Arsenal’s FFP Promised Land Under Threat

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Ivan has his FFP Aretha moment: I say a little prayer for youuuuuu

It could only happen in football. Barefaced cheek or ‘more front than Sainsbury’s’ how we would describe it. Only in football.

I have long-held the view that Uefa’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations are not going to achieve anything beyond making the rich clubs positions in the Champions League more secure. Laudable though the aims are, sensible even, as with everything in football, FFP has become a hotchpotch of rules and disallowables whereby a £200m loss can be viewed as a marginal failure to meet the rolling targets. And in any case, so long as £200m becomes £180m next season, there is no reason to worry because the loss is heading towards break-even so everyone is happy.

Except the agents.

And one of them has decided that enough is enough. Break-even equates to FFP – and all the domestic equivalents – curbing his ability to earn money since there will be transfer fee stagnation at the very best. Heaven forbid he might have to get a proper job. Never fear, Dupont is here. The man who made Jean-Marc Bosman a household surname, has flicked his peek-a-boo roots, re-applied the white stripe across his nose and proclaimed himself the dandy highwayman who will save the day. That previous ruling saw the seismic power-shift from club to player, contributing significantly to the salaries on offer now and the rampant transfer fee inflation in the past two decades. There was a balance to be had, you had to look quickly to see it as we ploughed past it at the speed of light.

Uefa probably thought that getting the EU to sanction this scenario was enough but they had not reckoned with the greed of Man. Or to what depths football agents will stoop to ensure that they get paid beyond leaching from players salaries. 20% of an ongoing wage? If the players are stupid enough to pay it, that is their lookout, I suppose.

It rather puts Arsenal’s hopes in a different light. FFP is the saviour, the moment the club was going to see its sensible business model bear fruit. But in football, commonsense is a commodity in short supply, heavily outweighed by greed. Most likely, Arsenal will not be able to compete with Manchester United in the foreseeable future, even with a dramatic shifting in fortunes. Their revenues continue to far outstrip Arsenal’s and most likely, always will. As a result they will always be able to top any wage offer made to a player in a direct competition between the two clubs. Even then the underlying problem will be signing the players in the first place with the respective spending power diverging. This Summer will see if Arsenal are in the next tier down; will they spend the cash available or are the philosophies which curtailed the transfer dealings whilst Ashburton Grove was being built, now so ingrained that they are the club’s natural way of thinking?

That is FFP at its basest level for supporters; transfer spend. And to be honest, that is all the average fan cares about in those terms. Can Arsenal build a squad through purchases, mixed with existing and younger players coming through. Too often the demand for spending is reduced to soundbites, wanting players we know the club cannot afford to sign. Arsène was absolutely right in last Summer’s window, replacing van Persie with one player was impractical, two have more or less sufficed. That has turned a perceived weakness – reliance on one player – into a strength with a number of scorers contributing to a similar goals tally. This time around, demands are made to sign a player who will cost the same as last year’s total spend. They strike me as fanciful as the notion that the squad does not need strengthening.

Arsenal have promulgated a theory that the Promised Land is around the corner. We do not know what the transfer budget is, the issue clouded because (rightly) Arsenal will not announce their budget and it is a sum of money mixed with contract renewals. The received wisdom is £70m is available, an educated guess from other sources. The power of the internet is identified with the ready acceptance of this amount. Whether it is true or not, we shall see. It is believable because we want it to be true, the club permitting the perception of wealth with new commercial deals which we are told are front-loaded with cash. A dangerous backlash awaits if this proves to be a false notion, you can see it coming.

Jean-Louis Dupont argues that football will restrict owner investment. There are plenty who show that the investment models lead to the competitive imbalance he rails against; Manchester City with their unholy losses to Malaga where the failure of their wealthy owners to pay bills has led to a Uefa ban. Arguably, Kroenke (and by extension, Usmanov) are pointless club owners; Arsenal could be owned by anyone so long as they followed the current business model, with problems only arising if it failed. If Uefa’s nemesis is once more successful in his fight, Arsenal will once more find themselves mired in a fight against overwhelming wealth. What then for either major shareholder?

