from ending our trophy drought there was a feel-good atmosphere around the Emirates, not helped by Ivan Gazidis claiming the manager had 200 million he could help himself too.
The signing of Sanchez got our hope ups. The reality was this was thanks to our new partnership with Puma who effectively paid for the deal themselves. With the number of strikers we were linked too, Danny Welbeck on deadline day was an anti climax to say the least.

So approximately Mr Kroenke has spent 353 million in his 7 summer transfer windows while bringing in 197 million. That’s a nett spend of 155 million. There’s circumstances to consider such as paying off the Emirates, one he can’t use anymore.

On average we spend 22 million a season.
To be fair he never promised share holders to throw his own money at the project . He runs the club so they operate within their means. We compete at a high level, win the odd domestic cup without being under any financial pressure. But of course he could do more. Check out where this man sits on rich lists and then factor in the money we make. The new TV deals mean 2 years out of the Champion’s League cannot be used as an excuse.

It’s why he loved Mr Wenger. A man who get him the Champions Leauge money while at time making a profit. You sense both knew for a while though the reality, no matter who’s the boss we will never be champions again under this ownership.

Dan Smith


  1. gotanidea says:

    Great article. I am also worried about Kroenke’s ownership, but the fans are helpless against him

    If Emery is a great manager, he will bring major trophies to Arsenal. Because actually Arsenal’s squad have enough quality to win the titles

  2. Declan says:

    I refuse to read anymore articles by this person. Never got anything good to say about Arsenal.

    1. gotanidea says:

      He just showed us the facts

      1. GB says:

        Yes facts mixed in with his own spin and rhetoric.
        He just likes to put a downer on everything.

        1. DAN says:

          What spin ?
          R the sums a spin ?
          Do you think t owner has been great ?

    2. DAN says:

      Declan mate
      I always make this point , having a debate is fine but offer a counter point
      Don’t just do the typical attack the person who wrote it
      Which bit you think is unfair?

      1. Waal2waal says:

        …the bit that is unfair is the suggestion arsenal can never win anything while under kroenke. If we’d won epl in season 2015/16 there would not have been any such write-up because his analysis (or theory) would have been totally blown out the window. to me the fact that we came close to winning the epl 2015/16 shows his write-up as no more than scaremongering. And to produce it at a time when unai emery has only recently been instituted is as good as to hurl a massive insult to emery who clearly does not go along with this mindset and to the majority of real arsenal fans.

        1. DAN says:

          We didn’t win the PL?
          Do you think we will win PL under this board ?
          What have you seen to suggest that ?

          1. Waal2waal says:

            @Dan – I think the only hick-up that stops any quality-team finishing the job off is ultimately the determination, skillset, mindset and belief of the out field players. we came close 2015/16 and had the players wanted it with every fibre of their very being that season, we’d have won – turns out minnows LCFC wanted it more. And at that decisive and critical point of a season what could kroenke’s lot do?

          2. Xxnofx says:

            But we didn’t come close did we ,all the other top teams we struggling and we let Leicester get over the finish line by quite a few points ,even when we had a chance ,we still couldn’t find a way to come put on top

          3. Declan says:

            DAN, some people’s way of presenting things is a constant attack on, in this case, the board. Yes they have underperformed in recent years but we are now in a change period and I think we should at least be optimistic until proved otherwise. Chelsea’s owner pumped money into the club in the days before FFP, basically buying titles but are now endeavouring to be self sustainable as they have to be. City’s owner has been doing the same thing in more recent years but in an underhand and some would say, corrupt way. Sponsors like Ehtihad and others arranged, paying well over the top for ground naming and kit deals etc. Kroenke may well be in it for the money in the long run but hasn’t rinsed the club of any funds yet and can’t due to financial reporting and accounting. We are trying to live within our means but change is now here. Kroenke was being criticised in America for lack of interest in his franchises but having not too long ago invested in a good young coach for one of his teams, I believe has seen the light and getting praise for it. He’s now got rid of Wenger and the whole face of the club is changing, I think for the better. The past is the past but some people just keep recycling stuff especially about Wenger and the boards failings when all I am saying is why can’t we give the owner and new manager our support until proved otherwise. Peace and Love.

