The biggest deal completed on transfer deadline day was obviously the sale of Manchester City to billionaire Arab businessmen and while fans of the Eastlands clubs are rubbing their hands with glee, the very fact that they’ve embraced new owners with the word ‘United’ in their title speaks volumes about the state of the modern game.
There’s no doubt that the introduction of the Abu Dhabi United Group has changed the face of football in this country. Whether it is for the good of the game is another argument entirely.
According to financial publication Forbes, there were more than 900 dollar billionaires globally last year – and the figure increases on an annual basis – so expect a few more heavyweight investors to sweep into the Premier League in the months to come.
Man City’s potential new owners – and let’s not forget that they haven’t yet taken control of the club – are making loud, boastful comments that they can buy any player that they want in order to dominate the world game, but it takes more than superstar players on intergalactic wages to win trophies.
For Arsenal, the transaction between ADUG and Thaksin Shinawatra means very little indeed. It means that Chavski finally have someone to compete with when it comes to luring players to the Premier League, but other than that it’s business as usual at The Home Of Football.
Or is it...?
Should Man City actually achieve what they are setting out to do and become a top four team, then the unrest might become very uncomfortable for the Arsenal board.
I’m completely with Arsene Wenger in his philosophy of building and developing a team. But like it or not – and I do not – the reality is that the world is changing.
If billionaire owners are so desperate to spend their money that they buy Manchester City which, with all due respect, do not have anywhere near the global fanbase of other premier League teams, then the pressure to keep up with the Joneses, or Abramoviches or Sheikh Al Fahims of this world, could just become too great to ignore.
Arsenal has its own billionaire businessmen reportedly waiting in the wings to pour hundreds of millions of pounds into the club, in the shape of Uzbeki oligarch Alisher Usmanov (now the club’s biggest shareholder) and American sports mogul Stan Kroenke.
Our former vice chairman, David Dein, was the mastermind behind getting both billionaires involved and despite what some sections of the Gunners support think, I remain an admirer of what Dein did for Arsenal. Indeed, I believe the club should have better communication with Double D, but I sincerely hope that the board do not end up selling out to one all-powerful owner such as Usmanov.
Better dialogue might, however, just see our billionaire investors taking a more active role in things by paying off the club’s debt for the construction of the Emirates Stadium, or even increasing the amount of money available to the manager for transfers. That might not happen, but surely it's worth a discussion.
But then of course we get back to the whole crux of the matter that Le Gaffer doesn’t want to buy superstars, he wants to make them. Or at least that’s what he tells us Gooners, but then if he doesn’t have the funds, what else would we expect him to say?!
Anyway, the point of this rambling post is to stir up some debate among you fellow Addicts about the future of our great club. The aim of the board and our manager to conduct their affairs within prudent financial means is admirable, but given the investment now being ploughed into traditionally mid-tabled teams, will Arsenal be forced to do the unthinkable to compete?