How the Kroenkes Are Changing Strategy at Arsenal. by AI
Arsenal have had a famed transfer strategy of getting undervalued or opportunistic signings from foreign leagues. It is how we got Santi Cazorla, Alexis Sanchez, Oliver Giroud, Per Mertersacker, and an endless list of other club servants. It has mostly worked out over the years, until the club realized that those sort of deals were getting much more difficult to pull off as money poured into the domestic league from every side, and smaller clubs broke their grass ceilings. Overnight, the strategy was amended. Big money rumours on obvious players like Thomas Lemar started to surface. Some of those big money moves failed to happen as with Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy. Some happened. And the club found itself in decline.
Football is not only an on-the-pitch sport. Backroom dealings are often as important as the talent on your roster. The Kroenkes, infamous owners of Arsenal, are largely resented by the fanbase who deem them responsible for the club’s failings. The biggest grievances are related to tight budgetary notions. However, these notions might not be fully informed.
The Kroenkes shared ownership of Arsenal Football Club with a Russian businessesman and other private members. Despite their family wealth and vast holdings, they never put a cent in the club until two seasons ago when Arsenal signed Nicolas Pepe. Curiously enough, that was also the time that they obtained full and sole ownership of the club. A common financial trope is that you don’t solely invest in shared assets. Otherwise, you would only bear the risk burden while everyone shares the returns with you. You wait until you can eat alone. Even if it means that the asset loses value (which only makes it easier to acquire for yourself).
In the first summer of their sole ownership, the Kroenkes underlined the 72 million euro signing of Nicolas Pepe while restructuring the academy. In the second, they changed management staff, including the coach, the director, the entire scouting network and paid for the 50 million euro signing of Thomas Partey. We are now in their third season, the academy is steadily churning out top players and there are reliable rumours linking Arsenal to several big money signings. It is clear that something has changed at Arsenal Football Club and that change begun with the Kroenkes acquiring sole ownership of Arsenal.
Kieran Tierney has reportedly been offered a bumper new 5-year contract. Similar prison-length contract renewals have happened with Bukayo Saka, Folarin Balogun, Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and now, according to reports, Emile Smith-Rowe. This is a vastly different approach to contracts from what was previously obtainable. We notoriously left contract renewals until the last minute. This is different and proactive.
We have not entirely left the old approach to transfers alone. In two consecutive seasons since the Kroenkes full ownership of Arsenal, we have signed Gabriel Martinelli and Matteo Guendouzi from the lower tiers of Brazilian and French football. William Saliba was another future-minded signing. In the third season, we are reportedly after Anderlecht’s 21-year-old captain who is regarded as one of the best midfielders in Belgium. Kieran Tierney and Gabriel Maghalaes have turned out to be shrewd signings.
We are heading for a rare but increasingly familiar summer of big-money spending. If the multiple links are to materialize, we could be spending north of 150 million pounds before sales. That is exactly what we have asked for and that is what might be happening. Mikel Arteta has insisted throughout his media briefings that he believes he will be supported in the window by the owners. He insists that his project will go bang with success in a short while. And when you see names like James Maddison, Eduardo Camavinga, Yves Bissouma, Ben White etc being linked to us for significant sums, you understand why he said that.
Ultimately, the Kroenkes are business owners. They barely have the sentimental link to the club that we do. They are hard, calculating and shrewd. From a fan perspective, that makes them bad owners as results go down the drain. But from a business perspective, they have been brilliant with how they refused to spend their money until they acquired sole ownership of the club. Since the acquisition, they have been making moves with the motive of increasing the value of their business. The academy and scouting restructuring were sorely needed.
In a world where even the likes of Lille and Monaco have outsourced their scouting to specialized scouting organizations and the club owns a data analysis company, Arsenal has no choice but to follow the modern trend of clubs like Liverpool who have a fraction of the scouts we had and have done well in the market. Their other moves such as hiring Edu, Arteta and Richard Garlick are yet to bear fruit. But make no mistake about it: the Kroenkes won’t stop now until they increase the brand value of their asset.
.@David_Ornstein on the Kroenkes: “They’ve never sold any of their sporting franchises & Arsenal are said to be the duel jewel in the crown, alongside the LA Rams & therefore, there would be no intention [of selling], which Josh Kroenke stated.” [Sky] #afc pic.twitter.com/kzV7HVIZYR
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) April 25, 2021
On a final note, when everything is considered, the Kroenkes have been successful with their other sporting franchises. The Athletic reported that they see Arsenal, along with the LA Rams, as their crown jewels. Given what they have been trying to do since they gained sole ownership of the club, it is only a matter of time before we are back right where we belong: one of the crown jewels of European football.