Kroenke and Wenger Ready to Spend

Or Are They?

Bergkampesque is generally an optimistic place.  One of our contributors,  Pony Eye, recently wrote a two part series of posts which inevitably led to thoughts about building our squad over the summer.  Keeping the bulk of the more successful players in the squad while adding a few key–or even “world class” players (definition, please) seems the only way to compete with the clubs who finished ahead of us this past season.  Can we do it when faced with Europa League football in the coming campaign?

Unless the “Leopard(s) can change his (their) spots” all signs would point to the answer being a massive NO.

Let’s play detective, shall we…

I’m probably dating myself (I’m from the class of 1964), but watching “Dragnet” (American television show) was part of my early childhood experience…

On Wenger:

It can probably be agreed by most Gooners that Arsene Wenger’s managerial career at Arsenal can be divided into two phases, roughly (or not so roughly) divided by his time managing in our two stadiums: Highbury and The Emirates (Ashburton Grove).  With the former as our home, his trophy tally reads as follows: three Premier Leagues and four FA Cups.  At the latter: three FA Cups.  At Highbury, there was also the “Invincible” season (and a streak of 49 matches undefeated) as well as an appearance in the Champions League final, a game lost by a single goal despite having to play with 10 men for most of the match.  Since the move to the Emirates, the best finish in the CL was a semi-final appearance, lost to Manchester United, 1-4 on aggregate.

Many would also argue that the Emirates phase can be further divided into a couple of its own periods.  A first one where the team was built around younger and less expensive players, and a more recent time where pricier and more mature players were brought in, most notably Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, but also first team regulars such as Granit Xhaka and Skhodran Mustafi, and, before them, Petr Cech, Olivier Giroud, Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker.  In this second period, Arsenal have also been more successful at holding onto our best players by gradually upping the overall wage bill.  The results?  Nothing better than 2nd in the PL (once, but 10 points behind miracle winners, Leicester City), seven straight round of 16 exits in the Champions League, and the three FA Cups (in the past 4 seasons).  Some Gooners might argue that the FA cups represent improvement.  Others would point to the thought that the domestic cups are considered less and less important as time goes by.  This season’s results in the two biggest competitions, a 5th place finish in the league and the 10-2 aggregate drubbing by Bayern Munich in the CL, clearly seem a step backwards.  Finishing behind Tottenham Hotspur, for the first time in 21 seasons, adds insult to injury.

Soon after the stadium move, Stan Kroenke became majority shareholder at Arsenal.  Let’s look at some facts about him.

He’s American, he’s married to one of the world’s richest heiresses (a daughter of Sam Walton, the developer of Wal-Mart) and he owns several American Sports franchises.  Although he was already successful in real estate, inheriting the Wal-Mart wealth is what made him a billionaire.  In the early 2000s Kroenke bought several Colorado based clubs including the Denver Nuggets (basketball) and the Denver Avalanche (hockey) and a few others including a lacrosse team, the Colorado Gran Prix and the Colorado Rapids of the North American Soccer League.  In 2010 he became majority owner of the St. Louis Rams, a storied club in the National Football League.  Here is a well researched appraisal of the success of some of those franchises– or lack thereof.  Increasing the value of his sports portfolio–rather than personal (and supporter) satisfaction through on-field results–seems Kroenke’s goal, most notably exhibited by his successful efforts to relocate the Rams back to the more lucrative Los Angeles market.  On the other hand, some of the more optimistic Arsenal support might argue that his attendance at the recent FA Cup final victory over Chelsea could make him keen to witness other, even bigger, triumphs.

Of course, English (and European) football is a very different landscape from American sports with their structures to prevent excessive debt spending and provide more level fields of competition.  Could it be that Kroenke and his board are ready to “speculate to accumulate,” as so many other billionaire owners seem willing to do?  Arsenal have released statements suggesting that Wenger has the full financial support of the Arsenal Board of Directors.  As majority shareholder, that would mean Kroenke.  Are the two central characters at our club going to go for it?