’til Tomorrow.

80 thoughts on “Arsenal’s FFP Promised Land Under Threat

  1. Hi yogi, great post, always looking at Arsenal issues in a different way. Nice job.

    On the transfer issues, I am probably wrong but I would actually like to see more of the same quality as last years dealings but from current prem players. The squad needs tweaking but we need players to hit the ground running. If we are going to have to pay a premium I would like to see it spent on players already with a handle on the pace and endurance needed in EPL.

    Who is behind Duponts moves I wonder. Speaking up for the position of owner investment. I am cynical. He may be just a Chancer?

  2. Grim

    I think he’s enjoyed two high profile victories against Uefa and has a taste for it. It might have been that he genuinely supported Bosman’s motives from a philosophical point of view but now, questionable, especially on this one which is just outright greed on the part of the agent, on the face of it.

  3. Excellent piece Yogi really interesting read, FFP is still very much in the air, i personally can’t see it ever seeing the light of day.
    The wealthy powerful clubs are bound to find loopholes in the system even if it did come in, they would also take it to the high court pleading if unfair as you should be able to spend what you like as long as it does not lead to debt which City and Chelsea would clearly be able to do.

  4. Indeed YW.

    He could be a moth lured once more towards the bright lights, many a downfall going back one more time!
    Your points about previous victories proves he measures his battles.
    UEFA have proved time and again whatever their initial good intentions they follow the money.

    Cheers

  5. Hello everyone,

    Great post as usual Yogi.

    I can’t help wondering if anything will change at all with FFP, although the EU isn’t used to being circumvented.

    Even so the regularisation of finances within our own model won’t disadvantage us as much as recently. Look – for example – at Dortmund… big gates but they have to sell their two top players to their main rivals right before the CL Cup Final against the very same team! They’re probably spitting more than we ever have or will.

    Neither have we the most anxious team. I’ve just come back from Barcelona (why I haven’t commented for weeks) and if you think we’re worried you should talk to them.

    Meanwhile, I’m an optimist. A Chels win tomorrow and a demoralised draw at Stoke and beating Wigan might be enough for 4th, and if Chelsea – having qualified – decide to concentrate on Europa League final… who knows….

    COYG

  6. Arsenal have been outgunned by MU on the pitch and off it.The thinking behind the ES was to close the gap in terms of gate receipts. Though there is a gap,it has been closed significantly
    The problem is on the pitch the gunners aint successful at all.If the gunners had been winning trophies every year or every other season,think of the sponsors generating cash.The sponsors could have added more dough but only if you are successful.
    In the years to come if they aint successful sponsors won’t be so generous.So the onus is on Wenger to produce a team that can compete otherwise the gap with MU will turn into a chasm.

  7. Ffp aside we can compete and Grim I agree with you there US enough quality in the epl to really make a difference although lewandoski would be great 🙂

  8. Delano irrespective of the Spud result we will win our next two games to guarantee champions league footy.

  9. FFP will succeed, although maybe not as strongly as we’d wish. If it were done away with by the likes of Dupont, UEFA would find themselves liable to enormous litigation from owners who bought clubs after UEFA had officially announced FFP and who would stand to lose huge sums if FFP is not enforced properly, and would be passing the enormous bill onto UEFA.
    The fact is that the vast majority of the clubs are in favour of FFP.

  10. Gunner

    Whether the clubs are in favour or not is irrelevant. If the ECJ finds FFP illegal, it’s done, dusted and out of the window.

    I doubt Uefa will be worried about the new owners of clubs since FFP was postulated since they are the buggers who are spending like there is no tomorrow!!

  11. YW – Interesting write up.

    To be honest, I have never given much hope to FFP. In theory it would benifit us, but in reality there will be loopholes. And with clubs having expert legal advice, they will find ways and means to still benfit from their sugardaddies. Money makes the workd go round and we simply don’t have as much as some clubs.

    All that said, I still believe when our finances even out we can compete. We can never match the likes of Manure and City, we if we can offer significantly better financial packages to players we would recruit/retain better quality of player. We can compete on the pitch.

