Arsene Wenger was treading dangerous ground with his recent comments, justifying Arsenal’s ridiculous ticket prices and suggesting the money is needed for transfers, as reported by the Daily Mail.
He must have known the volatile nature of the situation regarding costs and fees to the fans, so how he thought he could get away with comments like these is beyond us.
“We are a company who on one side people want you to buy more players, the prices of players goes up so we need to supplement the ability to buy new players,” he said.
“The pressure on spending will become even greater and you can not always distribute the money to other people.”
On the one hand, he’s obviously correct. There is pressure to buy players, the prices of said players have been rising to extortionate levels recently, and the money needs to come from somewhere. On the other hand though, every other club in the world seems to manage, so why can’t we?
First of all, with the latest Premier League TV deals there’s more money in the English top flight than ever, and we’re getting a chunk of it (via the Daily Mail). No other league can claim this much money spread across it, but yet plenty of other clubs manage to spend big in the transfer market.
Secondly, in spite of having the highest ticket prices going (via the Mirror), we continually spend less than not only our closest rivals, but also the league’s minnows.
Over the last two transfer windows we’ve spent less than every single team in the Premier League (via Sky Sports & the Mirror), despite the fact that we’re supposed to be challenging for the Premier League.
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We’ve signed just two players over the last two windows, with Petr Cech and Mohamed Elneny our only senior additions. All the while, our rivals (and teams who a few years ago weren’t even close to being considered rivals) are strengthening by spending millions and millions, most of whom have far less financial firepower.
Previous reports have suggested we’ve got cash reserves in excess of £200m (via the BBC), and regardless whether these reports are accurate, it’s still clear we are no longer facing the financial difficulties we once were.
If we were constantly delving into the market to buy new players, or if the players we were buying were of the highest calibre and costing us a fortune, then you could understand Wenger’s stance. This just isn’t the case though, and if other teams can manage then why can’t we?
Germany is a perfect example, where the clubs are run responsibly, the tickets are very reasonably priced, yet business is still done during the transfer window. Bayern Munich’s cheapest tickets are four or fives times cheaper than ours, yet the German giants still consistently spend millions and millions each transfer window. They’ve signed the likes of Arturo Vidal, Douglas Costa, and Kingsley Coman in recent windows. They don’t waste money, but they sign the players they need to strengthen their squad.
Wenger understandably is only looking for top quality players who will improve our squad, but there are plenty of those players out there.
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For the most part we are staunch supporters of the 66-year-old here at All Arsenal, but he’s not infallible. His unwillingness to spend is obviously frustrating, but to come out with comments like these in the wake of that inactivity? Totally outrageous.