In a massively inflated transfer (and salary) market and unable to offer Champions League football to potential signings (and current players, of course), what would that mean?

First off, let’s not forget that the revenues from playing in the Europa league instead of the CL will reportedly cost the club some 45 million pounds.  To my mind, this alone signifies that Kroenke (and/or, possibly, other board members) will have to dip into the club’s reserves of cash–currently just over 100 million pounds–AND his (or their) own holdings.  Frankly, this seems far less likely than Wenger being willing to spend at ever increasing record levels.  Even that seems a longshot.  The manager’s parsimony–or at least an eye for a good deal–is often cited as a principal source of those very same cash reserves, and a big reason Kroenke and the board continue to offer Wenger new contracts.

So, many Gooners, already extremely divided on the subject of their manager AND their owner–Wenger Out signs have taken to the air, Kroenke Out signs have thus far only been seen held up by supporters–probably feel that spending big on new players, or on greatly increased salaries to keep our most expensive current guys, is the only means of truly competing for the biggest prizes.

My question: is that a likely scenario or will the fan base have to rely upon the current squad, perhaps minus some of our most sought after players, youth coming up through the ranks, and second-tier additions? Can a team built in that manner–and playing in front of a sometimes hostile set of supporters–get the results that might satisfy?

I wonder.  Mostly, however, I’m just trying to ferret out the facts and calibrate my expectations accordingly.  Perhaps other Gooners can help me out.

Go on then…

by 17highburyterrace

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36 Responses to Kroenke and Wenger Ready to Spend

  1. gmci says:

    Probably a shift to higher fees and salaries. BUT, does that include a new salary structure? Is it true that Sead Kolasinac currently has the highest salary? Is Oxlade-Chamberlain looking to be be higher than Kolasinac, and would all players be looking at a re-negotiation?

  2. aryana70 says:

    Bergampesque
    thanks for the piece.i think that there is no genuine urge within Kroenke to see Arsenal win trophies,and u r quite right to assess that Wenger is acting like protective shield for him,he cashes in the 9 mil salary a year a keeps away Kroenke from the spotlight and being answerable.until this regime(the Kroenke-Wenger miserable state of siege)is in power nothing positve will happen for us,as is evident right now,nothing but “speculation” and leads-nowhere anticipation,the same-old,same-old

  3. Vineeth George says:

    Yes. They saying that they have £150m in hand, but yet to spend a single penny. Even everton, without having a champions league football to offer, brought 2 or 3 good players.

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Seventeenho,

    Thanks for a fine post – a good base for discussion. A bit too pessimistic for me though. I really like the way we keep most if not all of our players now and add between 50-100 million worth of quality new players every season. What is not to like about that? Kroenke looks after my club as well as I can expect him to do. Cannot wait for next season. 🌞

  5. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey TA… and others…

    I’m actually fairly optimistic (the team sure finished the season well…) and I believe it’s reasonably possible that Wenger has talked to Kroenke about a 5 year plan–or at least a 2 year plan–based on a lower (financial) return this season with the hope to bounce right back into the top 4, with CL money (and higher ticket prices in 2018/19) to make up for this year’s net loss. I do believe that Alexis is going to go, however, but I’m actually hopeful that he will (but that’s probably a topic for another post)… Given the numbers as I read them, I just don’t think it’s possible to quite do *everything*… Money saved by cutting loose some fairly highly paid guys is the key to balancing the budget, but so too is amortizing the costs of higher salaries over the length of the contracts…even if it means fewer transfers. My grander point in the post is that transfer fever and spending for spending’s sake is not so smart… Though it’s probably why this post (with its silly title) is getting all the views… 😀

    I wouldn’t take the Daily Star at its word, but this link has nice visuals… It also confirms what gmci says about Kolasinac on the (current) high salary… Losing the salaries of guys like Gibbs, Debuchy and Jenkinson might also help… I also think Wilshere (not in the link) is on about 90K/wk, so maybe he’s a goner too… In general, as time goes by, Arsenal (and other “self-sustaining” clubs) work is pretty much all about the wage bill and finding relative bargains in the market, including guys like Kolasinac who come in on Bosman (free) transfers…

    http://www.dailystar.co.uk/pics/sports-pictures/3211/Every-Arsenal-player-s-weekly-wages-revealed-sportgalleries

