If you read some reports from the last couple of days, you’d think that Arsenal were doomed – Wenger says all the stars will have to be sold, Hill-Wood expects a hostile takeover, etc etc etc.
Read some more rational reports and you’ll see a slightly more realistic outlook. Wenger was attributed some odd comments by the News of the World, saying:
“The strategy of the club is to sell every year and to buy less expensive players. We manage at Arsenal to maintain all our football ambitions – national and European – while having to free up – for 17 more years – an annual surplus of £24m to pay for our stadium.”
While some have interpreted this to mean Arsenal are a selling club, the truth is probably simply that both the board and Wenger himself are rather good at economics. To think that the club are in ruin because they seek profits on the players is ridiculous – such profits are made by turning players into superstars and selling them when it suits Arsenal. They give great service to the club and then finance the stadium in part when they leave. It is a fantastic business model.
Anelka, Overmars, Petit, Henry – by my reckoning these four alone were sold at a 40m combined profit. That does not mean they didn’t give their best years to the club.
The point is this – if silly money is offered for our players, we will consider the sale. As with any business, an offer over and above the value of an asset should not be dismissed. But the key is that Wenger is already achieving these profits, so for some unscrupulous outlets to report a crisis is mere scaremongering. Nothing has really changed.
As for the chairman, he has some interesting comments to make about Adebayor and Hleb, indicating that the former will stay while the latter can go. The Adebayor case is probably now very simple – if the asking price is offered, he will go and Arsenal will rejoice at an inflated profit on a player who is not worth the money he has gone for. If it isn’t, he will stay and continue on his path towards becoming a top striker at the Emirates. Either resolution suits us just fine.
Hleb is a different matter. What started out as a player being in demand and wanting to leave, has morphed into Arsenal wanting him out and not being able to find a buyer. Gunnerblog wrote a good post yesterday on this summer’s merry go round, with everyone waiting for everyone else to make the first move. Once it happens, the ball will really start rolling.
Until then, please ignore the crisis talks. Are you not tired of hearing them every summer?