          4. DAN says:

            Yeah mate
            For years I wouldn’t say a bad word about Wenger
            I’m just against the owner
            I also like list formats so just thought while it was transfer window lol

          5. Waal2waal says:

            No one here is what i’d call a kroenke flag waver – the emphasis i make is What’s the point of putting a dampener on the season before it’s began and scaremongering with analysis (theory) that does not stand up. For example, of kroenke portfolio we’re told “they are credited for making money without the threat of debt, but from a sporting point of view, his portfolio is not one of Champions.”

            *The fact is arsenal despite kroenke’s lot still succeeded in becoming FA Cup champions which of itself casts doubt on that scaremonger-kind of opinion.

          6. Xxnofx says:

            I agree again with you dan ,nothing to suggest this season will be any different ,fine if fans are happy to finish 4th,5th,6th , but I for one am not happy ,he should not be in control of this team ,he’s only he to make as much money as he can .didnt bracewell smith say after she sold her shares to him it was one of the worst decisions she had ever made

          7. Ken1945 says:

            Xxnofx, that was not why she was complaining.
            What upset her was the fact that, as she later realised and admitted, she sold the shares to cheaply.
            There was not one ounce of remorse about WHO she sold them to.
            She was as greedy as every other board member who sold out to Kronkie.

          8. OzzieGunner says:

            Spot on Ken and Kroenke benefited from their greed and stupidity.
            It will be intetesting to see how the LA Rams perform the second season under the young manager. American Football has a draft system which endeavours to even out the competition by giving the poorest performers earlier picks for higher rated available players. This does not exist in major leagues in Association Football.

        2. Shekar233 says:

          We came close to winning the epl ?
          How can you be in so deep sleep for an entire season? We barely managed to 2nd and that too on the last day of the season just so that we celebrate finishing higher up than the spurs.. Infact it was spurs who had some chance to win it if not for thier bottling a5 the end ritual..

          But it was a great season that someone atleast proved that titles are not bought with money.. I salite raneiri amd Leicester.

          1. OzzieGunner says:


  3. Tactical says:

    Most of the players we got for relatively low fees, between 15 to 30 million, give or take have been poor. Yet there are many middle-tier club all over Europe who base their transfer policy on the same thing. That is why they are middle-tier clubs and why Arsenal were slipping towards them. Occasionally, some of these cheap shots prove that football had not been formerly fair to them and we get a new football star. Arsenal should not depend on that. Consider Ozil, Lacazette, Aubameyang and Sanchez – they were all bought for 40 million plus and they have returned us, in one way or the other, to the top. That’s when you know you are getting talent for sure.

    1. Reyesorarsenal says:

      Sigurdsson was 50million if am correct…torres wqs 50million too andy carrol some 35mill…i dont know what youre getting at

      1. Fab says:

        Deogras Costa was free agent and wanted to join us, but now he is 70m+

    2. Mobella says:

      If i hear you correctly, you are say Torreira is going to be a sh**t because we got him between that range of price you mentioned. Do you know players price is not limited to EPL alone. The fact that EPL clubs pay ridiculous amount for players doesn’t mean the yplayer is top notch. Is Jorginho, Fabinho, Kaita, Fred are way better than Torreira. Is Marehez worth 70m paid for him considering Sallah was 35m a year ago. Roma paid peanut for Kluivert and the Turkish kid believe me by next transfer season these will be bought by EPL clubs for crazy money. On the last note, how would you rate Bakayoko, Mendy, Silva and Morata performance. Do they justify their price. My point is player’s price don’t kick ball player does.

      1. Sue says:

        You’re right Mobella, Bakayoko & Morata certainly aren’t worth what Chelsea paid for them!!

  4. Marv says:

    Max Meyer looks like a perfect replacement for Aaron Ramsey. I hope Emery looks his way if Ramsey’s contract talks stall.

  5. Mobella says:

    Councel Pep will not beat Klopp forthe title next season Liverpool now is by far the best team in EPL ,their let down last season was a bad defense otherwise they would have won even the CL. Can you please explain how? Aside for Sallah, who was exceptionally great for them last season which other players do they have that perform close to every man city players. I will like to know how you rate their new players.

    1. Sue says:

      We’ll have to wait & see… as everyone was adamant they were going to win the champs league!!