  6. Pony Eye says:

    Hi HT,

    As you rightly referenced, am one of the optimistic (maybe few) ones. Most of us seem still prisoners of the lean spell when we were building and paying for the new stadium. We are long since out of jail. 14/15 was targeted as the season we would be fairly free of the debt burden but we were able to make a statement of intent by 13/14 by signing Ozil. The following season ‘world class’ Cech (my definition of world class : a player that improves the Arsenal team). Then Sanchez, Xhaka and Mustafi. We have been building, and it’s good to remember that Rome was not built in a day.

    It is not right drawing foundamental conclusions based on the fact that we ended up 5th last season. There is always that margin of luck for every team each season of maybe plus/minus 6 pts. We might have been on the nagative end of that luck. After all Chls was 10th the previous season and champions the next. The important thing is there is now a positive trend in building a stronger side.

    We must be candid to ourselves. We can’t match Man U financially (even though we finished ahead of them). Neither can we match R. Madrid or Barca. Nor the sugar daddy teams of City, Chls or PSG. Chls owes Abramovitch about £1B. Their long term future looks bleak. I don’t want that of Arsenal, because I love Arsenal. But we are now striding nearly abreast of the mighty Baryern, possibly the best scientifically run club in the world and hopefully we would soon be abreast of them too, on the field. I know some will quote two 45 minutes collapses to debunk this last statement. I don’t reckon with aberrations in stats.

    I am optimistic that Kroenke is ready to spend sustainably (not foolishly), because he knows that Arsenal is one of the few teams in Europe competing in the relatively virgin global market, where gains that make the money roll in, are achieved through sporting success. Possibly very different from what it is in the US where teams have basically local tribal fan bases that are, relatively speaking, less affected by sporting fortunes. (HT, I need your opinion here). Kroenke believe you me, is smart.

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    Seventeenho, agreed re spending for the sake of it. Wenger has always refused to do this. I believe the club have put money aside for a year like this and expect us to spend between 50-100m once more. Good point about controlling the wage bill, that’s where the real risks are, both financially and in terms of fairness to all key players. Nobody likes to be better but paid less than their colleagues.

    Look forward to your views on Alexis leaving being good for the team. 🤓

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    PE, good comment.

    With our model we CAN match everyone, but we must be patient, as per your Rome analogy. There’s a lot of competition in the PL, and nobody can dominate it anymore by just money alone. That is good. We have a good team and a deep squad, with plenty of growth to come. Another quality attacker and we are good to go.

  9. njk84sg says:

    We have to keep Alexis at all costs. Mesut’s situation is less complicated: give him what he wants and we will tie him down for a few more years.

    We have to spend more, which is a given due to the inflated market prizes of the players, and it does not seem that we will get as much quality compared to Alexis, but maybe we can prise one of Real’s players or Barca’s players for cheap and if Arda Turan’s rumours were true, it will be good for the team to make a step up and get another world class defender.

    PE, you are right about us unable to match what the other big clubs are doing, and with a deficit in not playing in the UCL further limiting us, we are unable to match dollar for dollar for top players. Maybe we will get a couple of players with Le Prof’s charms, which is just about right.

    I will have another comment on Kolasinac later on.

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    What is also interesting is that I cannot see any super stars entering the scene after Messi and Ronaldo, who have carried their very good team mates with their very special talents. Picking the right squad and playing the best team football is what wins the big prices going forward, as indeed has been the case in the PL for a while now. Aguero and Sanchez, Kane and Lukaku scored a lot of goals in the PL last season but won sweet nothing. Costa and also Hazard scored a lot of ‘three points’ goals for the team and then the team held on. A mixture of strong team play with a bit of decisive quality goes a very long way. A quality attacker for Theo may be all we need now.

