London’s biggest soccer club not counting Chelsea and possibly Spurs is at it again. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger spends a lot of time talking about why the club doesn’t spend money. Make all those comparisons to friends and loved ones that like to talk about why they don’t go ahead and spend the money. You know, the kind of things super clubs do each and every summer in order to stay so super.
Meanwhile, there’s Arsenal. The Gunners’ budget constraints are a new constant. That includes trying to figure out why those constraints even exist. Sure, Arsenal built a new stadium but they’re adept at maximizing it’s revenue. That’s a polite way of saying that Londoners and tourists are more than willing to spend whatever the club asks for tickets.
Who has the highest season ticket prices in the Premier League? Well, it’s not Manchester United, City, Liverpool, Chelsea… go ahead and add any team not playing at the Emirates because it’s Arsenal. Their stadium is the second biggest in the league, giving them a revenue stream advantage other clubs lack. There’s that Emirates naming rights deal. There’s the apparel deal with Puma. There’s the cut of the Premier League TV deal, the Champions League revenue, and everything else that supports a super club.
Still, Arsenal holds onto the idea that they’ve got no choice but to be careful with their spending. Remember the recent era of preparing for Financial Fair Play? The Premier League equivalent of Y2K had only one team fully committed to slotting in under the new rules for spending. Our friends Arsenal, playing a game that ended up not counting. UEFA caved on full enforcement of FFP, leaving Arsenal with a few seasons worth of excuses evaporating while their rivals went ahead and spent the money.
So Wenger’s latest attempt to explain his response to the current state of the transfer market? Not a lot of surprises for anybody paying attention.
“Why do you say I’m reluctant, I don’t understand that?,” he said. “If I buy you tomorrow for £45m that means I’ve bought you for £45m, have I done well? Yes, if I listen to you, I will have done well because I spent the money. That is not a quality, buying a top player, that is different – and we are ready to do that. I spend £300m if I find the player and if I have the £300m. Not to forget as well that we are a club who has 600 employees who we need to have a responsible attitude for as well. It’s a bit surprising that you come out of football games and you don’t speak about football, you have to speak about money. I believe that you have to respect the players who play, the performance that has been done today by those teams and if you find players who can strengthen our team, then we are not reluctant to spend the money.”
Shocked looks, that response is causing problems. ESPN FC’s Tony Evans tries to explain Wenger’s focus on value in the transfer market. SB Nation’s Sam Pilger shifts the focus to Wenger’s eventual exit as manager of Arsenal. The Telegraph’s Jeremy Wilson on the latest transfer hiccup for Arsenal. Inside World Football’s Paul Nicholson explains why increased capacity for West Ham games is already creating issues while looking at the percentage of capacity figures across the Premier League.
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