  12. We are now well below the ‘hyped teams and as such, just like Atletico and Bilbao in the Spanish League we can kiss goodbye to winning the Premier League for some time to come.

    Longer term if the Sheiks rattle and Russian heads role we may find we are one of the only teams at the top not in administration, but until that time if we want to win Trophies we had better emulate our rich, but ‘poor’ London cousins who ridiculously can still end up with European silverware this season.

  13. For all of my life as an Arsenal supporter we have operated at a financial disadvantage to Manchester United, and at other long periods to Liverpool, to Spuds, Everton, Leeds and were outbid by comparative minnows such as Forest, Derby and even bloody Sheffield Wednesday (if anyone recalls Andy Sinton)

    However at no time during that long and illustrious period, during which we have won Championships and Cups, do I ever recall the claim that because we did not have the same £££££££ as rivals that were were incapable of competing or challenging.

    We are probably better and more securely funded now than at any time in our history. We need to turn that comparative advantage into points, not whinge about FFP or oil money or any of the other diversions.

  14. Anicoll – That is very true, but the footballing landscape has changed a bit since then. AW used to be way in front of our competition when it came to acquiring untapped talent. Scouting networks have improved so much in the past ten years there are not many “undiscovered gems” hiding around the world nowadays.

  15. Interesting post YW. Your probably right. Alas, it’s the way of this world. “Fair play”?? such a notion would never really be allowed. I have to share some of Half Time Lemons optimism though, if only for the good of my health.

    There’s a light at the end of the tunnel folks…

    ..it’s an oncoming train.

    Anyway, here’s to Spurs getting a metaphorical rogering tomorrow night.

  16. Great post yogi

    I never really held much hope for FFP. Even with a financial disadvantage I think we can compete. I don’t think we will see a return of the duopoly that we saw in the early part of the Wenger years and I don’t think we will win 3 PL titles in 7 years but we can compete for trophies if we make that our goal again. I agree that the club has really hyped the next purple of years as the time when we return to the promised land with regard to spending. This will be an interesting summer. My own belief is that our habits have become so ingrained that for whatever reason we will only spend a small fraction of the 70M that is “available”. Will be an interesting summer.

  17. Good grief YW. The horror, the horror.

    Was it the mighty Alan Pardew who once used a, erm, badly misguided (to say the least) “rape” analogy to describe a tackle during some live BBC radio commentary? I believe it was. The utter plank.

    Though not quite plumbing Pardew’s depths, My analogy wasn’t the best either. Apologies.

    So, I hope Chelsea spank them. Metaphorically speaking.

    Coat.

  18. A fantastic write up Yogi,but it’s left me feeling a little depressed! Kronke & the Bond villain are indeed pointless owners,thank god Arsene’s there, now he is an Arsenal man.

  19. Fair point GoonerAndy the scouting production line that brought in some absolute gems has not been as efficient since 2005 and those that have arrived have been passing through only ( bastards)

    Always been interested how Athletico Madrid, Benfica and Porto seem to have first pick of young talent from South America before selling them on at a huge mark up after 2-3 seasons – our own efforts at landing young South American talent have been variable in outcome, to put it as neutrally as possible

  20. UEFA is not concerned about Arsenal or the Premier League – far from it.It strakjes me that FFP was conceived to protect Paris Saint Germain in European Football, which explains why the regulations have been so watered down now.

    FIFA on the other hand is just scum and is about as concerned for financial fair play as European governments were to return ‘Aryanised’ fortunes at the end of WWII.

    Life is anything but fair and we should not be hanging any hats on FFP. If we are really lucky we will reach the path that has been well trodden by other obscenely wealthy sports sooner rather than later – a salary cap.

  21. Very interesting Yogi but very good.

    I personally always had doubts and concerns but was always told it would work you, well guess not. Can we compete, ofcourse there is WAY to much talent but will well find it it lure them to you beloved club is the more important question.

  22. Anicoll – They are pretty good at it eh? I don’t think they have the work permit issues that we have in UK, which makes it ieasier to get them in (I think).