  11. njk84sg says:

    TA, who do you reckon we have as a cover for Alexis? On the left side of attack we have Iwobi and Ox if we are able to keep Bells from leaving. We need another player to come in.

    It seems that Kolasinac can be deployed as a left wing back or at the left of a 3 man defense. He seems like what we have been missing for a while: a solid defensive and attacking player. Even better than Nacho due to his size.

    JK

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    An extra attacker would be great 84. If Alexis is injured, we can play Ollie central and Welbeck, Perez or Iwobi on the left. If he were to leave, we would a quality new signing.

  13. allezkev says:

    Route 66 used to be one of my favourites 17tino.
    Bonanza, The Untouchables, Lassie, to name but a few.

    Fathers Day here in the U.K. so it’s gonna be a busy family time.

  14. njk84sg says:

    Happy Father’s Day to all fathers here guys 🙂

  15. aryana70 says:

    thanks njk84sg,and same to u if u r one
    on the issue of our club,lets face it and review our performance in past season,in almost none of the games,with very few exceptions we never saw high morale,and no surprise that.when u c Arsene’s twisted-in-agony face most of the time on the bench,his childish,stubborn,non-sensical justifications all the time,never acknowledging that there is a massive problem in this club,doesn’t give me any reason to be optimistic,with all due respect to fellow Gooners who r optimistic about the coming season,firstly,100 mil is not enough for this team,at least twice that amount is needed to bring about any meaningful and real change.Arsene is clearly too out of his element to start changing the way he thinks at this stage of his life,in the end he shall collect his wage and we will suffer,just like the past decade.i love the 97-06 Wenger,but thats history,we live in the present and Kroenke-Wenger 2017 is futile and non-productive.if Arsene did the right thing and left,then Kroenke would be left exposed,and the natural pressure that would ensue,would leave him no choice but to sell(to commited fellows,say Usmanov 4 example)or start spending 4 leave.that said,ARSENAL,FOREVER

  16. Admir says:

    Hello, people. 🙂

    I don’t think Wenger would have signed a new contract if he wasn’t promised a decent budget to attack the Premier League title. If examples of post-Ferguson Manchester United and post-Rafa Liverpool are anything to go by, I reckon Wenger can persuade Stan The Leach to spend money quickly. It’s easy to get out of the Champions League but getting Champions League place back is a slow and expensive process.

    We have to keep both Sanchez & Ozil in order to avoid a landslide of AC Milan since they lost Zlatan Ibrahimović and Thiago Silva to PSG. Plus, it’s more reasonable to spend money on wages to keep your world-class players than to spend money on fees and wages to get world-class players from other clubs.

    Now, I would accept losing Sanchez only if we get Griezmann (not going to happen), Mbappe & Lemar (not going to happen) or Hazard (yeah, right). Neymar, Suarez, Messi, Ronaldo and Bale are untouchable anyway. Everyone else (Mahrez, Lacazette, even Aubameyang) would be a serious downgrade from Sanchez.

    I don’t know why Arda Turan is mentioned among the players who would be a good signing for Arsenal. He talked badly about Arsenal, is a 31-year-old and was crap in Barcelona. Don’t want him near Emirates.

  17. njk84sg says:

    Aryana70, nah. I am not a father. Not even close.

    We need someone who is 100% committed to the team and his teammates, Admir, but what the top players might not always do. Look at Ibrahimovic. He is a perfect example of a lazy top footballer.

    So, I would take a lesser graded player with eagerness to win.

    Talking about Turan, looks like you have been following his performances with Barca. I have yet to watch any vids about him, so I cannot comment for now.

    JK

  18. Admir says:

    @njk

    As his CV proves, Ibrahimović is a winner. PSG couldn’t win a one-horse league without him. Man United can thank him for winning something last season. He knows football. He is a bit of a dirt-bag but he is top quality.

    Same goes for Sanchez. He scores, he assists, he fights for the team. He doesn’t care if Arsenal manager would be Wenger or Mrs Sanchez – he fights like his life depends on it. He can “overtry” a bit but he can do it as long as he provides 40+ goals through scoring and assisting.