  6. rkw says:

    good reporting … the simple point about top draw football is that it is all about matching yourself against the competition and kroenke has clearly failed in keeping us at the top of the pile basically coz he is not interested in taking the investment risks (i.e players) that is required and as long as club is annually in the black he is ok with the situation … in the current inflated player market investment in the team upsets his short-term financial strategy … there is no doubt that at the end of last season we were well behind man c lpool and man utd … but still saw ourselves as close enough to chelsea and spurs to believe that a fresh management team and a few new faces on the pitch would close the gap … i think that as things stand we can believe we have done enough so far to close that gap but the gap with the top 3 has not closed at all (maybe a little with man utd) … essentially we have had two good signings torreira and leno in positions that clearly needed upgrading two backup options in defence and one for the future … the big uncertainty is emery which is for me a big plus but you just never know with a new manager … one quality signing is still needed to show intention of challenging for top honours again … for me in midfield where we are still average would be best but an exciting attacking option would be ok too … dembele?

  7. umunna john says:

    Max Mayer has disciplinary issues with his last club,we dn’t need someone to disrupt the dressing room again for US

    1. Marv says:

      Aubameyang also had disciplinary issues and we signed him.

      1. OzzieGunner says:

        Max Meyer has priced himself out of the market with many clubs, including Arsenal with his high wage demands. He needs a dose of realism. He would be a good acquisition if he reduces his wage demands.

    2. Admin says:

      Meyer said he thought he was being bullied and so he was dropped. Maybe he was telling the truth?

  8. jon fox says:

    An interesting if somewhat over simplified article. Much of what you wrote is down to our own personal perceptions of who (which player) has been successful , rather than merely what was spent or recouped (net). Stan Kroenke had effective control before 2011 and there are also winter windows to consider so your article is simplified( perhaps of necessity, as long screeds are not encouraged on this site), even though they give a fuller picture. But , that being said your article , which IS a good one , paints a damning picture of life under Kroenke. However, like most on here, I still look forward but with a certain realism, to our new season. Barring miracles it is highly improbable we can ever truly compete for the actual title while Scrooge Kroenke owns the club. Top four though is a definite possibility. Seems obvious I know but the best thing that can happen to our club is a new owner, ASAP.

    1. Waal2waal says:

      @JF…are you suggesting a russian oligarch, a dangote, an arab oil sheik or perhaps a hard to announce far-east business man with absolutely no sincere motive in the clubs consistent success? sometimes a garden only appears greener when viewing from the opposite side of a fence.

      1. jon fox says:

        Waal 2Waal, NO. Like all other real fans, I want a rich owner who is a real fan of our club in particular and of football too. Not huge ranches, huge bank/ asset wealth and staying away from our club and our country. THAT is what my post was about. And please , you have no need to lecture me, aged 68, about the grass being greener elsewhere. My long life has amply taught me that sometimes it is , sometimes not, BUT we should surely try our best to make it so. Don’t you think? Without ambition to improve you don’t stay the same, you regress. Life has also taught me that truth.

      2. Lance says:

        Waal2waal, Dangote is an Arsenal fan who flies to London to watch Arsenal games. If he acquires Arsenal, it will be mainly for the love he has for the club though as a businessman he will also keep an eye on the profit side too.

    2. DAN says:

      I’m praying I’m wrong
      Was going to do winter but thought article was already long winded lol

  9. JustJoy says:

    love this great analysis of our eagle-eyed gunners

    i remember Athletico Madrid won the league just as LFC did in england with virtually just over £70m squads…

    lets beieve in UE and see…

  10. Joe14 says:

    If money was the answer Mustafi and Xhaka should be world beaters, Man U would be sweeping all trophies available, Morata would be the best striker in Europe, Carzola wouldn’t have been our most missed CM since Patrick Viera.etc

    That said, I think a lot of factors influence success of a club, belief,tactics, timing, right people for the right job, and even some lack. Check out Real Madrid’s spending within that period they’ve dominated Europe. Their spending was similar to Mid table EPL clubs.
    I believe we have the best forward line in the EPL, if the rest of the areas can step up,I don’t see why we can’t compete for major titles again, even with Stan.

  11. DAN says:

    Joe 14
    Do you think money was the answer for Man City and Chelsea
    U think money money was answer for real ?
    Richest club in Italy won last 7 titles
    PSG apart from one season have dominated since takeover
    Richest club in Germany wiNn title
    Most of time who spends most wins
    No one is asking us to go crazy but rember Stan Korenke is a billionaire …..he could do more

  12. OzzieGunner says:

    Dan, I just want Kroenke to spend the money available from Arsenal’s earnings, let alone his own money. It’s the profit earned on each transfer window that is most galling! Instead of a cannon, Arsenal should have £ sign.

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