Reports surfaced this morning quoting Ivan Gazidis, Arsenal’s Chief Executive, as saying the club could spend in excess of £20m on transfer fees and £200,000 a week on wages for a single player, but only if Arsène Wenger wants to.
There have been whispers protruding from the Emirates stadium for a while that the Arsenal hierarchy are looking to spend big this summer. Arsenal fans will have to see it to believe it, though, as similar promises have been made before.
Last summer, Santi Cazorla, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski were brought in for a combined fee of around £37m, but the spending was overshadowed by the loss of prize asset Robin Van Persie to Manchester Utd.
It is that which has hampered Arsenal’s chances of winning silverware. Not so much a reluctance to spend money, but the inability to keep key players due to a ‘lack of ambition’ and strengthen the squad as a result.
However, these latest quotes will be a welcome read for Arsenal fans for two main reasons. The first being that no key players are set to leave this summer, which will allow Wenger to focus most of his energy in the transfer market on signing new players, as opposed to negotiating deals that will see players walk away from North London. Arsenal fans will also be spared the long transfer saga’s that ultimately end in heartbreak.
The second reason is that this time, these claims are believable. In recent seasons the money wasn’t there to be thrown at new signings and large contracts, the money was being invested and reserved in order to pay off the debts for the Emirates stadium as quickly as possible. Money that was raised by selling players such as Van Persie, Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.
This summer, on top of a new kit deal reported to be worth around £150m, it is now believed that the stadium is all but paid off, freeing up the funds the fans desperately want to see utilised and invested into real quality and talent. In previous seasons, despite growing ever more hopeful throughout the summer, disappointment was always expected. Now however, it is more than likely this money really will be spent.
Keeping that in mind, as always there is a ‘but’, and that but lies with Arsène Wenger. Despite Gazidis’s claims of being able to top £200,000 on a single players wages, he reverted back to saying that ultimately, the decision lies with the manager.
It is no secret that value for money is an important aspect for Wenger when looking to sign a new player. Similar to every summer, Arsenal get linked to a number of big name players. This summer’s collection currently includes stars such as Gonzalo Higuain, Stevan Jovetic and Marouane Fellaini, but the main point of interest at the moment is Manchester Utd striker Wayne Rooney. Higuain and Jovetic would add a lot of quality to the current Arsenal side, but Wayne Rooney brings what the others do not, the much sought after ‘Premier League experience’.
If what Ivan Gazidis has said is true, Arsenal can afford to agree personal terms with Rooney, which would include a weekly wage of at least £200,000 a week. What it is now dependant on however, is whether or not Arsène Wenger feels he is worth spending that amount of money on. Is he value for money?