    Plus, he scores goals in big games.

  19. Waldo says:

    Really topical post 17. For me, I think it is inevitable that Arsenal will have to pay inflated transfer fees and wages to new recruits. I attribute this to the sheer volume of money top Premier League clubs earn versus the relatively low revenue of foreign clubs they are often buying from. That said I don’t think the club has or intends to intentional change its recruitment strategy to pursue players whose transfer ‘value’ is higher than the amount of money spent on past or current players. I think it is merely a bi-product of irrational market forces.

    At the same time, I think the escalation of transfer fees and wages greatly frustrates Wenger who, by in large, has demonstrated himself to be a conservative spender. So I’m not expecting Arsenal to break any transfer records in this transfer window.

    To be honest I’m complete fine with that as there are still numerous excellent and ‘more reasonably affordable’ players competing in the top leagues in Europe who could really improve Arsenal’s on field performances in particular positions.

    Targeting those players (e.g. Mustafi and Perez) is an aspect where Wenger has improved (thanks to the club pinching one of Leicester’s leading player analysts and the integration of the StatsDNA database into the club’s recruitment practice). That said, there are still further improvements Arsenal can make to their recruitment approach in order to avoid targeting players who have proven largely ineffective at executing the inherent requirements of the position they are recruited for (e.g. Ospina, Elneny, Welbeck, Ramsey).

    For that to occur I think Wenger needs to balance his urge to buy players that he likes the look of with:
    – the specific needs of the team; and
    – whether the prospective player has (over a number of season) demonstrated that they possess the skill profile that directly aligns with the inherent requirements of individual position within Arsenal’s chosen formation, that the player would be playing in if recruited.

    Arsenal’s central midfield is a great example of where Wenger hasn’t got this balance right and the result has been a cohort of players very few of whom possess the necessary skill profile. Of Ramsey, Coquelin, Cazorla, Elneny, Wilshere and Xhaka, only Xhaka comes close possessing the necessary mix of transitional skills (long range passing and dribbling) and defensive skills to effectively fulfill the inherent requirement of that particular position.

    Whether that is a fault of recruitment or simple tactical indecisiveness is open to debate. But it does seem like Arsenal buy a player and then spend a significant time trying to figure out what to do with him after the fact. I think the Gunners should investigate changing tack a little and nailing the melody before they start on the lyrics. Make the plan and then buy the players that fit it.

    If that plan continues to be the 3421 system that Wenger introduced at the end of last season, then a quick survey of the top 5 leagues in Europe highlights a number of players that could improve Arsenal’s effectiveness in that setup without the need for Arsenal to break club or world transfer records. The next step is simply one of decisiveness.

  20. henrychan says:

    Hi all.. Hi 17ht.. another great post..

    Before we talk about transfer.. let’s talk about formation.. Will Wenger continue his new form.. a 3-4-3..
    Let’s assume it is.. So will be easy for us to predict who will come or go..

    Let’s start with our forward..
    I’m agree with Admir about Ibra Kadabra.. he is a very strong and lethal striker.. one of my favourite.. If we get him, then I believe Sanchez won’t go and we will be more dangerous in front..
    But 380k a week is something that never meet our system.. hehehe.. unless he want to reduce half of that..
    Giroud is a good striker also.. Just don’t get it why he can’t perform more that he could like he did with France..
    4 years is more than enough to know what he can give us.. he won’t be our Van Persei..
    Welbeck is the same.. I doubt he can give us more goals than before..
    If Perez start as CF next season.. I think he will be great..
    But Fans will surely want another new and expensive player.. ones like Mbappe.. hehehe..
    But what so great with 15 goals and 8 assist.. Thauvin did exactly the same.. hehehe.. I will go for Lacazette for half of Mbappe price..
    But I think we can turn to Bundesliga to find who will Wenger bring.. cause he like Bundesliga verymuch this last two years.. hehehe.. Aubemeyang and Lewandoski will be top of the list.. but Reus will be great.. Although hard to see it become real.. hehehe..
    I will happy enough if we bring Ibra for free.. and give him a proportional fee.. maybe let say 300k.. Let’s count.. 300k a week mean 15,6M a years.. worthed enough I think.. hehehe..

