In the wake of their 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford last weekend, another round of criticism for Arsene Wenger’s transfer policy at Arsenal ensued.
But, whilst many have pointed to the club’s selling of their star players – Tony Adams, and Alan Shearer have both made comments in the last week – I’m inclined to suggest that it may in-fact be their pay structure that is hampering their ambitions.
Arsenal paid their players £130 million in wages last season – which sounds about right for a club that contends in the Premier League and the Champion’s League year after year. However, their refusal to pay their top stars wages of more than £100,00 per week has seen many so-called mercenaries head for the exit.
Arsene Wenger has done an exquisite job of balancing the books at the Emirates – they are by far the most financially healthy club in the Premier League, and probably in Europe – something that he now faces criticism for as that elusive trophy continues to evade him.
But perhaps they’d have less of a problem competing financially with the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United – something which their chairman Ivan Gazidis has claimed they are unable to achieve – if they weren’t paying their ‘misfits’ and ‘flops’ in such excess.
Top of that list must be Andrey Arshavin who they were unable to sell over the summer and who stated he’d rather stay and ‘fight for his place’ than go elsewhere. It’s not wonder he’s hard to shift when he’s on £80,000 a week.
Synonymously, whatever happened to Sebastian Squillaci? Well, he contented himself in the Arsenal Reserves where he’s currently rotting for £60,000 a week. He’s been understandably cumbersome to offload.
As is Niklas Bendtner who is currently on loan at Juventus. But they don’t seem that enamoured with the striker either and look likely to send him back to the Emirates where he earns £52,000 a week.
That would be just fine and dandy if he really were the ‘best striker in the world’ but his self-proclamation is well wide of the mark and potential buyers are no doubt perturbed by the prospect of shelling out £2.7 million a year for the Dane.
Marouane Chamakh looked set to make a return to French Ligue 1 in the summer but negotiations have so far fallen through due to his £50,000 a week in wages. That’s means that last year Arsenal paid £2.6 million pounds for one solitary goal.
With that kind of logic, they should have been offering Robin van Persie £96.2 million for his 37 goals, which would have put him on £1.8 million a week.
But, alas, hindsight is a wonderful advantage and, no doubt, when these players were offered their contracts, it was with the best of intentions and the adamant belief that they would fulfill their potential.
They haven’t and they need to be sold – anywhere. Immediately, if Arsenal intend to compete in the transfer market whilst simultaneously maintaining their admirable status as a 'debt-free' club.
Otherwise, the fans will likely turn to Alisher Usmanov for an alternative strategy to owner Stan Kroenke’s and then Arsenal would become just another club hanging from the purse strings of another Russian billionaire.
And nobody really wants to see that. Do they?
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