  23. Anicoll5, those players shall henceforth be known as ‘the passing through bastards’!

  24. It is also probably the attraction for a young South American player of speaking Portugese or Spanish GA – even so it does seem we are missing a trick there

  25. Clearly any new recruit from South American should be placed in lessons with whoever taught Adebayor to speak English – his 180-200 word per minute delivery is awesome

  26. Anicoll

    South Americans don’t require WPs in Spain (or are entitled to them, I think) except for the Brazilians, who get similar easygoing paperwork requirements from the Portuguese.

  27. Why all the pessimism? FFP play was never in reality gonna make a whole lot of difference despite what Arsens or Gazidis may have said I think they were trying to give it the kiss of life from the start.

    There are a group of players whom we either can’t or won’t compete for, but having said that,We have the fourth highest wages bill around and that should enable us to compete for a whole range of top players who would strengthen the squad and makes us competitive what we need to do is distribute the wage bill differently pay top money to the top talent and stop paying huge money for potential that may never be realised, this applies to players who come through the ranks of which there has been few there is room for improvement in this area.
    When young players have given consistent performance it should then be rewarded.

    I recall very little moaning or whingeing about anything when we were competitive and the product on the pitch was attractive, although I have more than my share of frustration with the manner in which we have sold our best players and their replacements.

    I have no problem finishing fourth if the points gap is six not 20+ and league over with seven games remaining.

    This Is Arsenal Football Club, a rich club, we have history, best ground anywhere (like it or not) play in a world class city.
    Things can only get better

  28. So were in advanced talks for Jovetic and thinking about Lewandowski(which i doubt).

    If Arsene does spend this supposed war chest will well still be complaining about FFP if well top quality players and mount it even winger silverware next year?

  29. FFP has never felt fair to me, so I guess I’m in the minority here in that that I actually agree with Dupont’s views.

    I get that if properly implemented, it would benefit us somewhat, but the fact that it essentially removes any chance of a currently small teams to compete in future doesnt sit right with me. Its protectionism, and like Dupont said, basically anti-competitie.

    There must be other ways to stop chav/city type spending. A more equitable redistibution of income for example is one way to go.

  30. The challenging of the FFP frame work makes some sense on certain levels. I think his points have some validation, that said I am not so naïve as to think he is not doing this for the love of the game. The same way government restrictions are watered down to suit certain conglomerate concerns, it is not about the what is good or indeed right; it is about money.

    I personally think there is an legitimate concern that FFP makes the road ahead for the less well established clubs much harder.

  31. Anicoll/Andy

    Workk permits hasn’t stopped us finding the good talent in South America. We’ve been able to work around he problem that by sending players on loan to Spain like we did for Wellington and are doing for Joel Cambell.
    The problem is the players we buy haven’t turned out to be as good as some of the stars Althetico Madrid have unearthed, although I’m sure they have their duds too. They do clearly have a more succusful scouting network.

  32. C – I wouldn’t be surprised. We rarely have our transfer businiess in the media until it is a done deal. Especially for a sought after player.

  33. Henristic – True, but it would make sense that they put more “effort” in as they have a player available immidiately.

  34. @GA

    Good point but well also are rarely going after a player for this amount as maybe things are a changing.

  35. C – Maybe so. He would be a great signing though. The lad looks a “player”.

  36. Why not share the TV revenues like they do in the NFL. Have a salary cap. The NFL also share all revenues from jersey’s caps and all the other stuff we buy to support our teams. Just an idea.

  37. I get the TV revenues and salary cap. But why should a club share their merchandise profits?

  38. Henristic – fair point that we have brought in some young talent but other than Denilson all the others had to go through a long, and to my mind mystifying, period of qualification in Spain. Al they all claiming to have a Spanish granny or something ?

    I found this from Scotland about the work permit rules which appear to say it is the governing body i.e. the FA who write the rules as well as the Home Office;

    http://sport.stv.tv/football/clubs/rangers/193378-explained-uk-work-permit-rules-for-footballers/

    At the risk of going all UKIP it may be that the FA and the Home Office’s attitude to issuing work permits is a bit different to Spain, Portugal Italy and even Holland.