    Who else will we bring..?? Let’s talk about Midfield.. Will it be Rodrigeuz..?? We bring someone from Madrid and Barca before.. why can’t we now..?? hehehe.. but he will only come if Sanchez go.. So no for me..
    We have been link with Seri and Bakayoko.. but I still prefer Strottman and Nainggolan to come.. best DM this current years..
    If they can play along Xhaka.. Ramsey can be a subs for Ozil..

    Last.. Are we strong enough in the back..?? Assume that RWB already fill with Bell and Ox.. and we got Sead and Monreal for LWB.. So the question is.. do we still need another CB..?? Is Holding alone will be enough.. because we still have Monreal and Sead who can also play as a CB..??

    If it is so.. then we only need to get a CF and one DM.. And with 150M cash.. we can bring very special players.. hehehe.. VCC

  21. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey fellas, thanks for the comments… As always, it’s very interesting to hear the different ideas people have when it comes to spending…

    I’m not sure, however, if they help me very much when it comes to figuring out what’s really gonna happen. So many of our ideas seem to be led by small little statements that are then conflated into possibilities which might fit our preferred narratives…

    What is interesting is that–for some at least–there does seem a bit of shift (this summer) away from using our money for transfers in towards using it to retain the services of our current players who have only one season left on their contracts, including our “best” player, Alexis Sanchez, and a couple who divide opinion, Mesut Ozil and the Ox. It’s far less exciting to spend your millions in this manner but it also makes the money go a lot further AND you (more or less) know what you’re getting (for better and for worse, however)…

    So, let’s say we bump Alexis up to 300K/week, Ozil to 200 and the Ox to 100… or (approx.) 15, 10 and 5 million pounds–per season–for each guy. That’s “only” 30 million pounds (for next season) but several times those figures (multiply by the length of the contract…) in the longer term. The down side, however, is that–with these guys–we finished fifth in the league and were well defeated in the CL elims, etc., etc… In other words, literally speaking, we already drain down our resources w/o “improving” the team…

    So, what is needed to actually improve the team? Waldo’s idea of cheap buys from all over Europe who can fulfill specific roles in our playing roles? Just look at the stats and get ’em in–while moving on ineffective players (Ramsey, Coquelin, Elneny, Cazorla, Wilshere…and that’s just looking at the MF)… If only it were that easy, surely we’d already be doing it… That’s the thing about contracts, you give them out and then you have to pay them–or get some other club to do the same. In other words, this isn’t fantasy football. If we deem them as ineffective, we’re (probably) stuck with them…

    In the end, I think we probably can improve the team by bringing in two or three quality players and retaining most of our best guys. Kolasinac, on a free, excites just about no one, but, if he’s worth his 150k/week, he could be a very good addition (as might, to some at least, be Ibrahimovic on an outlandish salary of some sort, but also costing zero in transfer fees…)

    The initial flurry of (reported) offers and rejections (mostly…) seems to have quieted down, at least a bit. Now we have to wait and see where the rest of the money goes… Like I say above, I’m reasonably hopeful that we CAN strengthen our team this summer, most likely by buying younger players who are a bit “under the radar” but have good potential. Does that mean it’s all about the spending? Probably not… Will it (whatever we spend) be enough to satisfy everyone? I have no doubt about the answer to that one…

  22. 17highburyterrace says:

    There’s something else I’ve been meaning to say, esp. to our London based Gooners…

    That is some rough stuff happening in London… First the Grenfell tower fire whose smoke must’ve been visible to just about everybody (and where the death toll only keeps rising) and then last night’s attack very near the Arsenal stadium, in an area I know I’ve walked so it must be a familiar one to those supporters who get to see the matches in the stadium. Anyhow, my thoughts are with you. Maybe worrying about our football team is a nice distraction, but maybe we also shouldn’t lose perspective when it’s clearly not a life and death affair…

