The vultures are circling the Emirates
So what are the possible solutions and outcomes? Here are three:
1. Arsenal carry on as they are, lose a few players and bring a few new faces in. They stay in or around the top four, financial fair play kicks in, they become more stable and as the stadium is paid off, they are able to offer amongst the highest wages on the planet, attracting quality players and future success.
2. The club invests money now and pay their established players the wages needed to keep them. They invest heavily in new players such as M’Vila, Hazard and Benzema and continue to be competitive domestically and on the continent.
3. Kroenke stubbornly refuses to step up and take some responsibility for his team. They don’t respond to the financial market and in doing so they drop away from the top of the league. They can’t compete financially and lose all their best players and so don’t stay competitive. The loss of additional revenues slows the mortgage repayment and it takes Arsenal many years before they are stable enough to challenge again.
There are many more permutations and possibilities. However, these are the big three. Carry on as is and succeed, increase short-term investment and succeed, or fail to respond to the market and in doing so set the club back as many as five to ten years.
What makes this such a horrible predicament is the choices that it presents.
Do Arsenal abandon their principles – the very principles that make it the envy of every responsibly run club in the world and throw cash at their problems? Or do they stick to their guns and hope?
This supporter would like to think that they can weather the storm and turn things around before it gets too bad.
Arsenal are a great club, and given their ethical approach to the financial side of the game, they should be applauded.
FIFA and UEFA should be doing more to make sure that clubs that stick to budget are rewarded on the field. The current suggestion is that UEFA will ban overspending clubs from playing Champions League football. We can’t expect the big clubs to take expulsion from European competitions laying down, they’ll just form a new ‘super’ league, fracturing the sport beyond repair. Financial penalties for irresponsible clubs are never going to work; I think points deductions for serious offenders is the only way it’s ever going to change the game.
Arsenal has some decisions to make. Do they stick or twist? Do they stand by their principles or move with the times? One thing is for sure, next season is going to be crucial for the Gunners. Even if they don’t win a trophy this season, they’ve still got to keep moving the club forward, because without momentum they might just go off the rails.
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