  39. Anicoll,
    I’m not sure you get my point. I’ve taking the more stringent work permit situation in the UK for granted. I was saying that we’ve found away around it by loaning players to spanish clubs instead, in the hope that they perform well enough to play regularly for their national teams and thus qualify for the UK work permit.

    Problem of course is that it hasn’t quite worked out that way. Despite the initial hype, Wellington turned out to be a dissapointment. Joel Campbell seems to be a steady performer, but maybe not as eye catching as some of the better Athletico imports. I have heard good things about him though and hope it works out.

  40. I wonder if Theo will become a “beckham player”. Nobody except the United fans really rated Beckham for anything but his hairstyle. “all he had was a left foot”. Yet he always seemed to play well, interact well and be a vital part of any team. He always influenced the teams he was in, in some kind of way and was valued by his team mates.

    Kinda same with Theo. “all he has is his speed”. yet he clocked up 20 goals and 18 assists this year. Hes starting almost every match for England and is valued by his team mates.
    Not bad for a player with “Only speed”

  41. Yogi:

    “This time around, demands are made to sign a player who will cost the same as last year’s total spend. They strike me as fanciful as the notion that the squad does not need strengthening.”

    I think have probably been the loudest of those suggesting that we spend big on a couple of players. To me that idea has more risk but the rewards are also much greater. Since we no longer have the threat of imminently falling off to the dark side into financial oblivion if we make one wrong move, isn’t it time that we take a risk or 2?

    Assuming the defensive epiphany we have seen this season can be maintained next season, then our biggest need is to improve the consistency of our goal scoring. No? Right now we have 11 good players for the front 6 positions. If we really have 70M and we continue to spend no more then 10-12M per player then we can add 6 more good players. Who needs that many? We have numbers, we need to add top quality and not quantity. Can we really find someone better then Giroud or Walcott for 12M? Probably not. If we add one top quality goal scorer then we will have 1 hopefully extraordinary player and 5 good ones. That’s much better then having 7-8 good players to cover 3 positions. No?

    If we really want to move up the table we are going to have to have that Bergkamp moment at some point. We are much less likely to improve significantly by adding several more 12M players similar to the ones we have. IMO. IMO now is the time to find that Bergkamp or Henry or Van Persie. I know it goes our Arsene DNA to think like this but it really won’t hurt to do it just a couple of times and it seems like the clearest path to the promised land.

  42. @Bobby

    TV revenues in the UK are shared equally between teams. Obviously, the further you go in cups etc the more you get, but the EPL is distributed between all 20 teams.

  43. “IMO now is the time to find that Bergkamp or Henry..”

    Yup. If only it were that simple Bill. Genius doesn’t grow on trees. Mind you if ya find one lying about anywhere, be sure to let Arsene know 😉

  44. I deliberately left out the last one of your chosen trio. Not fit to be mentioned in the same sentence.

  45. Harry:

    We can’t find someone like that if we are not willing to venture outside of our comfort zone, and take a bit of risk. I know you may feel differently but I don’t care a bit if we lose a small part of the moral high ground that we have gained over the last 8 years. Its almost a dead certainty that we won’t find someone like that for 12M this summer or perhaps ever again. No?

  46. To be honest though I’d be surprised if we ever find another Bergkamp again. Let alone Henry. I miss those type of players. Not just at Arsenal, but in the game generally.

    I’ve never been averse to Arsenal spending big money Bill, if it’s available. I can’t actually think of a person I’d rather have spend it than AW.

  47. Harry:

    Because we have Arsene, now is the time to spend that sort of money. I know he has struggled in recent years. I hope that is because he has limited himself to the amount he will spend and its much harder now to find great players who fly under the radar and come cheap. I hope he has not lost the ability to be a great talent evaluator. The risk of spending big is that you get a bust, but in theory shouldn’t Arsene have the best chance of hitting a home run rather then striking out? It just seems like the right time to do it. No?

  48. Bergkamp and Henry were spectacular big-money failures in Serie A – I think all clubs are a bit smarter about researching potential signings and helping them settle in a new country now though. Back then there were stricter restrictions on foreigners in Italy. A club really couldn’t afford to hang onto a player who wasn’t shining.

