Arsene Wenger’s implied warning that he may leave North London this summer quite rightly has many of us Gooners worried, but personally I believe it could be a tactic to strengthen his ability to bring in new blood to the Arsenal.
The minority of fans who have been calling for Le Gaffer’s head should start asking themselves just who they think the club could bring in to do a better job than Arsene, especially given the very young team he has assembled. With the exception of Croatian boss Slaven Bilic, I can’t think of anyone capable of filling AW’s shoes and I can’t see Bilic becoming a club manager before the World Cup in South Africa next year.
But Wenger’s hints that he finds the plans of Real Madrid presidential candidate Florentino Perez “interesting” is a long way from “I’m packing my bags for the Bernabeu” and given Arsene’s previous complaints about Madrid’s lack of morals, surely it would be the biggest u-turn in history is our manager of principles suddenly shoved all that aside for cheque book football.
In saying that, the vicious attacks Wenger was subjected to at last week’s shareholders meeting will have done little to make him feel loved at Arsenal, but I believe that Le Boss can see that the vast majority of Arsenal fans still support him and his vision, even if most of us think that we need two or three experienced players to come in. And by experienced, I mean world class internationalists.
The problem seems to be financial, with rumours coming out of Arsenal Football Club suggesting that this summer’s budget will be just £13million. That, my fellow Addicts, would barely cover Robin van Persie’s supposed new contract demands.
So it appears as though Wenger might be forced to sell before he can buy.
But that’s maybe where his Real Madrid hint kicks in…
Alisher Usmanov has suggested he would give Arsenal a cash injection to help the club reduce its debt and while we don’t know what strings would be attached to that offer, if the manager needs more funds to allow the squad to challenge for honours I’d rather that the powerbrokers in the boardroom were putting their money into the club in that respect rather than spending hundreds of millions of pounds acquiring shares from each other.
I know that’s not exactly realistic, but there are ways and means to allow such a transaction to take place – share options ahead of a rights issue, for example – which would allow our billionaire stock holders to do a bit more than argue about the future of the club through the newspapers.
And so I get to my point. Maybe Wenger is leveraging his position within the club to allow Usmanov to have more of a say in club matters – especially financial ones – and thereby opening the door for his long time friend and confidante David Dein to come back into the Arsenal corridors of power.
Don’t forget that it was Dein who brought Stan Kroenke in to the club by brokering Granada’s sale of nearly 10% of stock to the American. The fact that Kroenke is now the biggest shareholder at the club and that Usmanov is second gives Dein two powerful allies, plus his relationship with Wenger remains strong.
I might be completely wrong and Arsene may be honing up on his Spanish as we speak, but I have a funny feeling that he could be trying to orchestrate a way to release more money for team matters through his exit warning.
The bottom line is that Arsene Wenger takes great pride in stating that he has never broken a contract in his life and I’d be very surprised if he’s about to do it this summer. However, he’s an economist and can see the amount of money that the new stadium is generating, but at the same time his transfer budget seems to be evaporating.
In Ivan Gazidis we seem to have an intelligent, safe pair of hands and an individual capable of planning Arsenal’s long term future. But what we have been missing since Dein’s departure is someone who can help with the present. As I’ve said before, the best person to replace David Dein is David Dein and maybe, just maybe, Arsene’s discontent will shake up the board and particularly the club’s two biggest shareholders to invite DD back in.