While I have often questioned the ambition of Arsenal on the football pitch, as a business they been fantastically run.
As a self-financed model, if FIFA ever wanted to be serious about Financial Fair play we would be in a strong position. This is a club who for years were able to make a profit on their best talent, only spend a fraction of the money on a replacement, and yet still find a route into the top 4.
Yet having recently lost our reputation of playing beautiful football, we may now have lost our status of being financially run very well.
Whichever way you look at it, 27 million is a lot of money to spend on a player who hasn’t made a first team appearance for you in three years.
That will be how long it will be from when we signed Saliba and when he will next be eligible to play for us in the Premiership.
27 million which could have been used to strengthen other areas in the squad, like a creative midfielder.
27 million where the only teams to benefit have been Saint Etienne, Nice and now Marseille.
That’s the bizarre part of his latest loan, in France he continues to have a huge reputation.
While Edu has been reminding us the defender is only 20, this isn’t a centre back who needs to prove he can handle this level.
He’s played 63 times in Ligue one, surely enough to get an opportunity in a group of players who have recorded two 8th place finishes.
I would understand if we were targeting the title but it’s our worst squad in decades. If you’re not getting a chance now, when will you?
Some fans will twist stats to suit their argument such as how many goals we conceded or our form after Xmas.
Yet the table doesn’t lie.
After not qualifying for Europe for the first time in 25 years, it makes zero sense to say our defence is good enough.
We should be humiliated by how low we have fallen. Not one player should feel their position is safe.
Our Technical Director insists this loan is part of the Frenchmen’s development and his statement implies the player is in agreement with the decision.
Yet our manager said the same last summer and as soon as Saliba was back home he was bemoaning a lack of chances to his local media.
Why would he now be receptive towards another loan, having proved in Nice his performances have not dipped despite personal problems?
12 months ago I agreed with Mikel Arteta’s stance on a teenager who had lost both his parents.
The Spaniard was the one who saw the talent every day and if he felt a 19-year-old needed to grieve closer to family and friends that’s understandable.
To still not want him in his first team suggests the coach simply doesn’t rate a signing that was made when he was at Man City.
Many feel Arleta’s job will be at risk if he starts the campaign poorly.
To still dismiss a 27 million signing could prove a costly mistake. It could also represent that he still has the faith of his employers to back his judgement.
If he failed again to finish above 8th, Mr. Kroenke would have every right to ask why 27 million is being spent on an asset perceived not good enough to make a poor squad?
The owner might blame the recruitment team, or he might start questioning a man whose strengths are meant to be his coaching.
At Man City, Arteta was credited for 1-1 getting the very best out of individuals through his training ideas.
At Arsenal, he’s been quick to wash his hands of anyone he’s deemed not suitable for his ethos.
Part of his job criteria is to get the best out of the resources he has.
There’s only so many time Mr. Kroenke will pay people to sit at home, cancel contracts, loan out, etc..
27 million for a player not to make a single appearance might end up as a sackable offence?
The day Saliba finally plays in the Prem will Arteta be his manager?
Maybe Arsenal are protecting the player by not disclosing why they feel he’s better off in France at the moment?
Maybe other factors are preventing his progress?
Maybe Arteta simply doesn’t see why previous scouts saw years ago?
Either way, 27 million for a player not to play a second for us in the span of 3 years?
That would be our worst ever signing.