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.