Arsenal have always been criticised for their lack of ability or lack of willingness to spend big.
Following the departure of Thierry Henry in 2007, pundits were quick to write Arsenal’s demise for the coming season, taking on a stance of absolute certainty that the club would finish outside the top four. Eduardo, the club’s forward signing that summer, was deemed a cheap and smart pick up, but nothing of the calibre of Henry – which is fair. Yet now that Arsenal are in a position to spend big, their values have been questioned and shots have been fired towards a club who have apparently been doing it the right way all along.
And it’s true, amid all the high-spending around Europe, Arsenal have remained dignified and worked within their own means, even if they haven’t always made the best of what they have. The move to the Emirates would allow the club to move up a few tiers in the transfer market to a window of players who were previously out of reach, but it would be preceded by a number of years of frustration and reserved spending.
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But what Arsenal have at their disposal now is their own money, it’s all been generated by the club’s ability to remain in the Champions League, see the benefits of a world-class stadium and profit from those who wish to align themselves with the club on a commercial front. Arsenal aren’t throwing themselves into debt, or someone else’s debt, by choosing to spend big. The Luis Suarez bid, and the Gonzalo Higuain chase, is a direct result of the planning which took place years ago to allow the club to hold a firm position among Europe’s elite, from on-pitch successes to ability in the market.
No one has had a bad word to say about Bayern Munich. Forget Javi Martinez for a moment and look to the mammoth £24 million bid they made for Manuel Neuer in 2011, only a year before his contract was set to expire at Schalke. The club also spent a combined £56 million on Mario Gomez, Arjen Robben and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk in the summer of 2009, but it was offset by the club’s approach of spending big every other summer. Nevertheless, they earned the right; it was their money.
And much of the same can be said of Borussia Dortmund. The club were on the brink in the early 2000s and have fortunately made a complete turnaround. This summer they’ve spent wisely on talent who fit their football needs but also fall in line with their spending capabilities. Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sokratis Papastathopoulos were all bought for a combined £43 million. That comes from the money generated from Mario Goetze’s sale, as well as the income generated from the Champions League. It’s their money. They haven’t lost their values just because they’ve now acquired the ability to spend bigger than in previous summers. They, like Bayern, should be applauded for doing it right.
Arsenal won’t get that treatment for the most part. It’s much easier to take shots at the lack of silverware since 2005 and create images of broken crests than it is to look at a sporting model that does things the right way. This isn’t a matter of Arsene Wenger using his resources to its maximum – that’s a different debate. Instead this is about patience in a world where generally this is none. It’s about reaping the rewards after years of struggling; the rock band who travelled around Europe in a beat up transit van only to eventually land that record deal that propels them to stardom. Now that they’ve got the money, should they continue to ride around in an old van, or have they lost their values by flying in their own jet?
Have Arsenal lost their values by looking to spend big this summer?
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