David Ornstein, the man from the BBC in Salford, dropped the bombshell:
Arsenal have no plans to replace AOC & no money for major signings, but only way Sanchez leaves is if #AFC get massive money & replacement
— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) August 30, 2017
Arsenal FC, broke. Again.
Or are they. To be fair to Ornstein, he isn’t the first person to claim it and with the BBC demanding two independent sources to verify stories, nothing at the time of writing has been printed on their website. It could be that by the time you read this, the whole shebang is in the back pages but I’m not convinced it will be.
Don’t ask me why, it’s an inkling. In any case, it is a remarkably ambiguous statement which cannot be taken entirely at face value. I don’t doubt that there is unlikely to be a trolley dash to make up the squad’s deficiencies nor do I think we’ll let Sanchez go without City getting to £60m+.
Neither of those statements, by the way, makes me “ITK”; the truth is out there already. Arsène was adamant that he was only bringing in 2 or 3 new faces and there’s been a consistent message that we needed to sell as well; the squad was too big.
Meanwhile, Oxlade-Chamberlain was becoming a problem for the manager. Pandering to his ego for inclusion in the XI albeit not in the central midfield role he craves, was causing us problems in defence with a lack of balance and crumbling mentality. I
So no, replacing him isn’t high on the manager’s list of things to do. Wenger placed Alexis’ departure at the boardroom door so it’s not rocket science to work out the thrust of Ornstein’s statement about the player movement.
Which leaves us with the ambiguity.
Warning! Warning! Brains May Explode Beyond This Point
Let’s take Ornstein’s words apart when it comes to the cash side of it all. The esteemed football reporter who has previously seemed well connected with the club, observed that Arsenal have “no money for major signings”.
You could take that as meaning cash, which leaves this as a case for Knacker of the Yard. Arsenal? No cash? So, Ivan, what happened to the £200m+ in the accounts? Ornstein doesn’t claim the electric bill isn’t being paid next week; he’s not talking cash.
Which leads to a broader definition of money and frankly, I’m sick of it rearing its ugly head in every conversation about Arsenal. But it’s transfer window deadline day and we want to know why we’re showing a profit without selling one of our stellar players; no disrespect Ox, but that’s the way it goes.
We’re missing the context of the information Ornstein talked about. ‘Money’ as in Stan’s leveraged his KSE investments across the board? The bank covenants involved might declare KSE must keep an asset value which requires Arsenal to maintain extremely high cash balances. It’s possible and with KSE registered in Delaware, the USA’s own tax haven, and there’s no real way of knowing unless someone leaks documents.
More likely and something which was floated a fortnight or so ago, is that Arsenal are struggling with the Premier League’s FFP ruling. The new broadcast revenue deals meant the PL imposed strict limits on what could be spent on wages. Maybe Arsenal’s forecasts with the loss of Champions League revenues mean belt buckles need tightening.
There’s an issue here. As UEFA said when contacted about PSG’s purchase of Neymar Jr., FFP is retrospectively reviewed. In other words, we won’t know if there’s an issue for 18 months. Are Arsenal being ultra-cautious?
Keep Your Tin Wigs On
Pffft. FFP. The club which banged on about how it would level the playing field finds themselves falling further behind because of the rules. It’s Alanis Morissette’s kind of ironic.
If FFP was a problem, why did we spend time chasing Kylain Mbappe? The same with Thomas Lemar. I doubt we could even afford Johnny bloody Evans. And since FFP is based on the annual P&L, including wage bill, how could we offer Alexis £300k per week, as well as Özil and Ox mega-deals which took the total to around £750k. Each week…
If I had to hazard a guess, missing out on the Champions League is the underlying reason. The AST estimated that Arsenal are losing around a net £30m from the bottom line this season and it makes sense of a cash positive transfer window which is likely to show a profit on player trading.
Wenger is, it seems, taking the pain of last season’s failure. He’s taking the other ‘p’ as well, I agree.
Anyway, I suspect that the oft-quoted £100m warchest was a figment of an imagination once again. And not a fertile one either. Other sources suggest the budget for new deals was £50-60m plus sales. That would mean we could realistically add a £50m player to the squad tomorrow. In this market, it isn’t much when Kyle Walker costs more than that.
But it explains why we pulled out of the bidding for Lemar when it reached that level.
Whatever the real reason, it’s another PR disaster for the club; a continuation of the shambles from last season. It began in earnest with Wenger dithering over his contract, including the power struggle with Ivan. The lunacy continued through the summer and into the start of the season.
The Asylum Has Been Over-run
The club’s senior management is alienating more of the fanbase with every passing week. Their saving grace is the portion who change their minds with results. A long unbeaten run makes the world a better place for everyone but to massively varying degrees.
Baffling team selections don’t help. The folly of selecting Ox at Anfield becomes clearer every day while the look of bewilderment on Sead Kolasinac’s face on the bench, told the whole story. We return to action against Bournemouth and there’s already trouble brewing.
This isn’t news to most. It was fairly obvious that when results turned for the worse, Wenger would be in the firing line once again. We’ve gone into a new season with optimism as low as I can remember. Few believed we were contenders, it’s almost impossible to find any who believe we still are.
I only see us in a dogfight for the Europa League places and it won’t surprise me if we fail to qualify for Europe via our league position this season.
But one thing I would like is some explanation about why we’ve had yet another bad summer in the transfer market. A mea culpa. Not for the sake of blaming someone, just understanding how we’re so bloody useless at squad strengthening.
It might help soothe some furrowed brows but I don’t think the hierarchy is able to do that any more. There’s always been precious little faith and confidence in any club directors at any time; Arsenal are no different. However, the current mob – manager included – rate extraordinarily low in that department.
Dearest seats in Europe but one of the lowest PL transfer budgets? There’s some explaining to do but I suspect hell will freeze over before the truth outs.