    Also, at that time the Italian league was chock-full of world-class talent, maybe it was kind of dizzying; when there’s so much floating about, talent is always going to fall by the wayside. Bergkamp, Vieira and Henry were incredible players (Wenger got the best out of them though), but were playing at or around the same time as Baggio, Boban, Rui Costa, Batistuta, Veron, Del Piero, Weah, Savicevic, Ronaldo…man Italy was amazing back then.

    Kind of hoping we’ll see the newly flush PL go into that kind of era now.

    Anyway, basically I don’t think any league will be as wasteful with first-rate talent as Italy was back then.

  49. Birdkamp:

    I don’t think its realistic to expect that anyone can find a real difference making great player if you limit the amount you are willing to spend on them to under 15M.

  50. I don’t disagree with any of that Bill (I should be more of an argumentative cranky old bastard huh, sadly they’ve all been exiled). I think objecting to spending for reasons of some spurious “moral high ground” is frankly absurd. I don’t know anyone who said that, or maybe I haven’t been listening properly. AW has had obvious constraints to work under, which we don’t really need to go over again at this stage (I would hope), and in the circumstances, he has probably worked more miracles than that there Jesus fella (no intended offence to anyone of a god bothering persuasion).

    What comes next? well that’s what we are all waiting to see…
    are the financial shackles finally loosened? is the kitty really as large as we have been led to believe? would Arsene really spend it if was? who knows (and then we have to factor in how long Arsene will be here for..) The squad needs strengthening, for sure, but to imagine there will be some massive splurge in the summer. Well I can’t see that happening. I think we may still be in that second “tier” that Yogi alludes to, for a while yet anyway.

  51. Reckon it’s possible, Bill, but you need an exceptional set of circumstances (injuries, fall-outs, last years of contract) – and people with the inside track, or just in the right place at the right time. Cazorla for instance has made a difference this season, and we got him because we knew early on that Malaga were crumbling.

    Sometimes a guy might be limiting himself in a team because of the instructions the manager’s giving him – as in he might be playing a supporting role to somebody’s who’s deemed a bigger talent, and so isn’t given a chance to show what he can do. Obviously this would only apply to a creative player.

  52. Alexis Sánchez for instance. He doesn’t get to express himself at Barcelona like he could at Udinese, because they don’t rely on him in the same way. Anybody who saw him in Italy would be under no illusion about what he’s capable of, if the manager knows how to use him. Say Barcelona want to sell – well he’s a great player, but there’s no way they’ll make a profit given the two seasons he’s just had.

    Which could put his price as low as £15m. Doesn’t mean I think he’s right for us, or the PL.

  53. Harry:

    The whole moral high ground as a reason for not spending is something we have argued about for years, and probably was not appropriate for me to throw in that to wind you up but I can’t help myself sometimes. 😉

    Birdkamp:

    Cazorla has been a difference maker and I guess there are still some good values, but its a lot harder today. IMO our biggest need is a top goal scorer. Unfortunately goal scorers are the most expensive players and the ones who are least likely to fly under the radar. I think its much less likely that we will find an under priced, difference making goal scorer compared with finding a great value in a midfielder or a defender. We have had no success with building goal scorers from the youth ranks unless you count RVP and he came from Holland and he took many years on the subs bench behind Henry and then Adebayor before he had a break out and there does not seem to be anyone close to that level now. If we want a goal scorer who can potentially take us to the next level we will probably have to pay the market rate. No?

  54. Wigan lost today at Swansea. They will be uber-motivated to get some sort of a result against us next week. If they lose they are almost certainly going down.

  55. Nice work, Yogi. You seem to have forgotten the Bond prospectus limit on transfers of £12 millions, subject to provisos! It is in your archive, a piece by Mihir Bose? The salary cap is also referred to in the Bond prospectus.

    The name is MUplc. Manchester United plc.

    I quote from page 67 – Manchester United plc 20-F , “From the year ended 30 June 1998 to 30th June 2012, average net player capital represented a cash outflow of £14.3 millions per fiscal year (excluding Ronaldo). Without the Ronaldo plus £80 millions sale, the cost of transfers would be £20.1 millions per fiscal year.

