No need for introduction and that sort. Plenty to get through today, might as well just get right to it. Ivan Gazidis spoke at the Sport Industry Breakfast Club on Tuesday and some of things said were interesting. However, as a disclaimer, being a savvy businessman, we’ve got to take what he said with a pinch of salt.
One of the major things that could be picked up from his speech was that Arsenal still have bucket loads of money to throw at another club, should we decide to spend again in January. He also goes on to mentioned how the information that we got on some of the possible transfers were a little misguided.
Like I said, there’s a caveat to all of this. It was no secret to anyone that we still have plenty in the bank. What after the sale of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri. Let’s not forget that there will be another instalment from Barcelona for our former captain in the coming months. While this is not news to us, by stating it publicly, Gazidis is opening himself up for blame.
Why do I say that? Well, take for instance we are in January and the team is struggling. Lying in 6th spot in the league and still with commitments in the all the competitions. Injuries are affecting the team, be it major or back-up players. If no major signings were done at that time to bolster the squad, the vast majority of fans would not be so forgiving towards the club and Gazidis in particular.
Of course all this must tie in with the UEFA Financial Fair Play rules, of which I’m sure Arsenal are so far ahead of it, that we would not flout the rules even with a couple of mega purchases. One part of which will have to be rectified, is the commercial side of Arsenal Football Club. It’s not an epiphany to realise that Manchester United are milking the dollars and pounds out of their deals and we are severely lacking behind in that regards.
That said, any potential financial support will be looking at our success on the field before deciding to sponsor us. Which is also why it is imperative to get the team back on track for honours. There’s a Chinese saying which roughly translates “if small fortunes doesn’t go out, big fortunes doesn’t come in”. The £60 million in the bank will have to be spent wisely and ensure we fill the trophy cabinet. Sponsors will then queue in front Gazidis’ office waiting to meet.
I hate to talk about this part, mostly because of my endearing gratitude and admiration for Arsene Wenger. During the same speech, Gazidis also spoke about Wenger’s future. Something which he assures us that the club’s biggest shareholder also agrees. Lately, the manager has looked different from his usual demeanour.
The action from the bench or rather the lack of it, is obvious. If he’s usually very animated from the sidelines whenever Arsenal are in a tight spot in the match or not putting in the required shift, those actions are rare these days. Call it what you like but I believe that his antics does not really impact the team that much and thus with or without it, makes no difference. It doesn’t mean that Wenger doesn’t care about the team/club/players any more.
We move on the our defence. Or what some may call schoolboy defending. Since our trophy drought started, this has been our Achilles heel. It’s not always bad defending, there are times when everyone is just superb. That run to the Champions League final and last season’s home game against Barcelona are just two such examples.
It is not something which is lost on Wenger as well. It is good to him acknowledging that fact. Individually, Arsenal has compiled a very good set of defenders (jury is still out on Andre Santos, though). However, as a quartet, they have not been functioning to our expectations. But, defending is not only limited to the 4 players (5 including the keeper), it is also depending on what the rest 6 players’ do.
We have defended brilliantly from the front and all areas of the pitch. Chelsea at the Grove last season immediately comes to mind. Everyone was aware of what they are supposed to do and where they are supposed to be. Individual pressing doesn’t help, it’s the collective one that do. This is something which we must replicate in every game that we played. It really doesn’t matter if they are Shrewsbury or Manchester United.
Wenger’s press conference will be done later today and I’m hoping to have at least a couple of positive news. Especially with regards to the updates on Jack Wilshere and Thomas Vermaelen. Till then, enjoy the rest of your Friday.