  23. allezkev says:

    Some really interesting comments for a topical post…

    I’d be quite surprised if Alexis stayed, Arsene can say all he likes about his contract and that he has a year left, he said similar about Robin Van Persie. Kroenke isn’t going to let Sanchez leave for nix in 12 months time, not a £50/£60m investment.
    Despite the Sanchez saga I think we have a very good squad that doesn’t need a lot, replacing the goals Alexis scores is going to be the only fly in the ointment.
    Arsene has 2 years on his new contract, but there’s no guarantee that he’s going to see it out if the team have a stuttering start and the fans turn against him and Kroenke himself.

  24. allezkev says:

    Cheers 17tino, it’s been a difficult last few months here in Blighty, but we’re quite a stoic mob over ‘ere mate.

    17tino I get the feeling that despite Arsene wanting to stay in complete control of everything, that he’s had to make a few compromises behind the scenes. I believe that there are some differences about the direction the club has been taking and Kroenke has had to maybe smooth things over, so the opening few months of next season are imo vital to Wenger staying in charge…

    Just a hunch guys…

  25. Admir says:

    “Now we have to wait and see where the rest of the money goes… Like I say above, I’m reasonably hopeful that we CAN strengthen our team this summer, most likely by buying younger players who are a bit “under the radar” but have good potential. Does that mean it’s all about the spending? Probably not… Will it (whatever we spend) be enough to satisfy everyone? I have no doubt about the answer to that one…”

    If we buy younger players with potential to replace Alexis and Özil, we will set ourselves a path to firm sixth, maybe even seventh place (depending on what Koeman is going to do with Everton). If you haven’t noticed, Premier League divided to Premier League I (from Chelsea to Everton) and Premier League II (from Southampton to Sunderland). The gap between two tiers within the same division was 15 points.

    In that brave new world, Arsenal have to cement their place in the higher parts of Premier League I. We can say Liverpool finished above us thanks to no European games. We can say Tottenham had their swansong at White Hart Lane and that next season will be very difficult for them even if they have a new Lampard (Alli) and a new Shearer (Kane) in their ranks. Chelsea will also have another front and Hazard will be out for the opening games.

    That leaves us with Man United and Man City, both clubs with bottomless pockets but also with quite a few issues in their team to address (Man United – a striker, a central midfielder, a left back; Man City – both full-backs, a central defender, a central midfielder).

    If Arsenal keep the current squad, it will be a first step towards the league title.

  26. retsub1 says:

    17HT. Thanks for your kind thoughts. As you say it puts other things into perspective. With regard to transfers, frankly I get fed up with hearing about it. I have had my heart broken (slight exageration) on an number of occasions,(Stapleton, RVP, Cesc, Vieira, Cashley). Normally when I have been away on holiday.

    I do think the team needs a leader and I don’t think that is Kos. Xhaka if he can maintain self discipline might be a candidate

    The only thing that will bother me is if we haven’t learnt from previous experience and do all our transfer activity on the last day..

  27. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey Kev… Cheers for the comments… Stay safe out there, but maybe that’s easier for you as you’re not (often) a pedestrian…

    I agree with all your points. AW definitely needs a good start next season AND he will need to pull in at least one, if not two or three, exciting signings if we lose Alexis, which I think is what’s gonna go down. Having him play out his contract then losing him on a free–and likely to an English rival–would be a far worse outcome. Additionally, while his “30 goals” is an impressive stat (the same as Adebayor the year we sold him to City…) I think his style of play takes away from our overall effectiveness, so it may not be that hard to replace them (the goals) though they’re sure to be spread around a bit more. Again, this might be a topic for another post…