    Curiously enough, someone back in 2006, was claiming The Arsenal had a transfer budget of £74 millions! Yogi, for some reason, has left the comment in the archive. It is still schoolboy economics at play, as it is obvious that a certain person, is NOT a dab hand at the day job!

    We need a concrete statement from Ivan Gazidis, that the main object of The Arsenal is to win the EPL and automatically qualify for the Champions League, each and every year. The Transfer Fee has to be a minimum of £20 millions!

    Despite, Mr Gazidis and Mr Wenger believing that £10 millions is a substantial, sufficient, significant and affordable fee.

  56. Financial Fair Play is a flowed idea from the very start.

    “Fair” is a good example of Orwellian speak. Is it “fair” to institutionalise the ManU dominance in the EPL for the decades to come? Not in my book.

    If FFP really fails the legal hurdles before actually starting to take effect, this will be a good example what is wrong with the management of Arsenal FC. So much hope and human capital invested in an untested concept instead of concentrating on what really matters, such as improving the team.

    And does anyone take seriously Arsene’s claims that “the club is in a very strong financial position”?

  57. Really wish Wigan hadn’t lost tonight. That’s all we need is to be playing an even more desperate team.

  58. That is fantastic news! I like Puma, they are big in Africa, and typically their kits are beautiful. Big money and by the sounds of it very good negotiating by Gazidis and team. Credit where credit is due. To me the Emirates deal was really underwhelming. This one is serious business. Well done IG, well done Arsenal.

    I agree completely with Bill. Goal scorers are expensive and can make a difference. 10-15 range is much harder to find a real difference maker and I hope we get a great striker who will be like Anelka, Henry, 2007-8 Adebayor or late vintage RvP (I.e. healthy; he was always a very fine scorer). That’s going to cost. We have money, how about the club use it wisely to build a genuine challenger!!!

  59. BBC are reporting the rumours that Fergie is considering retiring at the end of this season!

    Cats amongst pigeons then!

  60. Markus, if they won they wouldn’t have been safe and might feel they have a realistic chance to stay up if they get a point from Arsrnal. Now they have to go for broke and that might serve our style or throw in the towel. If they get smashed in the FA cup final they should suffer poor confidence. They aren’t on a great run so confidence has to be low. I see this as a pretty good situation for us. If we can’t beat a demoralized Wifan with a terribly thin squad, especially at the back, who aren’t used to playing three times in 8 days, well I certainly would credit no excuse for us.

  61. Lemons, he should retire–20th league for the club and despite dominance there seems little prospect of overhauling the best in Europe–ManU didn’t get out of the group last year in CL and didn’t impress this year either even with his big spending g in the summer.

  62. Limes….

    That’s right, he was probably contemplating going out with a bang at the CL Final at Wembley… now it’s a whimper – a Swansong against Swansea!

  63. I’m glad Wigan lost – better that their winning streak was broken and good to see them conceding goals.

    Difficult job this for Martinez: juggling this relegation fight and the FA Cup final.

    Great coup with Puma. That’s some serious coin.

  64. I have to say I am completely stoked about the Puma deal. Great bit of business, and I also love Puma’s brand and design. I have been rocking Puma’s old school “California” shoes for years, and I think we will see some pretty classy looking kits coming from their design team.

  65. re. silver gunner – i’m afriad that if spurs win tongight then winning our next two games does nit guarantee cl football next season.

    secondly, the problem is not the money we have had (or not had), but what has been done with it. consider the money spent on duff purchases …

    borussia dortmund do not have a sugar daddy or an oil well in their back garden. they have managed to compete fairly well in europe this season (thought admittedly, not in their doestic league).

    the money issue is a smokescreen. for sure the squad needs some addditions, but it needs trimmming down. diaby, denilson, djourou, chamakh, squillaci, santos, park, bendter, gervinho and fabianski for starters – none are what i would call ‘winners’ with the right mentality.

  66. Wow, I hope the puma deal is rue!. If so, Well done Arsenal! You’re finally raking it in!

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