    Hard to say about behind the scenes operations at the club. It’s almost implicit in the title of this blog that Bergkamp might be a good addition in some sort of coaching capacity even if he can’t be in the technical area. The basketball team (Golden State Warriors) did pretty well with the head coach missing a lot of time on the bench due to health issues… In my view, AW needs to show the support that he’s aware he cannot go on forever. Kroenke and the board aren’t in the “stock goes down, fire the CEO” camp, which is usually only good for a momentary blip. Like I say, it’s hard to know, but there should be some murmurs, esp. if the SPENDING(!!!!) seems slow to happen…

  28. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hi Retsub,

    The Kroenke/Wenger axis seems part and parcel of that sort of final day brinksmanship. Punters say, “push out the boat,” but, in a business, it’s all about the bottom line. Playing Holding and Chambers at CB in that opener vs ‘Pool still stings, however. The year we sold both Cesc and Nasri we also lost at home early to Pool despite keeping sad Samir until the end of the window… Hard to say, and margins, as always, are fine…

    Other owners (many who’ve made their billions on the backs of petroleum products + indentured labor) need or want better publicity and big signings (debt spending) is the way to go. I don’t think our guys really care about such things. Regardless, a section of the support are so embittered that they’ll never be happy no matter how much we spend…

    So, spend wisely and hope it works out seems the best way to go… Overall, considering the way the market has gone, I think AW has done more than a good job and will continue doing so this summer, hopefully convincing Kroenke to help him as he needs to be helped…

  29. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hi Admir… I kind of missed your comment in there between the London guys…

    So, keep Ozil and Alexis, maybe win the league… Lose them and 6th or 7th is our level… What happens if we lose one but not the other? I’m pretty sure I know which of the two you would prefer to have stay… Unfortunately, it seems that if we keep just one of them it might very well be the other guy…

    I’m glad you seem hopeful… (Though, of course, high hopes are sometimes not realized, which can lead to disappointment…)

    We’ll just have to wait and see what happens, I guess…

  30. allezkev says:

    17tino, I suspect that although Arsene has fought his corner and retained his technical team whilst also fighting off his perceived threat posed by a technical director/director of football, I think maybe that he’s had to give way in some other areas, and tbh I’d much prefer that he didn’t concern himself with contracts, wages, transfers etc and concentrated on coaching, tactics and such like.
    It’s what he produces on the pitch that will decide his future rather than all the other ‘stuff’…

    Yes, I am lucky in that I have the freedom to avoid situations and escape from others unlike pedestrians and passengers on public transport or spectators etc, although I was a tad concerned about my son and his friends at the cup final.
    Mate, the best answer to those sick people is to carry on as normally as you can. And I do… 🙂

  31. henrychan says:

    news.arseblog.com/2017/06/wenger-giroud-has-qualities-we-need/?utm_source=feedburner.com/arseblognews&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed: arseblognews (Arseblog News – the Arsenal news site)

    Do we agree with him..??

  32. henrychan says:

    news.arseblog.com/2017/06/wenger-giroud-has-qualities-we-need/

    Sorry.. re-post

  33. henrychan says:

    Sorry for unsuccessful copy-paste post.. hehehe.. Lets talk about it for a while.. Is itî true..?? Will that mean Wenger want to keep Giroud for another season..??

    I start to compare him to Benzema at Madrid.. He didn’t score a lot, yet he got his position as a CF.. although Madrid have Marota and Asensio..
    Ronaldo is their superstar.. just like Sanchez for us..
    In Barca.. who play the CF..?? Suarez isn’t it?

    So I think.. Wenger won’t bring someone to compete Sanchez.. He will bring somebody who can make Sanchez a better players.. If not he will continue to keep Giroud in that position..

    Sanchez said Ozil is his best partner.. So if Ozil stay, I hope Sanchez also..
    And will Sead Kolasinac a good company to Sanchez..?? I hope so..

  34. henrychan says:

    TA.. will it be a new post to celebrate 22years Bergkamp arrived to Highbury.. today..??

  35. 17highburyterrace says:

    I don’t know about a Bergkamp post, Henry… That would be one for TA and I fear he’s quite busy right now…

    In the meantime, we’ve got one from Pony Eye…

    New Post…

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